Student-Run Club Teaches Young Students Education On Diverse Topics


Student-run Cultivate Thinking club teaches 5th-grade students diverse lessons otherwise not taught in school.

The Campolindo student-run Cultivate Thinking Club has a mission to teach elementary school students education around topics generally not taught in schools, such as equity, racism, gender inequality, ethnicity, nationality, and much more. Students in the club research these different topics and work to put together engaging slide-show presentations complete with Kahoot! games, videos, and activities that will be presented in 5th grade elementary classrooms throughout the Moraga school district.

Usually meeting every other Friday during lunch in C11, this club empowers young students to speak up and think about how they can be the positive change towards an equal future for all. The 1st lesson taught to students is familiarizing race, ethnicity, and nationality. In this lesson students are introduced to the vocabulary to use and how to talk about difficult topics.

Founder junior Mira Shah said, “[This lesson] helps the students kind of understand their own identity a little bit better, because you often don’t hear about your own race unless you’re a person of color and you talk about it in your household. It’s nice to really understand the difference between race, ethnicity and nationality and to have conversations about it with your peers.”

Shah noted how 5th graders are a great age group to be introduced to these lessons because they aren’t resistant to talking about difficult topics. “They’re really excited to talk about things which I think makes it easier…In the Campo equity lessons, you often see a lot of people hesitant to talk about things. But, what’s so nice with these younger kids is they’re just so open,” said Shah.

Shah is optimistic that the club will have even more of an impact than it had last year. “Last year, I was so focused on the logistics of getting everything started…but now we have a lot of support from the [Moraga] school district and we have a lot of people in the club,” said Shah.

Having gotten approval from the school district to teach these lessons, Shah said the club can “go full speed ahead and do more topics that we want to teach and just get a lot more done and have a lot more impact.”

In addition to this, Cultivate Thinking Club hopes to start teaching more topics beyond racial equity, the main focus of last year and the lesson approved by the school board thus far. “There’s a lot of other important topics to talk about that I also want to include,” said Shah.

Being in-person has been a positive shift for the club, allowing members to collaborate and get to know one another better. Shah said, “It’s really cool to see people working together because the club has a variety of grades.”

While the actual teaching to the young community remains on Zoom and pre-recorded videos, club members are able to instruct lessons together, usually in Academy time. Shah said, “It’s really enjoyable to teach…with your peers and with people you don’t know. It’s really fun to get to watch that and to watch the members who were in the club last year coach newer members.”
Junior Lauren Koob, 1 of the club’s lesson coordinators, said, “Last year was really hard to make connections and get stuff done. In-person and being with everyone feels like you can get the lessons made a lot more efficiently and the point gets across more.”

Freshman Sofia Ahrens, who joined the club this year, said, “I’m looking forward to the 1st lesson that I’m teaching and I’m looking forward to just teaching the kids.”

Koob reflected on why she decided to join the club the past year: “I remember when [Mira Shah] was coming up with the idea and [the club] wasn’t really a thing yet. It just sounded really interesting and important…with everything that was going on, and…it seemed like an outlet that everyone really needed.”

Similar to Shah, Koob added, “Hopefully we can expand it more because last year we were pretty limited. I feel like we’re going to reach a lot more people now that you can help advertise around the campus.”