Education is Power: Your Decisions Make a Difference

Patricia A. Nelson, Social Studies teacher, Carmel Middle School

(Abstract PDF)

(Unit PDF)         


This unit is designed to have middle school students examine the decision-making of other children through the use of three cases studies. The cases studies focus on the power of education. The unit was written as a way to address the drop out rate, gang membership and personal accountability in decision-making by students.

The case studies include three children: Matthew Crabtree who lived during the Industrial Revolution in England and received no formal education, Alfons Heck who was a member of the Hitler Youth and received a misguided, Nazi education, and Kody Scott who left school to become a member of an L.A. gang. The primary sources used are not completely appropriate for middle school students, therefore teachers will need to read and design their own selection of passages to use with their students to illustrate the circumstances and actions of the children. Three lesson plans have been designed in which students will come to conclusions about the children’s decision-making and the impact it had on their lives. Students will compare and contrast their own experience with those in the cases studies in order to draw conclusions about their own decision-making.