Civics Lessons

Teaching Strategy: Simulation

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).

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.

Constitution Day Lesson-6th Amendment

The goal of this activity is to introduce 6th grade students to the 6th Amendment of the US Constitution (guarantee of an impartial jury for criminal defendants). The materials illustrate how the American juror selection process differs from the jury selection process used in ancient times during the Roman Republic.

Constitution Day Lesson 14th Amendment

The goal of this activity is to introduce 8th grade students to the Fourteenth Amendment of the U. S. Constitution (equal protection under the law).

The American Jury: A Voir Dire Simulation

Students participate in a simulation of the jury selection process

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.

The Vote

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

Matching Game with the U.S. Constitution

By the end of this lesson, students will understand what the Constitution is and
what it does for them; recognize key images related to the
Constitution and its history.

This is Our Town Too: The Jury Process

In this lesson students learn about the process of voir dire and the use of peremptory challenges. Through the study of three actual Supreme Court cases, students gain background information for a classroom lesson.

Teaching How Citizens Influence Public Policy

Target Grades: 4-6
In this lesson, students use a school policy to define policy, understand that policies change, and recognize what and who influences policy making and changes.

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