Civics Lessons

The Tired King

Students learn about the three functions of government in this interactive role play.

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.

The Redistricting Game

The Redistricting Game provides a basic introduction to the redistricting system, allows players to explore the ways in which abuses can undermine the system, and provides information about reform initiatives – including a playable version of the Tanner Reform bill to demonstrate the ways that the system might be made more consistent with tenets of good governance. Beyond playing the game, the web site provides a wealth of information about redistricting in every state as well as providing hands-on opportunities for civic engagement and political action.

No Hats in Class

Students learn about the importance of rules and laws; what makes a good law

No Animals at School

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to explore how rules and laws are written and interpreted. Strategies for writing a good rule/law are emphasized and scenarios examined to determine what a rule/law really means.

Does the Constitution Protect Fair Play? Introducing Due Process

In this lesson, students develop a working understanding of due process by discussing relevant Constitutional clauses. They are presented with the Gideon v. Wainwright case and decide whether Clarence Gideon had the right to an attorney, relying on their previous discussion of due process. The lesson ends with a discussion of the importance of the right to due process in criminal proceedings, as well as a discussion of other situations in which the right to due process applies

A Kid’s Guide to Running for President

Students will read about the election process and correctly put the steps in proper sequence. Students will participate in a debate on an issue that relates to their day-to-day school experience.

The Exchange: When Should Increased Security Measures Outweigh Your Privacy Rights in School?

This activity encourages students to deliberate on the issue of balancing privacy and security.

The Exchange: Should Same-Sex Couples Have the Right to Marry

This research and deliberation activity encourages students to look at the issue of same-sex marriage from different points of view.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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