Winner of the 2015 NAGC Curriculum Studies Award

Perspectives of Power explores the nature of power in literature, historical documents, poetry, and art. Lessons include a major focus on rigorous evidence-based discourse through the study of common themes and content-rich, challenging nonfiction and fictional texts. This unit, developed by Vanderbilt University's Programs for Talented Youth and aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), guides students to explore the power of oppression; the power of the past, present, and future; and the power of personal response by engaging in simulations, skits, creative projects, literary analyses, Socratic seminars, and debates.

Texts illuminate content extensions that interest many high-ability students including bystander effect, social class structure, game theory, the use and abuse of technology, cultural conflict, the butterfly effect, women's suffrage, and surrealism as each relates to power. Lessons include close readings with text-dependent questions, choice-based differentiated products, rubrics, formative assessments, and ELA writing tasks that require students to analyze texts for rhetorical features, literary elements, and themes through argument, explanatory, and/or prose-constructed writing.

Ideal for pre-AP and honors courses, the unit features texts from Emily Dickinson, William B. Yeats, and Charles Perrault; art from Moyo Okediji and Salvador Dali; and speeches by Elie Wiesel, Susan B. Anthony, and John F. Kennedy. As a result from the learning in the unit, students will be able to examine powerful influences in their own lives and identify their own power in personal responsibility.

Grades 6-8

chapter |16 pages


part |14 pages


chapter Lesson 1|12 pages

“I like to see it lap the Miles”

The Power of Change/Technology

part |50 pages

Power of Oppression

chapter Lesson 2|7 pages

“The Dutchman”

The Power of Cultural Heritage

chapter Lesson 3|15 pages

“Blue Beard”

Unjust Rules

chapter Lesson 4|11 pages

“On Women's Right to Vote”

The Power of Persuasion

part |36 pages

Power of Past, Present, and Future

chapter Lesson 6|11 pages

“A Sound of Thunder”

The Power of Choice

chapter Lesson 7|10 pages

“The Persistence of Memory”

The Power of Memory

chapter Lesson 8|10 pages

“The Wild Swans at Coole”

The Power of Nostalgia

part |46 pages

Power of Personal Response

chapter Lesson 9|14 pages

“The Pursuit of Disarmament”

The Power of Cooperation Versus Competition

chapter Lesson 10|17 pages

“The Perils of Indifference”

The Power of Response

chapter Lesson 11|10 pages

“We never know how high we are”

The Power of Risk

part |10 pages