Leaders 4SC 2020 Summaries

Table of Contents

We’ve had a great time with our first-ever virtual Leaders 4SC civics middle school camp! 

As our final week of camp comes to a close, we would like to send a sincere thank you for being a part of Leaders 4 Social Change this summer. Getting to work with this group of students over the past 6 weeks has truly brought us so much joy and a feeling of immense hope knowing that they will be our future civic leaders. The level of passion that brought to the topics we discussed blew us away each and every day! 

Our team would like to reiterate that it has been an honor working with each and every one of our students and we hope to hear from them in one way or another in the upcoming days, weeks, months, and even years! If your journey with us has ended, please continue to ignite, enlight, and unite in whatever way you choose to. Our staff will be more than happy to guide you through whatever path you choose to become a civic leader in your community!

Staff Thank You Videos

School Year Programs

In 2020-2021, we are offering two virtual programs for students from all around the world during the school year. We have an advanced option and an option suitable for everyone! 
Both have much less space than our summer camps due to staffing constraints during the school year, so please sign up earlier rather than later if you plan on joining us!
Need-based financial aid is available for all of our programs.
Let us know if you have any questions or if you want to get a reminder as school gets closer!

Leaders 4SC Saturday Solutions Workshops

Students will meet together to learn about a current event and then participate in a task force activity that allows them to role-play as key decision-makers and stakeholders as they practice their civic leadership skills in solving key global and local problems!  All 40 topics are brand new and never before been offered at any of our workshops! For 5th-9th graders.


Advanced: Leaders 4SC Year-Long Seminars

Leaders 4SC Seminars are semester-long after-school programs for students to engage in deliberation with their peers while they read advanced works and engage in independent and group projects with the support of their instructors. Each week students will read and discuss some of the most popular works in various fields and work on a monthly project. We will cover topics in democracy, morality and ethics, U.S. government, epistemology, political science, behavioral economics, psychology, history, and modern issues throughout the year. Two cohorts: 6th-8th and 9th-12th.

Weekly Summaries

Day One (7/6/2020)

We had a great first day online after some icebreakers, introductions, and conversations about what it means to be a civic leader. We started with discussions about the daily topic: Global Education Systems. Students received a lesson comparing and contrasting different forms of education across the globe. Later, students were tasked with creating an ideal education system based on what they learned. 

Once we discussed different forms of global education, we moved onto written advocacy. We explored what written advocacy is, and went through various forms of written advocacy. In the afternoon, students learned the four parts of an argument: claim, data, warrant, and impact.  With these skills taught, students began brainstorming possible topics to write their first articles about. Of course, the day would not be complete without some games, so we played a game of Kahoot to wrap up the day. 

By Friday, each of the students will have written an article about a social issue of their choice that will be posted on our website.

Day Two (7/7/2020)

Today’s topic was renewable energy, and we started the day discussing different forms of renewable energy and how various countries implemented such forms of energy. Then we discussed rhetoric and each student chose a type of rhetoric to learn about from academy4sc.org. Later, once students learned about a rhetorical device, they were split into small groups and shared their findings. 

Afterwards, students were divided into groups and made plans for renewable energy-based policies of the country that they were assigned to. Students had to keep in mind factors such as climate, financial ability, and population when devising a plan. After thinking about what change would look like in one country, students looked at global scale learning about the United Nations. We covered the structure of the United Nations as well as their authority. 

After a much-needed lunch break, students learned how to formulate a thesis statement. Then students researched for their article and worked on crafting their own thesis. We later learned about Sustainable Development Goals. Students researched one goal that interested them and brainstormed how to achieve these goals. To wrap up the day, we played a Kahoot activity that summarized all the important aspects of each lesson. 

Day Three (7/8/20)

We started the day with a discussion about the national debt. We talked about what it is and what contributes to it. Then, students examined a mock United States federal budget and made a plan to implement a reformed plan for the budget so the United States can pay off its debt.

Then we discussed the structure of argumentative writing by learning about outlines and how to create one to organize ideas for an essay. We also discussed media literacy, reliable sources, and plagiarism. 

