Civics Lessons

Grade Level: Grades 9-12

Jamie Anderson v. Taylor Williams

Case developed for the 2011 Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament
Civil Case-Cyber-stalking

The Bill of Rights: Debating the Amendments

In this lesson, students examine a copy of twelve possible amendments to the United States Constitution as originally sent to the states for their ratification in September of 1789. Students will debate and vote on which of these amendments they would ratify and compare their resulting “Bill of Rights” to the ten amendments ratified by ten states that have since been known by this name.

What Makes A Good Judge?

This lesson focuses on the costs and benefits of various judicial selection methods. Students will list characteristics they think essential or valuable to being a good judge, and then see which system of judicial selection – appointment, merit, or election – obtains the highest quality judges. In discussing each method, students will understand the tradeoffs between accountability and independence in judicial selection.
This lesson was developed to be used on Law Day, but does not need to be limited to Law Day.

Voter Identification and the Right to Vote

Students Research positions that divided the Supreme Court on voter identification case-Crawford vs. Marion County

Brown v Board of Education (1954)

This case summary provides teachers with everything they need to teach about Brown v. Board of Education (1954). It contains background information in the form of summaries and important vocabulary at three different reading levels, as well a review of relevant legal concepts, diagram of how the case moved through the court system, and summary of the decision. This resource also includes nine classroom-ready activities that teach about the case using interactive methods.

People v. Alex Johnson

Case developed for the 2010 Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament
Criminal Case-Murder of high school student

Constitution Day: The 1965 Alabama Literacy Test

Students learn about literacy tests by taking what they think is a pop quiz on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The Road to the Constitutional Convention

This lesson focuses on the various problems under the Articles of Confederation between 1783 and 1786 that led to the call for the 1787 Convention. By examining documents of Congress, the state governments, and prominent American founders—both public and private—students better understand why many Americans agreed that the Articles should be revised and amended.

What Does the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution Mean?

Students compare and contrast the language in preambles to two state constitutions; compare state preambles with the preamble of the U.S. Constitution; draft a new preamble for the U.S. Constitution; and discuss the process of amending the U.S. Constitution

Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

This case summary provides teachers with everything they need to teach about Miranda v. Arizona (1966). It contains background information in the form of summaries and important vocabulary at three different reading levels, as well a review of relevant legal concepts, diagram of how the case moved through the court system, and summary of the decision. This resource also includes ten classroom-ready activities that teach about the case using interactive methods.

Sidney Young vs. Riley Gardner

Case developed for the 2009 Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament
Civil Case-negligence, texting while driving

What is Democracy?

In this lesson, students will identify essential components of a functioning democracy. They will be presented with “borderline” countries – hypothetical nations that exhibit some, but not all, of the characteristics of a democracy. Through discussion and group work, students will expand their understanding of democracy and see different manifestations of democratic practices.

To Amend or Not to Amend, That’s Been the Question…Many Times

This lesson asks students to examine recent proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution, analyze them for public policy triggering mechanisms, and compare and contrast them to amendments that have been ratified.

Who can Vote for Student Council President?

Students review hypothetical scenarios and decide who may vote for student council president. Students review constitutional principles states must follow when deciding who can vote.

McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)

This case summary provides teachers with everything they need to teach about McCulloch v. Maryland (1819). It contains background information in the form of summaries and important vocabulary at three different reading levels, as well a review of relevant legal concepts, diagram of how the case moved through the court system, and summary of the decision. This resource also includes seven classroom-ready activities that teach about the case using interactive methods.

People v. Morgan Phillips

Case developed for the 2008 Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament:Criminal Case-Murder

The Exchange: Should the United States Reduce Immigration?

Through research and deliberation, students are encouraged to look at the issue of immigration reform from different points of view.

What is the Role of the President in the American Constitutional System?

This lesson examines sources of presidential power and ways that checks and balances limit presidential power. Students explain the president’s constitutional responsibilities, identify checks on the president’s power, and defend positions involving the exercise of presidential power.

Appreciating Democracy

This lesson is designed to teach students to appreciate the most basic practices of democracy in the United States: The lesson can be taught in three or four 45-minute class periods. At the heart of the lesson are three easy-to-teach activities (or simulations).

Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)

This case summary provides teachers with everything they need to teach about Gideon v. Wainwright (1963). It contains background information in the form of summaries and important vocabulary at three different reading levels, as well a review of relevant legal concepts, diagram of how the case moved through the court system, and summary of the decision. This resource also includes nine classroom-ready activities that teach about the case using interactive methods.

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