Civics Lessons

Grade Level: Grades 9-12

Judiciary Act of 1789

The purpose of this lesson is to teach students about the significance of the Judiciary Act of 1789 in establishing a federal judiciary, and the power of judicial review as outlined by the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Case, Marbury v. Madison (1803). By the conclusion of this lesson, students will understand the key provisions of the Judiciary Act of 1789 and the structure of the federal judiciary, as well as the power of judicial review.

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.

People v. Chris Biggs

Case developed for the 2004 Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament
Criminal Case-Was Chuck’s death the result of illegal hazing or was it the result of Chuck’s under-age drinking?

Responsibility and the U.S. Constitution

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

Juvenile Justice

Deliberating in Democracy lesson which gets students to deliberate the question-Should violent juvenile offenders be punished as adults?

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.

In the Matter of Shelby Withers vs. Clearwater School District

Case developed for the 2003 Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament
Civil Case-student whose disability may have manifested itself in the form of behavior that is arguably dangerous to others

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.


Deliberating in Democracy Lesson which gets students to deliberate whether schools should punish students for off campus cyber bullying

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.