After a break for lunch, students used Academy 4SC to learn about a Cognitive Bias of their choice that they would later share with the class. Then students were given time to work on their own outline while staff was there to answer any questions. To end the day, students learned about the federal reserve and played a Kahoot that reviewed the entire day’s curricula. 

Day Four (7/9/20)

Today’s topic was space exploration. We started the day with a PowerPoint and discussion about the history and future of space exploration. Then, we read an article about the recent SpaceX launch and its implications to GPS. Later, we covered counterarguments and why they are important to include in your argument. 

Students then had to design their own space colony. They had to consider not only how many people they wanted to start colonizing, but other important factors as well, such as government structure, materials, and many others. Then, right before the lunch break, students were given time to work on their outline.

After lunch, students learned about a logical fallacy of their choice and shared their new-found knowledge with the class. For the rest of the day, students worked on their articles. 

Day Five (7/10/20)

To end the first week of camp, we talked about an extremely relevant topic: pandemics. We discussed the history of pandemics as well as ways of combating them. Then, students were given more time to work on their articles.

For today’s activity students had to draft their own plan to combat the coronavirus in the United States. Students had to analyze data, and think of other ways to fight the curve. Students were then given more time to peer edit and finalize their articles. Once students finished their articles, they presented them to the class. 

Thank you all for making this great first week of camp possible, stay safe! It’s been an honor teaching each and every student and we look forward to working with them in the future. Keep igniting, enlighting, and uniting!

Day One (7/13/20)

We started the day introducing our new students, and then we began with today’s topic, global child labor. Student received a lecture on modern child labor and legislation against child labor. Then we covered spoken advocacy, and went into what that looks like today with virtual speeches. 

Then students were given time to brainstorm possible topics for their speeches and a lunch break. After, we learned about international human rights norms and how they apply to the rights of children. Students were then assigned a country that is currently dealing with child labor and had to make a plan to combat it.

Students had to step out of their comfort zone and give their first mini-speech. They had to say, “I am {student’s name}, and I am awesome because…” Students could not continue until they made eye contact, did not hesitate or use filler word such as, “um” or “like,” said the lines confidently and clearly, spoke loud enough for everyone to hear, and showed proper emotions and convinced us that they think they are awesome! To end the day, students played a Kahoot covering all information from the day. 

Day Two (7/14/20)

Today’s topic was natural disasters, and we started the day discussing different types of natural disasters and the devastation they cause. Then we discussed the importance of knowing your audience when giving a speech.

Afterward, students were divided into groups and made a hypothetical disaster relief plan if a large earthquake hit NYC. Students had to research what has been done in the past with disaster relief and analyze if they would make any changes. Then as a group, we sampled famous speeches throughout time and identified the social landscape in which they were given and what makes them so memorable.

After lunch, students had to deliver the Gettysburg Address. Students could not move on until they spoke clearly, without hesitation, and with emotion. Then students finalized their topic proposals and began to research for their speeches. To wrap up the day, we played a Kahoot activity that summarized all the important aspects of each lesson. 

Day Three (7/15/20)

Today’s topic was homelessness and adorable housing. We started the day with a PowerPoint and lecture discussing homelessness in the United States. Students then learned about a cognitive bias of their choice using videos from Academy4SC.  They shared and summarized their video with their classmates. Then, students finalized a thesis statement, and departed for lunch. 

After lunch, we learned about the enlightenment. We studied famous philosophers and overlapping ideas that came from this time period. Students then took this information and made a plan to govern 25 people on a deserted island.

To end the day, students practiced speaking by reading excerpts in different emotions. Finally, we played Kahoot as a wrap-up activity.

Day Four 7/16/2020

Today’s topic was artificial intelligence and the workforce. We started the morning with a lecture defining the term and briefly discussing the advantages and disadvantages of having artificial intelligence in the workforce. Students were asked to brainstorm additional advantages and disadvantages at the end of the lecture. 

