Summer 2017


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Dr. Maggie Struck

Content Expert

Laura Hofer


This project explores the research question “How can we teach compassion for animals in a culturally responsive manner?” The premise stems from the contrast of the narrow range of values taught in public schools and the growing cultural diversity of our students. Literature in moral development theory, culturally responsive pedagogy, and humane education suggested that the most effective values education invites students to think critically. By providing information, modeling, and supports for ethical decision-making, students develop a greater sense of moral integrity, while simultaneously developing essential academic skills. The result of this project is a unit promoting critical thinking about human relationships to non-human animals and considering how this relationship changes depending on culture and context. Students are invited to share about their family’s and culture’s relationship to animals and consider whether they believe non-human animals warrant our consideration and compassion. The project concludes with the author’s reflections on the process of producing the project artifact, including the limitations and implications. The author examines the project’s relationship to the HSE conceptual framework, including promoting equity, building communities of teachers and learners, constructing knowledge, and practicing thoughtful inquiry and reflection.

Project Type



Character Education, Curriculum, Interdisciplinary Teaching, Multicultural Education, Social Justice

Included in

Education Commons