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Sustainability

We consider sustainability to be a central issue of our time. For this reason, we have created a rich collection of materials related to topics such as climate change, water, food and agriculture.


“Project Look Sharp’s professional development trainings and curriculum materials are “the most comprehensive media and sustainability curricula available.”
- Antonio Lopez, Greening Media Education: Bridging Media Literacy with Green Cultural Citizenship


Sustainability Related Lessons

You will find over 80 free lessons if you search our resources using the keyword "Sustainability". Further narrow your search by grade level or subject or filter by standard, media type, etc. Below we have highlighted a small number of lessons that use different approaches to the integration of media literacy and critical thinking into teaching about sustainability.

Environmental Justice – For Whom, How and Why?
This is an example of a short (10 to 20 minute) media decoding activity for applying sustainability content with critical thinking at the high school or college level. You can find dozens more short lessons tied to sustainability-related content by searching different KEYWORDS.
Voices Role-Play?
This is an example of an extensive lesson that takes many class periods and teaches complex sustainability related content and media literacy skills through role playing . Use ADVANCED SEARCH and DURATION to find other extended lessons.
Let Us Tell You About the Bodies of Water Where We Live
This is an elementary level sustainability lesson that includes a media production component. You can see other elementary lessons by searching “Elementary” and KEYWORD “sustainability.” In ADVANCED SEARCH select STUDENT ACTIVITIES and PRESENTATION to see other media production lessons.
History of Chemicals in the Environment
This is an example of a lesson that is part of a unit or series of lessons. You can review these units in the kits below, Media Construction of… Chemicals, Resources, and Endangered Species.


Sustainability Related Curriculum Kits

Media Construction of Chemicals in the Environment

High School through College - This kit is a historical overview of American representations of chemicals from the three sisters to the Love Canal. It compares conflicting constructions about nuclear reactor safety, depleted uranium, Rachel Carson and DDT.

Media Construction of Endangered Species

High School through College - this kit covers a historical overview of American representations of endangered species from the slaughter of the American buffalo to Palm plantations in Sumatra.

Media Construction of Resource Depletion

High School through College - this kit covers a historical overview of American representations of natural resources from ancient Indian basketry to contemporary web sites. It compares conflicting media constructions about the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the damning of rivers, and Chukchi sea oil drilling.

Media Constructions of Sustainability

High School through College - this kit explores how sustainability has been presented in the media with a particular focus on issues related to food, water and agriculture. Each of the 19 lessons integrates media literacy and critical thinking into lessons about different aspect of sustainability.

Media Constructions of Sustainability: Finger Lakes

High School through College - this kit explores how sustainability within the Finger Lakes region of New York has been presented in the media with a particular focus on issues related to food, water and agriculture.

Media Constructions of Sustainability: Lower Elementary

Lower Elementary - this kit provides early elementary teachers and community educators with the materials needed to engage students in a dynamic and constructivist process of analyzing the representation of sustainability in the media with a particular focus on issues related to water, plants, animals and media production.

Media Constructions of Sustainability: Upper Elementary

Upper Elementary - this kit provides upper elementary teachers and community educators with the materials needed to engage students in a dynamic and constructivist process of analyzing the representation of sustainability in the media with a particular focus on issues related to food, natural resources, water and media production.

Media Constructions of Sustainability: Middle School

Middle School - this kit provides middle school teachers and community educators with the materials needed to engage students in a dynamic and constructivist process of learning how sustainability has been presented in the media with a particular focus on issues related to energy, biodiversity, climate change and water.


Sustainability Instructional Materials

Video Demonstrations

The Great Global Warming Swindle
Farming, Community & Sustainability
Hydrofracking, Media & Credibility


Sustainability Archived Webinars

Teaching Media Literacy & Sustainability for Younger Learners
Sox Sperry, Project Look Sharp's primary curriculum writer, leads participants in an exploration of elements from Project Look Sharp's lessons related to sustainability for teachers in the elementary grades. These lessons will be available free and online this summer from our website.
Teaching about Climate Change Using the Tools of Media Literacy
Sox Sperry, Project Look Sharp’s primary curriculum writer, leads participants on a participatory exploration of lessons covering media representations of climate change. The lessons were drawn from the Media Constructions of Global Warming kit.
Media Constructions of Energy Choices
Sox Sperry, LookSharp's primary curriculum writer, offers educators and teachers-in-training pedagogical techniques and curriculum materials to support a deeper understanding of how to address issues of bias in media documents about energy choices. Learn to seek out and use media sources to deepen critical thinking practice about authorship, purpose, credibility and economics.


