Middle School Unit on Conflict Ends With Rap Battles
The eighth-graders at GEMS World Academy Chicago recently explored the notion of conflict within the context of the drafting of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, an inquiry that culminated in a classroom rap battle.
As part of the unit, the students convened their own Constitutional Congress in an attempt to create a constitution for the Middle School. This exercise showed students the roles that disagreement, conflict and debate play when trying to draft a document that will govern a large group of people.
Students also researched specific individuals involved in the drafting of the Constitution, paying particular attention to the conflicts that arose between them. Using that research as a guide, students composed rhymes that revealed the differences between two historical figures. The students then performed these as “rap battles,” not unlike sequences from the popular musical Hamilton.
The unit was a good example of the transdisciplinary approach at GEMS. The study of history was a key component of it, but students also explored the power of words and how literary devices like rhyme, alliteration and repetition can be used to convey an argument.
See pictures and a video of the students’ rap battles below.