Computer/s, photographs, student notebooks, index cards, chalk/writing board.
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One classroom period – 50 min.
Students will study photographs depicting issues related to the proliferation of small arms. They will begin to explore the humanitarian impact of weapons and to think critically what a "humanitarian" perspective means.
1. After the collage activity, the educator asked the class to journal if they thought mainstream media and popular culture encouraged people to want guns. The class could begin with a few volunteers talking about their ideas.
2. As an introduction into this lesson, the educator should present a small talk about the first disarmament strategy, on how to reduce the demand for guns. With the demand for guns, civil society groups that work on small arms disarmament want to show the humanitarian impact of weapons in the broadest sense possible. The educator here should explain what a humanitarian perspective means or she can pause, and ask the class to reflect on the word themselves.
3. If the educator is not constrained with time, she could pass out one index card to each of the students and ask them to take a few minutes to write what they think a "humanitarian" perspective means in relation to weapons. They should include any values they associate with the word humanitarianism. Additionally, again time permitting, the class can tape their index cards to the chalkboard and a student facilitator can read each one and arrange the cards into clusters of shared ideas. The facilitator could then lead a discussion here on these collective ideas.
4. If the facilitator wants to skip Activity 3, she should explain that when civil society wants to show the humanitarian impact of weapons, this means they want to draw attention to how the proliferation and use of weapons affects people’s lives, their environment, their work, their health, their sense of security, and any additional humanistic issue. The facilitator should add here that taking a humanistic perspective means they need to study gun violence and draw conclusions on the impact of weapons.
Continuing with her discussion, the educator should note that research is a necessary component before any concrete disarmament campaigns can be carried out because groups need to prove that weapons harm people and society. For example, researchers who study gun violence usually look at the number of deaths per 100,000 people. In the next set of activities, we’ll see how shocking some of these rations can be. Another surprising fact is that every minute someone in the world dies from a gun. And for every person killed, three are shot and are seriously injured. That’s one of the great hidden statistics, those who are shot and survive. Obviously, gunshot wounds require emergency and intensive medical treatment, rehabilitation programs and psychological support programs for victims and their families. Depending on the place, the impact of weapons can become a public health crisis.
5. After the preceding introduction, the educator should have the students examine the following four photographs. They can look at the pictures online or projected. If the photos can be printed, arrange them on a table and have the students spend a few minutes quietly looking at them. Then ask the students open up their journals and quietly write about any specific impact that weapons might have had on the scene pictured. If they were a researcher, what details would they like to point out in the picture? From a humanitarian perspective, what impact do weapons have on this situation?
6. After the class has journaled their responses, arrange the class into work groups based on the picture each student chose. In the small groups, each student should share their research perspective. Together, the group should come up with a common perspective to share with the class. The goal here is to use each photograph to illustrate the impact that guns have on society. The educator should move from group to group making sure that the students understand that this research activity is different from the earlier photo workshop, which focused on why people might want to own weapons. Each group should them present their photo to the class and talk about how it might have affected the people in the picture or the environment. If there’s enough time, the facilitator should close the lesson by discussing the four perspectives on the possible humanitarian impact weapons might have around the world.