Civics Lessons

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).

Case of the Shipwrecked Sailors

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Juvenile Justice

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

Cyberbullying

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

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.”

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.

Equal Justice Under Law

In this lesson, students explore the cause-and-effect relationships
between historical events and the development of constitutional
principles that protect the rights of all people in America today. In its first constitutional challenge to the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the U.S. Supreme
Court decided to hear a case brought by a Chinese immigrant, not an American citizen.

Electing a President

This lesson starts with a political cartoon, then leads into discussion about the Electoral College and electing the U.S. President.

Becoming an Informed Voter: Preparing for the General Election

This lesson focuses on a voter’s need to be fully informed prior to casting a vote on Election Day and how to acquire the necessary information. Students learn what a yes or no vote or a decision to abstain means on a ballot. Students learn the definitions of amendment,initiative, and referendum. Students are given the opportunity to think critically and to learn firsthand why voters need to be fully informed about ballot questions.

Appellate Courts: Let’s Take It Up

Students learn what happens in appellate-level courts and how those courts operate differently from the trial courts most people are familiar with from watching television. By following the case of a real middle school girl who was strip searched at school, students find out what happens when someone takes a case all the way to the Supreme Court. Through this case, students learn about the structure of the federal court system and the way appellate courts decide cases.

The U.S. Constitution: Continuity and Change in the Governing of the United States

This unit examines continuity and change in the governing of the United States. Lessons one and two are focused on a study of the Constitution and Bill of Rights and provide access to primary source documents from the Library of Congress. Lesson three investigates important issues which confronted the first Congress and has students examine current congressional debate over similar issues. Lesson four features broadsides from the Continental Congress

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.

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.

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.

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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