Sustainability Related Articles

Sustainability Education and Media Literacy
This article looks at how the topic of climate change can often provoke deep emotions in students, and suggests that instead of shying away, teachers should use media literacy activities to foster discussions of what the future holds. The author stresses the importance of connecting to the emotional lives of students when raising complex issues around sustainability.
Teaching Critical Thinking through Media Literacy – Science
Constructivist media decoding in the science classroom trains students to carefully examine information and messages in different types of media; to interpret meaning while applying knowledge and identifying document-based evidence; to ask a consistent set of questions about all media messages that address sourcing, meaning, and credibility; to draw well-reasoned conclusions after weighing the evidence, evaluating different interpretations, and reflecting on their own biases; and to share their observations and conclusions and defend their analysis. The teachers saw this technique as a way of teaching inquiry related to everyday messages in the media.

Heighten Your Instruction through PD

Our trainers can custom design a media literacy workshop or class using Sustainability
focused lessons, classroom videos and materials chosen specifically for your audience.

We also offer a workshop or class for teaching challenging topics through media analysis.

Learn More


Social Justice

We have a long-standing commitment to developing materials and trainings related to social justice concerns. For this reason, we have created a rich collection of materials related to topics such as economics and equity, the history of peace and social justice movements and the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


“Project Look Sharp curricula does not preach, but by asking provocative questions it leads students to think carefully and re-examine traditional ideas. In short, it fosters independent thinking, which, after all, should be the chief objective of a good education.”
- Howard Zinn, historian and author of “A People's History of the United States"


Social Justice Lessons

You will find dozens of free lessons if you search our resources using the keyword "Justice". Further narrow your search by grade level or subject or filter by standard, media type, etc.

Below we have highlighted a small number of lessons that use different approaches to the integration of media literacy and critical thinking into teaching about social justice content..

Black Lives Matter and Climate Change: What's the Connection?
This is an example of a short media decoding activity for addressing contemporary social justice content with critical thinking at the high school or college level. You can find dozens more short lessons tied to social justice-related content by searching different KEYWORDS.
Imperialism and the Panama Canal
This is an example of a short media decoding activity for middle school that teaches about US history from different perspectives through decoding engaging and informative video clips. You can narrow your search by subjects, e.g. Economics, Journalism, or Global Studies. In ADVANCED SEARCH and you can search by “Geographical Relevance” and “Media Type.”
Challenging Homophobia
This is an example of a media decoding activity for high school or college that uses songs to teach about LGBTQ+ activism. It is part of a larger unit on Gay Liberation in the kit Media Construction of Social Justice (see below).
No More Kings
This is an example of an elementary lesson from a larger kit that uses historical media documents (a poem, etchings, paintings, and a text document) as well as a contemporary video from Schoolhouse Rock to teach about diverse perspectives on US history. This lesson from the kit: Causes of the Revolutionary War can be used as a culminating unit assessment. See more kits below.


Social Justice Curriculum Kits

Media Constructions of Social Justice

High School through College - this kit explores how people in the United States have perceived social justice movements over the past 180 years and how the U.S. media have constructed that public perception.

Media Constructions of Peace

High School through College - this kit explores how the people in the United States have perceived antiwar movements over the past 170 years and how the U.S. media has constructed that public perception.

Media Constructions of the Middle East

High School through College - this kit covers stereotyping of Arab people, the Arab/Israeli conflict, the war in Iraq and militant Muslim movements.

