Civics Lessons

Grade Level: Grades 9-12

Brooks v. Lawrence and the Clearwater Police Department

Case developed for the 2007 Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament
Civil Case-unnecessary force

2nd Amendment and the Courts

After reading and discussion of federal gun policies and proposals, their pros and cons, and the Second Amendment, students debate the merits of different gun policies.

What Makes Lawmakers Tick?

This is the final lesson of three lessons on the Fundamentals of Representative Democracy.
This lesson is designed to give students a better idea of what makes members of Congress and state legislators tick. What motivates them, why do they run, what attributes and skills do they possess, and what is the nature of their jobs? This lesson relies upon a lawmaker being invited and coming to class to answer student questions about legislative life.

Case of the Shipwrecked Sailors

Sudents review a case study which helps them distinguish between legal and ethical questions

Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988)

This case summary provides teachers with everything they need to teach about Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988). 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.

US v. Jamie Becker and Kim Hanks

Case developed for the 2006 Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament
Criminal Case-counterfeiting

We the People

Students recognize the different parts of the U.S. Constitution and conduct a close text reading to discover the meaning and significance of each part. Throughout the lesson, students will track the development of the Constitution from the original document and its articles to the amendments up through the 1992 edition of the Twenty-Seventh Amendment.

Tinker v. Des Moines (1969)

This case summary provides teachers with everything they need to teach about Tinker v. Des Moines (1969). 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.

Texas v. Johnson (1989)

This case summary provides teachers with everything they need to teach about Texas v. Johnson (1989). 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 six classroom-ready activities that teach about the case using interactive methods.

Participating in the Jury System

Students participate in activities and discussions about the relationship of a democratic society to its legal institutions, and the issues of fairness and equality under the law and legal system. They learn how constitutional amendments such as the Fourteenth Amendment influence lawsuits, and they will apply concepts within the Bill of Rights to jury trials. Students conduct research to compare the U.S. jury trial system to trial systems in other countries.

The Constitution in Today’s America

This lesson teaches students about the development and role of the Constitution of the United States. Students will learn about the relationship between the Constitution and a democratic government

New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985)

This case summary provides teachers with everything they need to teach about New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985). 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.

Investigating the Departments of the Executive Branch

In this lesson, students learn about the role of bureaucracy in U.S. government; they then examine the history, leadership, organization, and goals of executive agencies.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: A Lesson on the Declaration of Independence

Students will understand the meaning and central ideas of the Declaration of Independence; cite textual evidence to analyze this primary source; and analyze the structure of the document.

The Jury System

In this lesson, students identify pros and cons of jury trials and judge-only trials, plus develop and respond to questions that might help to ensure the selection of a fair and unbiased jury.

Korematsu v. United States (1944)

This case summary provides teachers with everything they need to teach about Korematsu v. United States (1944). 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.

The Verdict of History

Features seven of the 20 most significant opinions of the first two centuries of the Michigan Supreme Court. from racial segregation in schools to eugenics laws to whether being a member of a nudist colony constitutes indecent exposure, The Verdict of History lesson plans teach student to think critically, develop their decision-making skills, and understand how the judicial system applies to their own lives.

Mable vs. Clearwater Sheep and Cattle Company

Case developed for the 2005 Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament
Civil Case-Liabilty, water pollution

Teaching about Due Process

This lesson presents the idea of Due Process. Students learn about Due Process with a scenario that sets out a number of issues that have to do with the due process of law.

Judiciary Act of 1789

The purpose of this lesson is to teach students about the significance of the Judiciary Act of 1789 in establishing a federal judiciary, and the power of judicial review as outlined by the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Case, Marbury v. Madison (1803). By the conclusion of this lesson, students will understand the key provisions of the Judiciary Act of 1789 and the structure of the federal judiciary, as well as the power of judicial review.

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