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April 15, 2021

How Gabby Giffords Is Using Music to Rewire Her Brain After Being Shot

Ask students: Why did Giffords create the organization Giffords? Why did Giffords fist bump President Joe Biden at the White House?


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Gabby Giffords, Music Therapy and Curbing Gun Violence

Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. To read a transcript of the video, click here.

President Joe Biden reached out to, and fist-bumped, former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords at the White House Rose Garden Thursday — a moment to mark a new push to curb gun violence. Giffords was shot in the head in 2011, and has become a fierce gun reform advocate.

Discussion Questions

  • Who is Gabby Giffords?
  • Why did Giffords create the organization Giffords? Why did Giffords fist bump President Joe Biden at the White House?
  • What role might music therapy play in someone’s life who has brain damage? 
  • How does aphasia affect Giffords’ life?
  • Where and when was Giffords shot? 

Focus Questions

  1. How does music therapy help those with conditions like aphasia?
  2. Can you think of a person in your life whose grit and determination brought them joy?

Key Term

  • aphasia: loss of ability to understand or express speech, caused by brain damage. The person can still talk and communicate and understands everything going on but has difficulty speaking the words they are thinking, which can be very frustrating.

Media Literacy: Why do you think Gabby Giffords agreed to do this story with NewsHour? Why is it common practice for journalists not to provide questions ahead of time to their guests? 

Additional Resources

Watch this story Breaking down Biden’s plan to curb ‘blemish’ of gun violence in Americato learn more about the President’s executive actions on Thursday to curb gun violence, which he described as an “epidemic” and an “international embarrassment.” Nearly 20,000 people died of gun violence last year, and another 24,000 died by suicide.

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Extra.

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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