Media Constructions of War: A Critical Reading of History

High School through College - this kit analyzes Newsweek coverage of the Vietnam War, Gulf War and the War in Afghanistan. Students will learn core information about the wars in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan, how media influences public opinion of current events, and how to ask key media literacy questions and identify bias in the news.

Economics in U.S. History: A Media Literacy Kit

Middle School - this kit is designed to integrate basic economic concepts with media literacy and critical thinking skills into U.S. history through decoding of print and audiovisual media materials.

Media Constructions of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Middle School - this kit explores the ways in which King and his legacy have been portrayed in various media forms. The first lesson follows a chronology of King's life through interactive decoding of rich media documents (comic books, billboards, songs, music videos, etc.).


Social Justice Instructional Materials

Video Demonstrations

Gender in Children’s Commercials (Elementary)
First Contact between Europeans and Native Americans (Elementary)
US Wars in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan (High School)
Examining Credibility & Bias in Websites (High School)
Decoding Last Words by Nas (College)


Social Justice Related Webinars

Media Constructions of Food Justice
Sox Sperry, LookSharp's primary curriculum writer, leads participants on a participatory exploration of lesson elements from three of our curriculum kits that are directly related to food justice topics: Media Constructions of Chemicals in the Environment; Media Constructions of Sustainability: Food, Water and Agriculture; and Media Constructions of Sustainability: Finger Lakes.
Media Constructions of Peace and Social Justice: Reflecting Diversity
This interactive webinar includes a brief demonstration video of Chris Sperry, Project Look Sharp's Director of Curriculum and Staff Development, as he leads a class through constructivist media decoding of a lesson on peace and conflict studies. Sox Sperry, Project Look Sharp's primary curriculum writer, leads a visual tour of three of our curriculum kits that are directly related to peace and social justice topics.
Media Constructions of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sox Sperry, Project Look Sharp's curriculum writer, leads participants on a participatory exploration of lessons covering media representations of Dr. King. The curriculum kit he refers to is available free and online from our website.
Teaching about the Middle East through Media Literacy
Chris Sperry, Project Look Sharp's Director of Curriculum and Staff Development, presents about the Middle East through Media Literacy. Chris Sperry has had many years of experience with teaching high school students about the Middle East. In fact, during this webinar, Chris will have just returned from presenting at the first International Conference on Media Literacy in Iran with Cyndy Scheibe, the Executive Director and Founder of Project Look Sharp.


Social Justice Related Articles

(Not so) Unprecedented Media Analysis of the 2016 Presidential Race and Historical Precedents
This article helps teachers to understand how to use media documents from the 2016 presidential race (as well as past campaigns) to critically analyze media messages to teach objectives from the new NCSS C3 Framework for the Social Studies and the Common Core ELA standards for secondary social studies. When students examine election posters, cartoons, and ads they will comprehend that many themes--including xenophobia, income inequality, and women's political power--have been historical mainstays on the campaign trail.
Seeking Truth in the Social Studies Classroom: Media Literacy, Critical Thinking and Teaching about the Middle East
Students are bombarded daily with a torrent of media messages, many of them with historical content. By selecting the right media documents for decoding, teachers can teach core content while guiding students to think critcally about these messages.

Heighten Your Instruction through PD

Our trainers can custom design a media literacy workshop or class using Social Justice
focused lessons, classroom videos and materials chosen specifically for your audience.

We also offer a workshop or class for teaching challenging topics through media analysis.

Learn More

Media Bias & Credibility

Today we are acutely aware of the need for students to develop habits of critical analysis, and evaluation of all media messages, including political messages that may be inaccurate or misleading. We need to teach our students, of all ages, the habit of asking key questions, such as: Who produced this for what purpose? Is the information accurate and current and the source credible? What are the biases, what is left out? How do my own biases impact my interpretation of this message and the credibility of the source? Habits only develop through consistent and reinforced practice. Project Look Sharp’s resources enable educators to integrate media analysis into the curriculum at all grade levels and subject areas – through asking subject area and critical thinking questions of rich media documents linked to core standards.


