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Poverty in America

The Tale of Two Americas

The United States: Land of Opportunity, where anyone can achieve The American Dream...right?

Then why does a huge percentage of the population remain stuck in poverty? This short course explores the causes and drivers of poverty, inequality, and social mobility in modern America, and how we can best kick 'em to the curb.

With the help of Common Core-aligned activities, projects, and lessons, you'll be able to

  • explain the origins of the American Dream, poverty, and class.
  • describe inequality, structures of violence, and the underdog story.
  • identify the systemic (political, educational, cultural) challenges to achieving the American Dream in the U.S.
  • understand theories of conflict that help explain poverty and inequality.
  • apply conflict resolution theories and practices to real life situations.
  • compare and contrast Darwin, Marx, and Freud, and how their theories apply to Barbara Ehrenreich’s modern Nickel and Dimed America.
  • dissect the American Dream and reassemble it to see how it applies to us today.

Course Breakdown

*Purchasing by unit includes course material only.

Unit 1. A Tale of Two Americas

This short course digs into the tough topic of poverty and the American Dream. With the help of the book Nickel and Dimed, we'll discover what poverty looks like in America today, how the cycle of poverty gets started, and what we can do about it.


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  • Course Length: 3 weeks
  • Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, College
  • Course Type: Short Course
  • Category:
    • History and Social Science

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