Social Justice Multimedia Resource and Lesson Plan for Upper Elementary School Students

Social Justice is demonstrated by heroes from across the globe in these featured films, art and stories. The quality of fair and just relations between the individual and society is at the core of the character trait of social justice. Meet remarkable heroes through these films, art and stories, and create a dialogue with your students on the importance of social justice.

Upper Elementary School Social Justice Lesson Resource
Credit: MY HERO

MY HERO International Film Winner Words Have Power Film and Lesson Plan

MY HERO International Film Festival Winner Words Have Power is about a 10 year old girl who rallied her community to protest the health effects that a local power plant had on their community and succeeded in having the plant close. Lesson plan activities provided by Young Voice for the Planet and organized by grade level. 


Upper Elementary Words Have Power Lesson Plan

Words Have Power

Produced by:Lynne Cherry
10-year-old Jaysa rallies the community with her speeches about how the power plant causes asthma and “so much suffering.” When they succeed in shutting down the plant, Jaysa concludes that “words have power.”

Access to Education for All


Produced by:Jacob & Isaac Seigel-Boettner

An Indian girl gains a bicycle, and the will to achieve.

Armene Modi

By: Amanda Molinaro

Armene Modi provides bicycles to girls in rural Indian villages so they can continue their education.

In some rural Indian villages, when boys completed grade seven, their family would buy them a bicycle to ensure they received a good education. With a bicycle, the commute to the high school would only be fifteen minutes. However, when girls completed grade seven they would not receive bicycles and would have to walk an hour each way to school. Learn how having a bicycle allows girls to continue their education in rural India. 


Use the multimedia resource showcase link to learn more about John Lewis who dedicated his life to advancing human rights and civil liberties.


John Lewis Multimedia Showcase Webpage
Credit: MY HERO


Use the multimedia showcase link below to learn more about Nelson Mandela, South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and human rights activist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. 


Nelson Mandela Multimedia Showcase Link
Credit: MY HERO

Learn About Youth Activists Around the World and Consider the Discussion Questions and Activities

Child Slavery


Students read the story and analyze the art about Iqbal Masih, a child from Pakistan who was sold into slavery by his father when he was 4 and escaped slavery at the age of 10. He began speaking internationally and was awarded the Reebok Human Rights Youth Award when he was 12 years old.  


Iqbal Masih

By: Stephanie and Audrey<br> from Forest Hills

Iqbal Masih was a brave advocate for child labor laws in Pakistan.

Iqbal Masih by Sydney from Laguna Beach

Iqbal Masih was a Pakistani Christian boy who became a symbol of abusive child labour in the developing world


Students watch the following film and read the story to learn about Vivienne Harr who, at the age of 8, founded Make a Stand Lemon-Aid to raise funds for organizations that fight child slavery.



Producer: Diane Namm

Young Vivienne Harr was deeply affected by the story of children suffering from human trafficking. So she founded Make a Stand Lemon-aid to raise fund for organizations that fight child slavery.

Vivienne Harr

By: Sue Glader

Vivienne Harr founded Make a Stand Lemon-aid to raise fund for organizations that fight child slavery.

Youth Peace Activist 


Students read the story about Samantha Smith, a grade school student and peace activist. Then analyze the portrait by Robert Shetterly, noticing the text used in the portrait. 


Samantha Smith

By: Abbie from Taipei

Story about Samantha Smith.

Samantha Smith

Samantha Reed Smith (June 29, 1972 – August 25, 1985) was an American girl who became known as "America's Youngest Ambassador" in the United States and the "Goodwill Ambassador" in the Soviet Union during her short lifetime.


She wrote : "If we could be friends by just getting to know each other better, then what are our countries really arguing about? Nothing could be more important than not having a war if a war could kill everything."

Grade school student and peace activist, (1972 - 1985) Samantha was just 10 years old when she wrote the premier of the Soviet Union to ask him about his intentions for waging war. Yuri Andropov invited her to visit the Soviet Union and the success of her trip launched a 3 year odyssey of traveling the world, advocating for peace. Tragically, she and her father were killed in a plane wreck while returning home after one of their numerous peace missions.


Great for ESL/EFF Students: the Following Stories are Available in Text and Audio so Students Can Listen & Read Along


Bilaal Rajan

By: Sean from Richmond Hill

Bilaal Rajan is the founder of Making Change Now and Canada's child ambassador to UNICEF.

Ruby Nell Bridges

By: Madison

One of the most important heroes in the fight against segregation in America was a six-year-old girl, Ruby Nell Bridges.

Ana Dodson

Ana Dodson formed Peruvian Hearts to provide Peruvian orphans an education.

Discussion Questions and Activities

1. Each of the young people featured have made a positive difference. How are these heroes alike? How are they different?

2. How are these activists examples of how one person can make a difference regardless of his or her age? What issues did you feel a connection to and why?

3. Who are young activists in your own community making a difference? Share their story with MY HERO.

4. What are important issues facing your community or the world that you feel passionate about? What can you do? Create an action plan, get others involved and share your story with MY HERO.


Students Analyze the Hero Art Below: 

How do each of these artists portray the strength of their social justice hero?

Consider creating a portrait of your hero, or a poster honoring someone working toward a social justice solution to submit to MY HERO.


A leader gone too soon

By: Tina - Cor Artem Studio

Desmond Tutu

By: Steph Eberlein, Joe Lindley, Jake Fusilier

Global leader in advocating equality, compassion and justice for all

Mother Teresa

By: Michaelle from Laguna Beach

Canonized as a Saint for her work with the victims of extreme poverty

My Hero- Mahatma Gandhi

By: Arnav Choudepally (Age 6)

This is my drawing of Mahatma Gandhi. He is my hero and he was a hero to many other people because he fought against poverty and for freedom in India. (Elementary student artist)

Martin Luther King Jr. painted by Marilyn Huerta

By: Marilyn Huerta
Marilyn Huerta paints Martin Luther King Jr's portrait as a civil rights leader and non violent activist

Students can share their Hero Essays, Films and Art through our Create Program

How to use MY HERO's Create Program to Publish Stories, Art, Film and Audio for Students

Tutorial for students: Publish written stories, film, original artwork and audio in MY HERO's multimedia library.

Create Program
Credit: MY HERO

Outstanding essays submitted to MY HERO will be considered for a certificate/t-shirt prize or be featured on the Story Homepage.

Submit your artwork to be entered in the MY HERO art contest or to be exhibited on our Gallery Homepage.

Students can submit their films for free with a waiver to the MY HERO International Film Festival.

How to Organize Your Students' Published Work

Click Here for Information About Organizing Student Work

Additional MY HERO Multimedia Resources Connected to Social Justice

International Day of the Girl Lesson Plan

By: Laura Nietzer

Multimedia Resources and Lesson Plan for Elementary, Middle and High School Students. Includes discussion guide and learning outcomes.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Teacher Lesson Plan

By: Laura Nietzer

Share the importance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women 

Human Rights Day Teacher Lesson Plan

By: Laura Nietzer

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948.

For Additional Resources and Lesson Plans, Go to the MY HERO Lesson Plan Center

Lesson Plan Center
Credit: MY HERO

Learn about a New Hero Every Day of the Year: Use the MY HERO Calendar in the Classroom

Organizer created on 6/22/2021 4:42:26 PM by Laura Nietzer

Last edited 3/16/2023 12:20:06 PM by Laura Nietzer