"I wish that I had these materials available when I was in school. They bring politics alive and make presidential campaigns relevant."
- Bill Moyers, journalist and founder of Public Affairs Television


Media Bias & Credibility Lessons

If you search our resources you will find dozens of lessons related to media bias and credibility. You can narrow your search by grade level or subject or filter by standard, media type, etc.

Below we have highlighted a small number of lessons that use different approaches to the integration of media literacy and critical thinking into teaching about media bias and credibility.

Twitter and Lies: How They Snowball
While all our lessons teach critical thinking about the media, some are focused on understanding the bias of particular media forms such as Facebook, Google Image Search, YouTube Recommendations, and Twitter. In ADVANCED SEARCH you can narrow your search by “Media Type.”
How False Statistics Spread in the Digital World
All of our lessons that address media bias and credibility are aligned to specific ELA and social studies standards, but we also have lessons that teach to specific Next Gen. science standards, and others that teach to math, health, art and Spanish Language objectives. You can search by standard in ADVANCED SEARCH.
Liquids in Spiderman vs. Hydroman
Most of our elementary lessons teach students to analyze media construction, credibility and bias but also integrate core content objectives. This 1st grade lesson can be used as a pre-and post unit assessment for a study of matter: liquid, solid and gas.
The Vietnam War
Some of our lessons are part of a series for teaching about media bias and credibility. This lesson can be used to teach the history of the U.S. War in Vietnam and it can be used with our lessons on the Gulf War and the War in Afghanistan to compare, analyze and evaluate Newsweek’s coverage of the three wars. See the kit Media Construction of War.


Media Bias & Credibility Instructional Materials

Video Demonstrations

Elementary Level: Gender in children's commericals
High School English: Examining Credibility and Bias in Web Sites
High School Global Studies: The Politics of Maps Israel/Palestine
High School Science: The Great Global Warming Swindle
College Level: Hydrofracking, Media and Credibility

Media Bias & Credibility Related Webinars

Critical Thinking and Health: Media Literacy Lessons for Elementary Grades
Cyndy Scheibe, LookSharp's executive director, offers elementary school and early childhood educators (and teachers-in-training) pedagogical techniques and curriculum materials to help young children understand biases and misleading messages found in food advertising and toy commercials aimed at them, including cereal ads and advertising for foods and beverages that imply they have a lot of fruit in them.
Teaching about Climate Change Using the Tools of Media Literacy
Sox Sperry, Project Look Sharp’s primary curriculum writer, leads participants on a participatory exploration of lessons covering media representations of climate change. The lessons were drawn from the Media Constructions of Global Warming kit.
Media Constructions of Presidential Campaigns
Sox Sperry, LookSharp's primary curriculum writer, leads participants on a participatory exploration of high school lessons covering media representations of U.S. presidential elections from 1800-2008. The media and lessons were drawn from the popular Presidential Campaigns curriculum kit, which is available free from our website.


Media Bias and Credibility Related Articles

Teaching Critical Thinking Through Media Literacy – Science
Constructivist media decoding in the science classroom trains students to carefully examine information and messages in different types of media; to interpret meaning while applying knowledge and identifying document-based evidence; to ask a consistent set of questions about all media messages that address sourcing, meaning, and credibility; to draw well-reasoned conclusions after weighing the evidence, evaluating different interpretations, and reflecting on their own biases; and to share their observations and conclusions and defend their analysis. The teachers saw this technique as a way of teaching inquiry related to everyday messages in the media.
Constructivist Media Decoding in the Social Studies: Leveraging the New Standards for Educational Change
This article explores the role that media analysis can play on educational reform tied to the new NCSS C3 Framework for the Social Studies and the Common Core ELA standards for secondary social studies. It uses examples from media decoding activities on the Project Look Sharp website tied to specific standards. It also explores professional development tools that support methodological shifts towards inquiry and assessments of critical thinking skills.
A Deeper Sense of Literacy
Basic principles and best practices for using a curriculum-driven approach are described, with specific examples from social studies, English/Language arts, math, science, health, and art, along with methods of assessment used to address effectiveness in the classroom.

