Civics Lessons

Teaching Standard: Values and Principles of American Democracy

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Freedom of Expression

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

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 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.

Voter Identification and the Right to Vote

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

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

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.

Case of the Shipwrecked Sailors

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

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.

Responsibility and the U.S. Constitution

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

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.

Constitution Day Lesson-1st Amendment

The goal of this activity is to introduce 7th grade students to the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution.

The Exchange: Should Students’ Cyber Speech Be Protected Under the First Amendment?

This lesson encourages students to deliberate on the issue of cyber speech and the First Amendment. Through the use of court cases and school policy, students will be able to define student expression rights and then evaluate the necessity and constitutionality of censoring and reprimanding students’ online social networking behavior.

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.

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