Who’s an Essential Worker?

Who’s an essential worker? Who decides?

This curriculum guide uses design and art as tools for research and investigation.You can use these lessons to explore how essential workers are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, who benefits from their work, and how they can have more of a say over their working conditions.

This curriculum is designed for educators and students engaged in distance learning. Each lesson can be easily adapted for different levels of access to technology. You can use these activities individually, or as a series.

These activities have been designed with high schoolers in mind, but many of these activities can be adapted for younger students.

You can download this curriculum for free by filling out this short survey here.

Funding Support

This project was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Diana Ayala.

This project is also funded in part by YES, a program coordinated and planned by ExpandED Schools and Beam Center, and supported by Hive NYC.

Special Thanks

Grace Beniquez, Berena Cabarcas, Alexandra Scholes, Alhassan Susso


  • CUP
  • Teaching Artist
  • Kevin Cadena
  • Project Lead
  • Fielding Hong
  • Project Support
  • Leigh Taylor