Heighten Your Instruction through PD

We offer a workshop titled Truth, Lies and Metacognition: Integrating News Literacy into the Curriculum that provides guidelines and strategies for training our students to not only assess the credibility, accuracy, and bias of various news sources, but also to reflect on their interpretations and build their capacity to meaningfully take action online and in their communities.

Learn More

Covid-19 and Online Learning

In February 2020 the World Health Organization named a new kind of media consumption ailment, “a massive ‘infodemic’ - an over-abundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.” In response to, the pandemic, the Infodemic and the related shift to digital learning for schools around the world, Project Look Sharp has complied a series of new resources. These include many new lessons focused on coronavirus and the Infodemic, print and video resources for teaching media decoding online, and other resources for doing classroom media decoding in the time of Covid-19.

Tips for Online Learning Using Look Sharp materials


Covid-19 Lessons

Wash Your Hands – What’s the Right Way?

Elementary Level - Students analyze a comic, a graphic, a music video and a public service announcement for messages about the best way to wash your hands to protect yourself from getting sick.

“The Truth About Coronavirus” - Google Searching For COVID-19

Upper Elementary and Middle School - Students analyze results from two Google searches, one for “coronavirus” and one for “the real truth about coronavirus,” to reflect on the impact of search terms on the sources that Google recommends.

Changing Our Media Habits: The Impact of the Pandemic

Middle and High School - Students analyze charts, graphs and illustrations for messages about media consumption changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trusting Web Videos on COVID-19 (Or Not)

Middle and High School - Students analyze for credibility four video clips of people giving prevention advice during the Covid-19 crisis: President Donald Trump, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a New York City primary care doctor during an online family information session, and a naturopathic doctor during a televangelist TV program. These were all posted online in March of 2020.

COVID-19 & Climate Change: Graphing the Connection

High School and College - Students analyze online graphs and text for messages about the connections between the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

COVID-19 and the Economy: Conflicting Priorities

High School and College - Students analyze two opinion pieces for messages about how to manage the economy during a global health crisis.

Misinformation About COVID-19: How to Figure It out

High School and College - Students analyze videos for messages about what to do about misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social Media Goes Viral: Fact Checking Messages About COVID-19

High School and College - Students analyze a text message, a Facebook post, a webpage from a fact checking organization and a tweet from the World Health Organization for messages about credibility of Internet information about precautionary health measures for COVID-19.

How Disease Spreads: Cholera Epidemic of 1892

High School and College - Students analyze an anti-Semitic editorial cartoon and newspaper editorial from the 1890s, an excerpt from a contemporary magazine article and a webpage from a respected medical health center for messages about the social and scientific beliefs that inform our knowledge about how cholera spreads.

Confirmation Bias, Coronavirus and the 2020 Presidential Campaign

High School and College - In this media literacy activity students analyze the credibility of a controversial pro-Biden political ad attacking President Trump on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, a tweet in response by Trump War Room, and an article from the fact-checking website Politifact about the controversy.


Covid-19 Instructional Materials

Video Demonstrations

Tips for Facilitating a Synchronous (Real Time) Online Media Decoding
Asynchronous Media Decoding


Covid:19 and Online Teaching Related Articles/Guides


Tips for Online Learning Using Project Look Sharp’s Free Lessons and Materials
This 1-page guide lays out a few tips for low tech, synchronous and asynchronous approaches to using Project Look Sharp’s free lessons and methodology of constructivist media decoding in online instruction.
Rx for an Infodemic: Media Decoding, COVID-19 and Online Teaching
After describing the historical, political and social causes of our viral age of “fake news,” this Social Education article explores how constructivist media decoding provides a methodology for addressing the polarization of truth, with examples of how this work can be done in the social studies classroom through face-to-face and virtual learning.

Heighten Your Instruction through PD

We offer a workshop titled Truth, Lies and Metacognition: Integrating News Literacy into the Curriculum that provides guidelines and strategies for training our students to not only assess the credibility, accuracy, and bias of various news sources, but also to reflect on their interpretations and build their capacity to meaningfully take action online and in their communities.

Learn More