Civics Lessons

Teaching Strategy: Discussion

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.

How Should We Choose People for Positions of Authority?

This lesson helps students to identify the requirements of a position of authority and the qualifications a person should possess to fill that position. Students learn a set of intellectual tools designed to help them both analyze the duties of the position and to decide if an individual is qualified to serve in that particular position. During the lesson students practice using the intellectual tools.

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 Constitution: Drafting a More Perfect Union

This lesson focuses on the drafting of the United States Constitution during the Federal Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia. Students will analyze an unidentified historical document and draw conclusions about what this document was for, who created it, and why. After the document is identified as George Washington’s annotated copy of the Committee of Style’s draft constitution, students will compare its text to that of an earlier draft by the Committee of Detail to understand the evolution of the final document.

Electing a President

This lesson starts with a political cartoon, then leads into discussion about the Electoral College and electing the U.S. President.

A Visitor from Outer Space

Students learn about the Bill of Rights and the Importance of Rights

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.

The Public Sphere

Public sphere, public agenda, public opinion, public policy… What’s the difference? Students discover the relationships among these concepts and how they influence the issues we all discuss and care about.

Becoming an Informed Voter: Preparing for the General Election

This lesson focuses on a voter’s need to be fully informed prior to casting a vote on Election Day and how to acquire the necessary information. Students learn what a yes or no vote or a decision to abstain means on a ballot. Students learn the definitions of amendment,initiative, and referendum. Students are given the opportunity to think critically and to learn firsthand why voters need to be fully informed about ballot questions.

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.