Civics Lessons

Case of the Shipwrecked Sailors

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

Why Do We Have a House and Senate, Anyway?

Students learn why there are two houses of Congress and discover how a bicameral legislature ensures that states have a voice in bills. Together, the class creates a school cell phone policy and experiments with different voting groups that demonstrate why the bicameral compromise was necessary. Students also examine how things might be different today if there were just a House or a Senate.

Texas v Johnson: Is There a Constitutional Right to Burn the American Flag?

This lesson explores Texas v. Johnson, the 1989 Supreme Court decision on flag burning. First, students read about and discuss Texas v. Johnson. Then in small groups, students role play aides to a U.S. senator on the Judiciary Committee. The committee is considering a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning flag burning, and the aides must make a recommendation on whether the
senator should support or oppose the proposed amendment.

We the Students: Writing a Class Constitution

The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution sets out the purposes or functions of American government as envisioned by the framers. Using the Preamble as a guide, students will identify the purposes of their own classroom and create a class “constitution.”

Cyberbullying

Deliberating in Democracy Lesson which gets students to deliberate whether schools should punish students for off campus cyber bullying

Juvenile Justice

Deliberating in Democracy lesson which gets students to deliberate the question-Should violent juvenile offenders be punished as adults?

What Makes a Court Supreme?

The purpose of this lesson is to help students understand the original purpose and
powers of the Supreme Court according to the Constitution. Students learn the Supreme Court’s role in preserving the U.S. Constitution and the balance of power it creates.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Making Decisions: by Group: The Jury System

Students learn about the nation’s jury system and its importance to the rule of law in the United States. Students will experience the Sixth and Seventh Amendments at work as they engage in the main lesson activities, including one in which they will serve as jurors.

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).

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.

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

Connecting the Separate Powers

In this lesson, students will gain an understanding of the separation of powers using role playing and discussion. Students will identify which parts of the Constitution provide for the branches of our government, and will categorize public officials into one of these three branches.

Rules, Rules, Rules-The Eraser Game

Students reflect on when and why rules are needed and the importance of rules in the classroom or in a community setting.

Voter Identification and the Right to Vote

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

Equal Protection Analysis

Extends students’ understanding of the 14th Amendment, the Constitution, and the history of civil rights in the United States. Students apply knowledge about “equal protection of the laws” to a variety of fact situations and controversies.

Freedom of Expression

Deliberting in Democrcay lesson which gets students to deliberate the question–Should our democracy block Internet content to protect national security?

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