After the topic discussion, students did an assignment that allowed them to choose a fallacy they wanted to learn about and then answered questions to assess their knowledge. To implement the material covered in the topic discussion, students had an opportunity to participate in a task force called, “Replacing Jobs”. Students were put into breakout rooms to try and brainstorm ways to implement AI into the workforce in the year 2060. Students were also given the opportunity to present their ideas to the class and bring up questions and concerns they had about each group’s plan. 

After lunch, the instructors gave a PowerPoint presentation about labor markets and supply/demand and the rest of the day was devoted to speech preparations after a quick game of Kahoot to review the material covered throughout the week.

Day 5 (7/17/20)

We were sad to see so many students leave after the second week, but nevertheless, we had a great last day of the second week. We started the day with a discussion about social media, and its social impacts. Then students were broken up into groups and had to draft their own PSA about wither the effects of social media were positive or negative. 

Then students were given time to work on their speeches until lunch. After lunch, students began to present and record their speeches. All of the speeches were extremely well-articulated and researched. 

Thank you all for making this great week of camp possible, stay safe! It’s been an honor teaching each and every student and we look forward to working with them in the future. Keep igniting, enlighting, and uniting!

Day 1 (7/20/20)

Today we started our third week of camp. In the morning, we did some icebreaker activities for any new students joining us this week. Then we discussed today’s topic: the rights of children. We covered the rights of children throughout time and how they have changed with society. Then we explored different forms of written advocacy and their social impact. 

Then students started to brainstorm possible topics for their op-ed that they will write this week. After a lunch break, we learned how to logically structure an argument using a claim, data, and warrant. Students then completed an activity by making example arguments. Then students were broken into groups and had to create a parent license. Students had to consider whether there should be an age requirement or other requirements that determine whether someone should be able to become a parent. 

To end the day, students started to outline their arguments and played a Kahoot. 

Day 2 (7/21/2020)

Today we started out the day with a topic discussion on voting participation, why exercising the right to vote can be difficult, as well as, how COVID-19 has impacted voting. The students then chose from a list of videos on different rhetorical devices and had a discussion about where they have seen the devices used. 

We then continued to build on writing skills and talked about how to craft a great thesis statement. After some examples, students created their own thesis statements for the articles they will be writing this week. 

We then had a discussion on democracy, its history, and a few examples from around the world today. Students then took a break for lunch. 

After returning from lunch, students broke out into small groups for today’s task force. They decided on a list of policies for promoting voter turnout during COVID-19. They discussed options like vote by mail, hiring sanitation workers, opening more polling locations, and other options. Back as a whole class, the students each shared what their groups had discussed. 

Students continued to work on their own thesis statements for their articles and for those who were ready, began conducting research for data to back-up their arguments. 

We closed out the day with a discussion of the game theory known as the Prisoner’s Dilemma and a few students stayed to play a Kahoot game reviewing the day’s topics. 

Day 3 (7/22/2020)

Today we started the day with a topic discussion about refugees, what challenges they face, and how refugees tie into foreign policy. The students then chose from a list of our videos on different cognitive biases and then had a discussion about where they have seen the devices used. 

Afterward, students watch a video on how to complete effective online research followed by an activity where students had to demonstrate their argumentative skills by making a counter-argument with data, claim, and warrant. 

We then had a quick discussion on democracy, its history, and a few examples from around the world today. Students then took a break for lunch. 

After returning from lunch, students broke out into small groups for today’s task force. They had to rank the rights that US citizens are given. Students then had to justify there ranking as well. Back as a whole class, the students each shared what their groups had discussed. 

After a quick discussion about international relations, students then continued to work on their outline for their articles. We closed out the day with a Kahoot game reviewing the day’s topics. 

Day 4 (7/23/2020)

Today, students both explored new topics and were given independent work time to continue working on their personal outlines and articles. We started off the day with a topic discussion on gene editing where the students shared their opinions on the morality of picking and choosing different traits as well as using new technologies to prevent diseases. 

After a discussion on using counterarguments in their argumentative writing, students learned about the debate between what it considered morally vs legally right. They were then given independent time to work on their outlines. 

