Civics Lessons

Lesson Topic: Constitution

The Tired King

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

What Basic Ideas About Government Are included in the Preamble to the Constitution?

This lesson explores some ideas in the Preamble to the Constitution. Students learn that the power to govern belongs to the people who have created the government to protect their rights and promote their welfare.

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.

Connecting the Separate Powers

In this lesson, students will gain an understanding of the separation of powers using role playing and discussion. Students will identify which parts of the Constitution provide for the branches of our government, and will categorize public officials into one of these three branches.

Moot Court : An Appellate Court Simulation People of the State of Michigan v Booker T. Hudson, Jr.

Students learn about the Michigan Supreme Court, developing oral arguments about an actual case examining Fourth Amendment rights related to search and seizure,

Colonial Influences

American colonists had some strong ideas about what they wanted in a government. These ideas surface in colonial documents, and eventually became a part of the founding documents like the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. But where did they come from? This lesson looks at the Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, English Bill of Rights, Cato’s Letters and Common Sense.

What Does the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution Mean?

Students compare and contrast the language in preambles to two state constitutions; compare state preambles with the preamble of the U.S. Constitution; draft a new preamble for the U.S. Constitution; and discuss the process of amending the U.S. Constitution

The Exchange: Can Government Prohibit Citizens from Owning Handguns?

This research and deliberation activity encourages students to look at the issue of gun control from different points of view. Then, through deliberation, they will find political measures to address this issue. In any deliberation activity, compromise and listening will play a key role in finding common ground. This lesson is designed to promote an atmosphere of mutual respect for differing points of view on controversial issues.

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.

Who can Vote for Student Council President?

Students review hypothetical scenarios and decide who may vote for student council president. Students review constitutional principles states must follow when deciding who can vote.

The Bill of Rights: Debating the Amendments

In this lesson, students examine a copy of twelve possible amendments to the United States Constitution as originally sent to the states for their ratification in September of 1789. Students will debate and vote on which of these amendments they would ratify and compare their resulting “Bill of Rights” to the ten amendments ratified by ten states that have since been known by this name.

Orb and Effy Learn About Authority

Grade: K-1
This lesson introduces the study of authority. Children learn when people are exercising authority and when they are exercising power without authority. Children learn how and why authority is useful in society.

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.

What is Democracy?

In this lesson, students will identify essential components of a functioning democracy. They will be presented with “borderline” countries – hypothetical nations that exhibit some, but not all, of the characteristics of a democracy. Through discussion and group work, students will expand their understanding of democracy and see different manifestations of democratic practices.

John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, and Judicial Review—How the Court Became Supreme

In this lesson, students will learn, the role of the Supreme Court in interpreting the Constitution, the significance of Marbury v. Madison, the concept of judicial review and how Marbury v. Madison solidified it, and the relationship between the Supreme Court and laws passed by Congress and state legislatures

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

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.

Voting and the Constitution

Students will learn about the Constitution’s many provisions for voting, including how votes affect the makeup of the government and its branches. The lesson and lesson extensions will have students engage in activities and participate in discussions about how officials are chosen in the three branches of government and how the election process includes the Electoral College.

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.

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.

Get Involved with Civic Education in Michigan!