Coronavirus Challenge

Vermont students are learning from home this spring. We’ve created the Good Citizen Coronavirus Challenge to help! It focuses on history, news literacy and community engagement — all subjects that will help us get through these tough times.

This Challenge is open to all young people in grades K-12. We’ll announce a new one every Wednesday afternoon until the traditional school year ends in June. Good luck!

Go to previous weeks’ activities

Week #8, May 27-June 3

All entries must be submitted by June 3 at high noon!

History

Thanks to Vermont Historical Society museum educator and manager Victoria Hughes for providing this activity.

Clarina Howard Nichols 

Clarina Howard Nichols believed that having the right to vote would help women and their children lead better lives. In 1852, Nichols was the first woman to speak in front of the Vermont Legislature. She advocated for the lawmakers to give women the right to vote on issues related to schools. They didn’t listen.

It took the work of many other suffragists for Vermont women to gain the right to vote in school elections (in 1880) and in all elections (1920). Imagine fighting for decades to change a law you thought was wrong.

Watch “Debates in the People’s House” (2004), including a reenactment of Clarina Howard Nichols’ speech in the Vermont State House. Read more about Clarina Howard Nichols on the Vermont History Explorer website. 

Activity: The Vermont Statehouse is closed now, and the Vermont legislature is meeting virtually during this pandemic. You can watch their sessions online.  

If you could give a speech to legislators at the Statehouse, what would you say? Write a speech or a letter to your legislator about an issue that’s important to you.

Explore more: The Vermont Suffrage Centennial Alliance is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

News Literacy

What is the most important news in your community? That might depend on which media outlet you’re watching, listening to or reading. Different news organizations choose to focus on different stories. They determine which stories to emphasize, and which stories to report on in detail. Their decisions often reflect the medium they use — TV, radio, digital or print.

Activity: Watch, listen to or read stories on a single topic from two or more different media outlets. Pay attention to the topic, as well as the way in which it’s presented. What sources do they cite? What visuals or audio elements do they use to tell the story? Does the story thoroughly explain the issue, or does it skim the surface? In your opinion, which outlet does a better job of telling the story?

Not sure which media outlets to turn to? Here are a few large media outlets that report local news daily. You can also search for your town’s newspaper.

Explore more: Many media outlets allow you to sign up for updates or subscribe to their service. Consider which media outlet you might want to pay attention to regularly.

Community

Since Gov. Scott lifted the stay-at-home order, many people are able to leave their homes to go to work or to do other activities. Some people who are at greater risk from the virus are still staying at home. This includes many elderly people, and those who have health issues that could make them get sicker if they got the virus.

Activity: Do you know someone who is isolating because of their age or health conditions? Now would be a good time to give them a call. Phone or video calls can be a welcome distraction.

Need things to talk about? Start with the weather. Ask about family. Ask about friends. Ask them how they’re spending their time. Tell them how you’re spending your time. 

Explore more: Read this Seven Days article, “For Vermont’s Elders, the Hardest Phase of the Pandemic Is Still to Come.” What are some things you can do to help those who feel isolated? Would they appreciate a bouquet of flowers you picked? A card you made? 

James J. Hasson, 94, flipping through World War II photos at his Cavendish home (Derek Brouwer)
James J. Hasson, 94, flipping through World War II photos at his Cavendish home (Derek Brouwer)

How to Play

Instructions: Submit your entries using the form below by noon on Wednesday to be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift certificate from Phoenix Books. We will draw a winner and recognize outstanding entries during a virtual broadcast or meeting at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays. 

Rules: To be eligible to win the prize, you must be 18 years old or younger, and you must complete the activity during the dates of the weekly challenge. Participants get one entry into the prize drawing for each activity completed, with a maximum of three entries per week. Repeat entries — submitting each activity more than once — is not allowed.

Questions? Email the Challenge Masters at goodcitizen@kidsvt.com.

Want to try an activity from a previous week?

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The Good Citizen Challenge is organized by Burlington-based Seven Days — Vermont’s locally owned, independent newsweekly — and its free monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT, with support from the Vermont Community Foundation and the Evslin Family Foundation.

Vermont Community Foundation
Kids VT
Seven Days

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