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Free expression and your school


by Lori Keekley


Free expression and your school


In this noncontinuous lesson, students will localize the 2016 Gallup survey “Free Expression on Campus: A Survey of U.S. College Students and U.S. Adults.”  Students will use their technical writing skills to craft the directions (teachers and students), questions similar to the Gallup questions, and an email in addition to tabulating and comparing the survey results. Students will then compare their results with the national results, create an infographic and then write a reflection of the process.

Note: You must leave several days between Day 1 and Day 2 for survey results to be returned. Teacher will need to plan accordingly.


  • Students will work on a survey plan that represents their school as a whole.
  • Students will examine their own survey results and compare them to the study.
  • Students will compare their data to the Gallup survey data.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.B Paste the description of the standard in this box. (Example: Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.C Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.D Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.


150 minutes

Materials / resources

Gallup survey questions (photocopied for Day 1)

Computers (if possible)

Tabulation form (photocopied for Day 2)

Butcher paper for results

Infographic rubric (See JEA Curriculum for rubric if needed)

Reflection sheet

Gallup survey information

Lesson step-by-step

Preparation: In addition to the materials/resources listed above, you will need a list of all the classes taught and the hours offered. Also, you will need the enrollment of these courses.

Day 1

Step 1 — Introduction (5 minutes)

For this activity, we will be working to find out the free expression climate of the school. The class will administer a survey to a representative sample of the school population. (For more information on this, see Surveying in the JEA Curriculum.)

Step 2 — Creating the plan and putting technical writing to use (15 minutes)

Teacher should separate the class into groups of three. If possible, each group should have a computer. Students should craft the directions for the students directions, teacher directions and survey questions. Students may want to model their questions after all or some of those in the Gallup survey.

Step 3 — Survey preparation (30 minutes)

Teacher should have students break into groups and work on the following:

Group 1:

Crafting an email to the teaching staff: For this group, students should craft an email to be sent to the teaching staff. Email should include (at minimum) what you are doing (localizing a national survey), purpose for the activity, directions, due dates, etc.

Group 2:

Identifying classes targeted for the survey

Students should look at the classes offered during the same time as the class they are taking. (For example, if you teach this class during first period, then make a list of all the first period classes offered.)

Group 3:

Photocopying and preparing the surveys for the first half of the teachers listed. Count out the amount of surveys for each class and put the teacher’s name on a blank sheet of paper on the top of each survey stack. Ask teachers to return these so you can keep track of who has returned the surveys.

Group 4:

Photocopying and preparing the surveys for the second half of the teachers listed. Count out the amount of surveys for each class and put the teacher’s name on the direction sheet, which should be placed on the top of each survey stack. Ask teachers to return these so you can keep track of who has returned the surveys.

Students could either deliver the packets to the teachers or put them in their mailboxes at the end of the hour.

Day 2  

Step 1— Tabulating (This day could be skipped if the data is collected electronically.) Students will need to tabulate the results. Have small groups in charge of marking the data for specific questions. (See the form titled “Tabulating the Results.”) They should compile and report back to the group when finished. If time allows, have a second group of students verify the results.

Suggestion: have one group in charge of using butcher paper and marking the results after they are verified. Leave room to add the national results as well.

Day 3

Step 1 — Introduction (20 minutes)

Examine your school results. Teacher should ask students if anything surprised them in the results as well as what they assumed might be the results.

Step 2 — Compare/contrast (20 minutes)

Again group the students so each group has at least two of the questions. Have them discuss the school results and then post the national results if applicable. They should lead the class in discussion of class thoughts about the results. Examine how these relate to your school. Teacher or students should read the blurbs included in the Gallup poll to help put this into context.

Students should create an infographic showing what was the same and different with their results.

Step 3 — Reflection (10 minutes)

Please pass out the reflection for the assignment. Students should complete this prior to leaving class. Teacher could use this as an assessment for this project if desired. Teacher could also assess student participation in the project.

* Depending on the class productivity, it may take an additional day to prepare.


Have students write their own conclusions to their data. They could then compare and contrast theirs to the one included in the poll.

Looking at the survey results, how can students then work to further educate and inform students about the First Amendment.

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