Civics Lessons

The First Amendment: What’s Fair in a Free Country?

Lesson includes several activities to demonstrate to students that freedom of speech continues to evolve.

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.

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.

Voir Dire Simulation

In this lesson, students will role play real lawyers as they carry out a voir dire simulation for jury selection. They will draft lists of favorable characteristics of jurors beforehand to aid in their questioning. Students will think critically about important juror characteristics, and identify factors – such as race, socio-economic status, and age – that may have influenced the voir dire process.

Qualities of Judges

Students brainstorm qualities that judges might possess, then discuss why those qualities are important.

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.

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

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.

Mindwalk: The Law is Everywhere

Students learn the Importance and Reason for Rules and Laws

People in the Courtroom

In this lesson, students analyze a photograph of a trial. They identify the people in the courtroom, learn about the roles that they play in the legal process, and discuss how each is essential to ensuring access to justice.

The Need for Laws: Planet Lawless

This activity will help students understand the need for rules, the rulemaking process, and the role of the student / citizen. Students will be introduced to the relationship between rules and laws and how citizens can establish laws in their communities, much like rules in the classroom, to help them live together.

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.

The First Amendment

This activity creates an awareness of the five rights contained in the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Students will learn about a poll of Americans and their knowledge of the First Amendment. The activity will allow students the opportunity to dissect the First Amendment and determine their opinions on which rights they value most and least.

What is the Judicial Branch?

This lesson exposes students to the judicial branch and the power of judicial review. They read about an actual Supreme Court case, Torcaso v. Watkins, to see how the judicial branch used its power of judicial review to strike down an unconstitutional state law.

The Preamble to the Constitution: How Do You Make a More Perfect Union?

These lessons help your students begin to understand why the Founders felt a need to establish a more perfect Union and how they proposed to accomplish such a weighty task.

Responsibility and the U.S. Constitution

In this lesson, students learn about responsibility and apply the concept to segments of the U.S. Constitution.

The Presidency

Students develop an understanding of the qualities of a leader and begin to see themselves as leaders. Students will learn about and understand who can become president and what his/her duties would be as president.

The President’s Roles and Responsibilities: Communicating with the President

Through several activities, students learn about the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. president and their own duties as citizens of a democracy

The Vote

Students will better understand the concept of the Electoral College by participating in a mock Electoral College vote.

Understanding Contracts

In this lesson, students are asked which of two chocolate bars – one with nuts, one without – they prefer. A single representative is taken from each preference group. These representatives are given the chocolate bar that they prefer less, motivating a contractual trade. One student unknowingly has an empty wrapper, eliciting debate after the trade is completed. The class concludes by discussing possible equitable solutions.

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