How to teach kids about the war in Ukraine

Sports and sports metaphors can be a useful way to help students understand the Ukrainian conflict, according to two teachers.

The war in Ukraine has now been raging for more than a month. For many people, the scenes of death, destruction and families torn apart amid a mass exodus of refugees can be difficult to watch.

As simple as it is to determine who is to blame for the hostile invasion, the topic can be more challenging to explain to children. A new article in Education Week tries to break down complicated concepts so kids can understand them.

“Really listening to what kids’ questions are, responding to them, not giving them more than what they are asking (for), and then stopping, you know, when it’s too much for them,” — Anne-lise Halvorsen, Michigan State University


Listen: Ways to break down the subject of war to kids and young students.

 


Guests

Anne-lise Halvorsen is an associate professor of teacher education specializing in social studies at Michigan State University. Halverson says it’s important to directly engage children on what is going on in Ukraine, and regarding difficult political topics in general.

“Really listening to what kids’ questions are, responding to them, not giving them more than what they are asking (for), and then stopping, you know, when it’s too much for them,” says Halvorsen.

Jacinda Bowman is a science and social studies teacher at the James and Grace Lee Boggs School. Bowman says young students are interested in the wider world of politics when they see themselves in it.

“In middle school,” says Bowman, “students are really trying to find out who they are and what their greater role is in the world.”

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Author

  • Sam Corey is a producer for Detroit Today on 101.9 WDET, which includes finding and preparing interesting stories for radio. He enjoys salsa dancing — and actual salsa.