After lunch, students completed a task force activity where they decided on rules and regulations for gene editing technology. Finally, they were given more time to work independently on their articles, ask questions, and receive feedback on what they had submitted. We then finished out the day with a game of Kahoot. 

Day 5 (7/24/2020)

Today, we wrapped up week 3 of Leaders 4SC 2020! It was another amazing week and the students did an incredible job writing their articles! 

We started off the day with a topic discussion on different types of schools. The students then worked on a task force activity where they designed their own school and addressed important questions about class sizes, subjects and activities offered, and accessibility. 

The students were then given time to work on their articles. In the afternoon, students shared what they had written and discussed their arguments with each other. We closed out the week by combining the two classes for a big game of Kahoot! 

Day 1 (7/27/2020)

Today we started our 4th week of camp. After some introductions for new students, we began the daily topic discussion on punishment. We focused on two methods of punishment: retribution and restorative. Then we reviewed the history of spoken advocacy and reviewed some famous speeches. Afterward, students were given tome to brainstorm possible topics for their speech that they will be giving  at the end of the week. 

After lunch, students were tasked to discuss and propose theoretical reforms to the criminal justice system. Students considered things such as capital punishment, solitary confinement, and whether the current justice system disproportionately targets a certain group of people. Later we learned about Thomas Nagel’s ideas of Moral Luck. To end the day, students performed a speaking activity and played a game of Kahoot that covered the day’s topics. 

Day Two (7/28/2020)

We started off day two talking about one of the student’s favorite topics: climate change. We discussed all the ways its caused, how it affects different groups, and what is being done to mitigate the effects of it. Afterwards, we spent some time working on our public speaking by thinking through rhetorical moves a speaker has to make that appeal to their audience. We then returned to thinking about climate change by researching a different Sustainable Development Goal set by the UN as a way to combat the effects of climate change while ensuring human progress.

After lunch, we did “stop and go” speeches where students were told to stop and go based on how many mistakes they did. Students had to keep restarting until the instructors (and audience) were satisfied that the speaker had mastered the art of public speaking. We then took some time to work on our weekly speeches by researching sources and beginning to think about how they support our thesis. We ended the day with a task force that focused on population stalling (when the rate of childbirth hits 0) and what affects that would have on the economy and society at-large. This is one of the proposed solutions to climate change, and we took it to an extreme to explore how important “some” population growth is to keeping society functional.

Day 3 (7/29/2020)

Today, we kicked off the day with a speaking activity. In small groups, students gave the Gettysburg Address. Students listened and gave constructive feedback on each other’s use of emotion, confidence, body language, and other speaking skills. 

Next, we moved into the day’s topic discussion on poverty and hunger around the world. We reviewed the first two Sustainable Development Goals, which students conducted independent research on the previous day. We went over some trends, statistics, as well as some good and bad news related to poverty and hunger today. Students were encouraged to think about what they know and don’t about these issues in their own countries and communities. 

Today, we also had a discussion on freedom of speech around the world. After taking a lunch break, students got into small groups to work on a task force where they chose a system of resource distribution in a new society. We closed out the day with some independent work time where students continued writing their speeches that they will deliver later in the week. 

Day 4 (7/30/2020)

Today we engaged with a futuristic topic and had lots of independent work time! We started out the day with a topic discussion on Artificial Intelligence, Robots, and the Future. We learned about one particular robot, named Sophia, who can learn from interactions with humans, draw, and is even a citizen of a country (Saudi Arabia). 

Next, students chose one our videos to watch about a logical fallacy. They each chose from a list of 12 videos, answered a few questions about the video they chose, and then shared what they learned with the group. We then had a brief discussion on the Supreme Court and the Bill of Rights. 

After lunch, students worked in small groups on a task force where they decided whether they think robots should ever have the right to vote. For the remainder of the day, students had the chance to work independently or begin rehearsing their speech and share feedback with one another. 

Day 5 (7/31/2020)

Students started by talking about their favorite moments in the camp so far, since for some it was their last day. Then we went into a speaking activity where students practiced using emotions in their speaking. Students chose from a list of emotions and  read a quote using one of the emotions without telling the other students what emotion it was. The other students then had to guess which emotion the speaking student was using. Some emotions included: happy, excited, calm, sarcastic, disgust, melancholy, fear, and shock. 

