Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan: Analyzing stop-and-frisk through personal narratives and infographics

September 27, 2013

Full Lesson


By Katie Gould, NewsHour Teacher Resource Producer and Allison McCartney, Editor for NewsHour Classroom

This Common Core-aligned lesson helps students explore the New York City’s “stop, question and frisk” program through videos, graphics and a news article. An engaging introduction creates a foundation to help students understand infographics and their utility as a cross-curricular tool. Featured in this lesson is an interactive infographic that encourages student-driven discovery and promotes higher level thinking skills.  Video clips enrich the lesson by providing a balance between data analysis and the personal experiences of stop and frisk. Extension activities and related lesson plans are included, and offer educators context and depth to this important topic.


Government and Civics, Social Issues, Math and English Language Arts

Estimated time

One 90 minute class period

Grade level

Middle and High School*

Warm up

Stop and Frisk, Infographics and Sharknados

  1. Ask students what they know about the police procedure “Stop, Question and Frisk” or more commonly called “Stop and Frisk”.  Asking students for the answers to “Who, what, where, when, why and how” is a good place to start.
  2. Watch Stop and Frisk: The High School Senior  (4:17) which comes from Communities United for Police Reform, a community organization dedicated to empowering and educating the local community about police reform.
      * For High School students pass out “Stop and Frisk: An in Depth Introduction” and allow students to read the article and answer the questions in pairs.
  3. Tell students they are going to learn more about Stop and Frisk in a moment, but first you want to teach them about infographics so they can be comfortable using them later in an activity. Hand out Interactive Infographic – All the Stops” worksheet and read the definition of infographics aloud to students. They will use the worksheet again later in the Main Activity step 4.
  4. Show “Intro to Infographics” PowerPoint slides 1 and 2 on infographics to the students and pose to them the question “How do we make regular old data tell a story instead of just putting numbers on a page?”
  5. Explain to them that they are going to use an infographic to learn about a very important topic………..Go to slide 3 – SHARKNADO! Click on image and watch to a short video clip that explains the theory of SHARKNADOS (click on the graphic and the hyper-linked video will pop up)
  6. Move to slide 4 and read the description of the infographic on slide 5.  Then go to slide 5 and look at the SHARKNADO infographic with students and point out its features and what it is telling you.
  7. Explain that good infographics are able to show data but in a visually beautiful way that tells a story and makes the results of the data very clear.

allthe stops

Main Activity

Stop and Frisk Infographic

  1. Explain to students that they are going to study Stop and Frisk in more depth using a powerful infographic, but first are going to get some more background on the police procedure.
  2. Hand out the “Stop and Frisk: Introduction to the Numbers” Washington Post article to students and read aloud the text and the graphs.
  3. Ask students which graph was the easiest to understand and which made the least sense and why? On the board rank the graphics and then have a short classroom discussion about why certain graphs and charts were easier to understand then others. Prompt them to keep the Washington Post article in the back of their mind so they can compare the two ways the data is presented later.
  4. Tell students that they are going to follow the story of Stop and Frisk through the eyes of Brooklyn Community Arts & Media High School (BCAM) students and as well as through an interactive infographic called “All the Stops”. Students will watch a video clip and then explore one section of the infographic at a time, watch the next video and so on.  You may allow students to complete on their own if there are an adequate number of computers for either individuals or groups.  If you do not have computers for the class simply look at the infographic and video clips together on the board.  Here is the order:
    1. Direct students to the infographic  All the Stops and let them complete the questions about the Introduction
    2. Play Clip 1 from the BCAM documentary about Stop and Frisk.
    3. Direct students to section 2 of the infographic – The Suspected – and have them answer the questions for that section.
    4. Play Clip 2 from the BCAM documentary about Stop and Frisk.
    5. Direct students to section 3 of the infographic – The Stops – and have them answer the questions for that section.
    6. Play Clip 3 from the BCAM documentary about Stop and Frisk.
    7. Direct students to section 4 of the infographic – The Outcome – and have them answer the questions for that section.
    8. Play Clip 4 from the BCAM documentary about Stop and Frisk.
  5. Once students have seen the last clip direct them to Part 2 – Writing the story and have them complete the following task (instructions are on their paper too):
    1. Circle any answer you interpreted from the infographic that you felt really stood out and told a powerful fact about the data.
    2. Write a thoughtful response explaining the story of the infographic – the most important facts you learned from it- and make sure to include answers  to the questions below:
      • Look over all the questions that you circled- when you look at them together as facts in a story what do they tell you?
      • Is there a story here? Do you see injustice?
      • Do you see one group of people being singled out?  What does the data tell you when you look at the most important facts together?
      • Was the infographic easier to understand than the Washington Post article?
  6. As a class debrief around the following questions:
    • How can and infographic be helpful in telling the story of data?
    • What conclusions can you draw about the procedure “Stop and Frisk” and which pieces of data provide the evidence to back up your claims?
    • What should be done about “Stop and Frisk?”

Extension Activities and Related Lesson Plans

1. Lessons and activities created by teacher/artist Jessica Valoris of Brooklyn Community Arts & Media High School and selected for their depth and enrichment on the history and personal reflection of race.

2. Lesson plan on community organizer Van Jones from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights’ education curriculum Speak Truth To Power

Special thanks to the students of Brooklyn Community Arts & Media High School and teacher Adam Mendola for allowing NewsHour Extra to use their video on Stop and Frisk.

Additional thanks to Thai Da Silva for video editing on this project.