Monthly Civics Themes

The Rendell Center has developed monthly themes designed to build basic civic knowledge, promote civic engagement, and provide practice in democratic deliberation. Each month offers an experiential learning opportunity for K-12 students to examine and discuss a new civics topic, with questions and activities designed to help them better understand the concept.

Comparing American and French Revolutionary Documents

This activity engages students in a comparison of the American Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen. Students will focus on analyzing message, purpose, and audience. Students should complete the activity with an understanding that while the ideals underlying the two documents were very similar, the purpose and audience of the two documents differed significantly.

To Sign or Not to Sign

Students will consider the arguments made by members of the Continental Congress regarding whether or not to sign the Declaration of Independence. They will also have the opportunity to analyze each section of the Declaration to understand its meaning and consider the consequences of signing the document.

Declaration Revisited: Declaration of Sentiments Podcast

The Declaration of Independence called George III a tyrant. And in 1848, a group of women’s rights activists mirrored our founding document to accuse men of the same crime. Today in our final revisit to the Declaration of Independence, we explore the Declaration of Sentiments, the document at the heart of the women’s suffrage movement.
Our guest is Laura Free, host of the podcast Amended and professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
This short episode includes a one-page Graphic Organizer for students to take notes on while listening, as well as discussion questions on the back side.

Declaration Revisited: Native Americans Podcast

Today is our second revisit to the document that made us a nation. Writer, activist, and Independent presidential candidate Mark Charles lays out the anti-Native American sentiments within it, the doctrines and proclamations from before 1776 that justified “discovery,” and the Supreme Court decisions that continue to cite them all.
This short episode includes a one-page Graphic Organizer for students to take notes on while listening, as well as discussion questions on the back side.

Founding Documents: Declaration of Independence Podcast

America declared independence on July 2, 1776. But two days later, it adopted this radical, revolutionary, inclusive, exclusive, secessionist, compromising, hypocritical, inspirational document. What does it say? What does it ignore? This episode features many scholars with differing opinions on the Declaration: Danielle Allen, Byron Williams, Cheryl Cook-Kallio, Woody Holton, and Emma Bray.
This short episode includes a one-page Graphic Organizer for students to take notes on while listening, as well as discussion questions on the back side.