PushBack: Engaging in Online Activism Lesson Plan

Level: Grades 7 to 9
Duration: 1½ to 2 hours class time
About the Author: Lauren Middlemiss and Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts. The PushBack Timeline was developed and written by Robert Porter as part of The eQuality Project.

This lesson plan is a joint project of MediaSmarts and The eQuality Project, a project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

This lesson is part of em>USE, UNDERSTAND & CREATE: A Digital Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools.


This lesson explores how young people can use online media for activism on issues that matter to them. Through the discussion and scenarios that are presented, students will develop their knowledge and ability to respond or “push back” against issues they feel passionate about, such as racism, discrimination, sexism – and make a difference. At the end of the lesson students will use The eQuality Project PushBack Timeline to research examples of online youth activism on topics that appeal to them. The end goal of this lesson is to create an understanding of youth activism that can transition into the lives of students outside of the classroom.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Develop a new understanding of how youth can advocate for social change
  • Gain the ability to apply their understanding outside of a classroom setting
  • Identify the characteristics and contexts of online activism
  • Research an online activist campaign

Download the Pushback slideshow.

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.