National symbols are a wonderful way into discussing a country's culture -- and encouraging pupils to think about their own country's symbols, which we all tend to take for granted. The current debate in the U.S.A. about honouring a woman on a banknote is and excellent and realistic example. This topic is great for classwork in either collège or lycée.
You could start by asking pupils about who or what are on Euro notes or other countries' banknotes. Have some ready to video project as it's amazing how little attention we pay to such everyday objects! Euros use objects and places rather than humans, but can pupils think of other ways we officially honour people? (Your school or street name might well come up here.)
If possible, ask pupils to suggest people to honour, which can lead to a discussion about what qualities should be honoured. If you note suggestions on the board, you will probably be able to point out that there are very few women.
You can then introduce the topic of women featuring on U.S. banknotes from 2020. 4e-3e pupils could research popular candidates from the Women on 20s website and give a 1-2 minute presentation to the class.
Give me five! 4e Unit 5 "Journey to Freedom" focuses on
Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.
Download a sample page here.
In lycée, this topic fits well into a Lieux et formes du pouvoir theme. Groups can research different candidates and give a speech arguing their candidate should be chosen.
Higher level pupils should be able to tackle more of a debate about the Women on 20s campaign. They could be asked to defend either changing or keeping the current faces. Stress that they will be evaluated on their defence of the given position, which will not necessarily tally with their own opinion.
This article from a U.S. government site can provide a good introduction.
> The Face of Money: U.S. Banknotes Get a New Look