Monday, June 8, 2015


In Depth Viral Challeneges Project

Ice Bucket Challenge Photographer: Kim Quintano cc-by-2.0 
This assignment can be done entirely in your classroom, but I really feel students do better if you let them have an assignment that transfers to the real world. For me, I'd consider Steps 1-5 practice, but the big event is the Homework / Project!

The ice bucket challenge, Angry Legs, Kylie Jenner Challenge. How do things go viral online and what can we do about it?

Here's a quick lesson students are sure to love that will help them work in groups, research, read, write, and present information to the class.

Step 1: Get together a bunch of "viral" challenges or just concepts which went viral (Harlem Shake for example). This really works best if the students select their own, but I'd suggest you have some for backup. Then start class. Ask them what the word viral means. Have them start brainstorming viral challenges. Have they done any of these? Do they know people who have? What do they think of most of them. At this point students may sign up for their own challenge. Note: They do not need to do the challenge to sign up. They can pick a challenge they disagree with and discuss why.

Example: I want to write about #AngryLegs where people take leg selfies.

Step 2: Have students select a concept and look  up exactly what it is. Not just, "People dance" but what exactly it is. How long should it be. Do they need to mention anything? Does it have a set hashtag? Once they know the basics move on to step 3.

Example:  If you read my earlier blog post about hemlines in education After a girl in Algeria was told her skirt was too short she created a Facebook page that encouraged people to take #LegSelfies where they could show off their bare legs to prove she wasn't the only one angry about this situation.  

Step 3: What were the results of the challenge? ALS earned record amounts of money once the ice bucket challenge went viral. The Kylie Jenner challenge resulted in some teenagers going to the hospital.

Example: As of this point the school had stood by the fact that she was not dressed appropriately. No changes or statements other than the standard have been made. However, at least her story has been heard.

Step 4: Do they agree or disagree with the challenge? Should other people do it? Why or why not?

Example: If the people participate in this challenge because they feel that anyone should be able to show their calves without recourse, then great! However, if people are taking part only because they want to have a sexy picture of their legs, they should probably pass.

Step 5: Combine all of the information that you have on your challenge and create something to show the class. This can be a news report, a commercial, a warning, or anything you feel best shows what you collected.

Now for the fun part! :) :) :)

 Think of a problem that bothers you: pollution, bullying, fake sugar in soda: anything goes! In your group create a challenge that you feel could help this problem. Consider a specific task that would suit itself to being recorded or photographed. You can also create a hashtag. If you have the technological means consider creating accounts on This is a site where every day has a challenge to help people change the world! Submit your challenge and see if it spreads!

How great would it be if your students could not only learn a bit more about the viral sensations they've seen, but also create something that makes the world a better place!

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