Perspective Lenses

A simple lense teachers can add to any lesson to explore with students relationships, stories, and the perspectives that shape them.

Photo of Hadiyah Shabazz

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12/1/16 update:

Pitch overview video: 

Perspective Lenses Sample Worksheet:

Perspective Lenses Example Responses:


11.17.16 update:


Current iteration of idea
Students work in pairs, studying the relationship between the virus and host. Students then choose a method to showcase the relationship from the perspective of the virus and host e.g. debate, interview, comic books w/ hero being virus and one w/ hero being host, directing a short film, poster, etc. Maybe it is a template that could be incorporated into any subject/lesson to help students further develop skills in perspective using other relationships from math, art, science, etc. e.g. prey and predator, environment and animal, measurements and products, etc. 

First iteration of idea
This idea is about asking students to question given perspectives about the relationship between virus and host exercising empathy as they choose a perspective from the side of the virus based on research and critical thought to tell the science and historical story of the virus + host relationship from the virus perspective.

Value Prop/Pitch

Perspective, being able to understand things from different viewpoints is an important and necessary skill. Why not simply add a structure to any lesson to allow teachers to engage students in working together to explore perspective. The main example, students in partners examine the relationship of the virus and host by having students explore from the perspective of the virus and host. This idea has students collaborating, thinking critical, making, using curiosity, problem-solving, and building arguments about the same topic from different perspectives (outside of the 'for and against'/ 'bad vs good' standard models of perspective teachings). 

How’d I get this idea off the ground? What are the next steps?

Example to demonstrate idea, relationship between virus and host

a. Identify relationship within subjects
b. Group students by groups of 2 or more
c. Randomly assign or have children choose (out of hat) virus or host
d. Have students research together and choose a method to present relationship from both virus and host perspective e.g debate, conversation, same plot told from one perspective then the other, etc.
e. Ask students to highlight the similarities and differences between both perspective
f. Have students question the perspectives they have previously identified (fan fiction their own project, so to speak) ask students to consider within the relationship if there are other perspectives that could be identified e.g. virus living, virus being the smart one, virus is attacking, virus is trying to help, virus is an alien seeking help or world domination, etc.
g. To go deeper, have students try to convince each other through crafting compelling argument

ALL while using science, history, context to provide the evidence and support for the two perspectives

Then, present and reflect

11.14.16 update: Build Phase- Currently working on this project and would very much appreciate input. Please review and feel free to share feedback in the build phase doc below or in the comment section. 

Sketch of what the biography could look like.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Fallon Plunkett

I love this idea as a concept/metaphor; it can have so many uses! I was able to prototype this ideas with a an awesome group of people on Friday night. We had a lot of conversation about what is the concept behind the virus-host relationship, how can we make this apply to all disciplines and what is the purpose behind telling a story. We ended up creating a "talk show" style skit that allowed a virus and a host to meet and discuss their differences, but this also could have been done with a representative from Palestine and Israel or a Trump and Clinton supporter. We kept coming back to empathy and relationships. How do we get two groups, who seem to be at odds, to empathize with the other side. 

Photo of Hadiyah Shabazz

Thank you for sharing! That is why I love this idea too, there are so many ways you can take it. We feel it can apply to any subject because it seeks to understand separately relationships, perspectives and the stories we tell. Possibly helping students recognize that the stories and perspectives we use to learn are not the only ways to understand/frame the various relationships that make up every subject and even the world we live in.

I love that you all came up with the “talk show” skit, how fun! And it also shows the possibilities for showing/experiencing perspective lenses with a strong 'maker' emphasis. I am very interested in learning more about how involved you all think it would be to incorporate this project into various lessons?
Exploring empathy while focusing on perspectives and relationships is an interesting bonus this idea offers.

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