Then we moved onto discussing the topic of the day, school violence. We introduced the topic with a disclaimer and by asking the class how they had experienced school violence being discussed before, and how they have experienced it brought up in their own school experiences. Students discussed their own experiences respectfully and listened to each other. Students also talked about how heightened security and lockdown drills have affected students. After the discussion, we went into a presentation on mass violence in schools to prepare for the day’s task force. We then split into breakout rooms where students were asked to come up with creative policy solutions for mitigating violence in schools. 

After lunch, students went into breakout rooms to practice the speeches they wrote. Then, they delivered their speeches to the whole class, practicing the speaking and rhetorical skills they learned throughout the week. They gave each other feedback and asked questions about each other’s topics and arguments. 

Day 1 (8/3/2020)

We had an amazing start to our 5th week! After completing initial introductions and icebreakers, we started with our topic lecture discussing how schools are handling Fall openings in light of the pandemic. 

We then worked on our argumentative writing skills by reviewing the fundamentals of argumentation: claim, data, warrant, and impact. Then, we brainstormed topics for our article which we will finish writing by the end of the week.

In order to apply what they learned during the topic lecture, students worked on a task force activity whose primary objective was to design a school that can provide quality education while still following safety measures in place due to the pandemic.

After lunch, we rejoined to learn about how schools around the world are responding to the pandemic. Finally, we concluded our eventful day with a short writing exercise in which students submitted a claim, data, warrant, and impact for their proposed topics. 

Day 2 (8/4/2020)

We began the day with our topic discussion on gender equality and women’s rights. Then, we split into breakout rooms to discuss particular challenges women face in the United States. Afterwards, we worked on our rhetorical skills by learning how to write thesis statements. Before lunch, we extended our discussion of women’s rights to the international level by discussing issues that women face around the world and the history of women’s rights movements. 

After lunch, students broke out into smaller groups and designed a mobile application that could help couples to equally share household responsibilities.We concluded our class by learning about Supreme Court cases on gender laws and legal status regarding gender equality in the United States.

Day 3 (8/5/2020)

We had a strong start to the day by our topic lecture on the freedom of the press. Along with analyzing its constitutional underpinnings, we discussed why the freedom of the press is so important for the well-being of our democracy.

One of the most ubiquitous problems to the freedom of the press is the proliferation of “fake news.” In order to face this challenge, we divided into breakout rooms and discussed ways that major social media platforms such as Facebook can counter “fake news.” We supplemented our topic discussion with a lecture on effective online research tips and best practices. This will help the students in their article writing process.

Upon coming back together after lunch, we discussed freedom of press standards around the world. We utilized the 2020 World Press Freedom indices in order to learn about each country’s commitment to the freedom of the press.We then ended the day by applying what we learned through the creation of powerpoints by students, each focussing on one particular country’s legal statues on a free press.

Day 4 (8/6/2020) 

Thursday was Green Cities Day! Today’s class began with a topic lecture on Green Cities. We discussed what makes a city “Green” and looked at examples of Green Cities from around the world.

Then, we continued to fine tune students’ rhetorical skills by examining the critical role that a counterargument plays in critical argumentative writing and how students can effectively incorporate a counter argument into their articles. 

Then, we discussed the 17 Sustainable Development Goals the United Nations has set out to achieve by the year 2030. Afterwards, students worked on their outlines for their articles with the help of the instructors. 

Upon returning from lunch, we applied what we learned by breaking out into small groups and designing our own “Green Cities.” To conclude the day, we then returned back to the mainroom, and students presented their designs to the rest of the class.

Day 5 (8/7/2020) 

We began our class today with a topic lecture on Elections. Specifically, we focussed on US Presidential Elections, discussing their underlying mechanisms and nuances. We then split up into breakout rooms to design a new election system for the United States. Each group produced unique election styles and brainstormed the merits for their particular method. 

Upon returning back from lunch, students worked on their articles with the guidance and feedback of the instructors. To end our day, the different breakout rooms that worked on designing an election style presented their findings to the rest of the class. 

Our day concluded with emotional good-bye’s as we bid farewell to students who would be leaving us today.

Day 1 (8/10/2020) 

Our topic for today was Special Needs Education. We began with a topic lecture from Ms. Shah in which students learned what it means to be for students to be “inclusive” to all students—regardless of their specific learning style. 

We also started our Spoken Advocacy process by brainstorming topics for our speeches that we will present on Friday. The instructors assisted the students by helping them refine and revise their topics.

We then performed a case study in which we designed a timeline for students with special needs.

Upon returning from lunch, we worked on a task force activity that applied what students learned during the morning lecture. We ended our day with amazing conversations regarding the difference between equality and equity. Incredible start to the week!

Day 2 (8/11/2020)

Our topic for today was Policing which sparked a full morning of deep discussions and conversations regarding systemic racism and police brutality. Some brave students even shared their experiences with feelings of unsafety for themselves and their families. We were impressed and inspired by how the students approached this topic and we are grateful to those students who shared their voices and their stories with the class. 

We also discussed tips and best practices for how students should conduct research for their speeches.

Upon returning back from lunch, we worked on a task force in which we discussed how much funding the police should receive. Returning back to our spoken advocacy, we further refined our skills by participating in stop and go speeches with animal debates. We ended our day with discussions regarding supreme court cases regarding racial equality and policing.

Day 3 (8/12/2020)

We began the day with a topic lecture on Global Health. We first analyzed what it means for data to be represented accurately within graphs, looking at examples of statistics which misrepresent the actual data. One of the fallacies we discussed was the difference between correlation and causation and how the former does not prove the latter. 

Connecting the conversation with the COVID-19 pandemic, we worked on a task force activity in which we created a plan for distributing the vaccine once it is created. Students deliberated whether or not certain groups should be prioritized in being vaccinated and if vaccines should be mandatory for all citizens. This naturally spurred a debate regarding the balance between individual liberties and the collective good. Each breakout room returned back to the general session and presented their findings to the rest of the class. 

Upon returning back from lunch, we researched global health topics with resources provided by the WHO. We ended our day by looking at the specific case of the eradication of Polio in order to understand how we could potentially respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Day 4 (8/13/2020)

Delving into the realm of future technology, we began with a topical lecture on self-driving cars. Along with analyzing the technology, we wrestled with certain philosophical implications of self-driving cars, specifically the Trolley problem. Students further contemplated this ethical paradox in breakout rooms in which we designed our own self-driving cars.

Upon returning back from lunch, we further looked at the technological and mathematical underpinnings of self-driving cars by introducing the topic of algorithmic calculations. This topic really encouraged students to discuss what it means to be a human being and to what extent do robotic inventions have feelings similar to those of humans. 

We finally ended the day by working on our speeches which we will deliver tomorrow. Instructors provided feedback on the students’ topics. Along with their writing skills, students were able to refine their speaking skills through our animal debates.

Day 5 (8/14/2020)

While we are proud and excited about the progress that students have made, we are sad that it is our last day today. 

We begin our day with our topic lecture on Bullying. We discovered how bullying can manifest in relationships at all stages of life and how we can prevent bullying from occurring in schools and communities around the world. We also analyzed laws in the United States and around the world regarding bullying.

The students were very passionate about this topic and the conversation naturally pivoted towards other social issues such as political, gender, and financial inequality. Today was, by far, one of the most in-depth, insightful conversations throughout our entire camp as students decided to even continue the conversation during lunch. It was a perfect way to bring the conversation back to a full circle as the students demonstrated, with their thorough knowledge of these topics, that they are truly the civic leaders of tomorrow.

Upon returning back from lunch, students presented their speeches to the class, showing great improvement in their speaking and writing skills. 

We finished our animal debates during the latter portion of class, and, with heartfelt goodbyes, we concluded Leaders 4 Social Change 2020. Enlight! Ignite! & Unite!