This unit on civics fosters critical thinking skills in students as they engage with topics in government, democracy, and U.S. history, providing comprehensive lesson plans that encourage deep analysis, evaluation, and reflection on the principles and dynamics of civic life.
A growing city needs a new water source. The easiest and cheapest source is a river on federal land in a national park. Should the city be allowed to dam the river and use the water for its citizens? Or, should the valley remain protected for the use and enjoyment of all Americans? In this online program, students assume the role of members of Congress. They hear testimony from both sides, weigh conflicting points of view and make a decision. How will you vote?
This free curriculum guide from the New-York Historical Society examines the evolution of environmental thinking through the lens of the Hudson River, spanning two centuries of industrial development, activism, and artistic imagination. The materials consider civic participation in the environmental movement and how activists sought to raise awareness about environmental issues.
Pathways to Environmental Justice
In this one-hour virtual field trip hosted and led by Edward M. Kennedy Institute education staff, students in grades 4 through 8 learn about the challenges posed by climate change and the need to transition to a more sustainable and resilient economy. They will work together as Senators to build a bill that provides assistance and environmental justice for three distinct groups of people affected by climate change: frontline and vulnerable communities, fossil fuel workers, and young people. Register here.
Today’s Vote in the Classroom
Today’s Vote in the Classroom provides two-day lessons that ask students to take on the role of U.S. Senators, debate issues, and cast their votes on real bills that have been introduced to Congress. Today’s Vote in the Classroom is made up of four key parts. Sequenced instructions, a full lesson-plan download, editable worksheets, and classroom presentations will guide you and your students through the program. Select from among many current, engaging topics, including Climate Change, Minimum Wage, Food Labeling, Voting Rights Restrictions, Mandatory Minimum Sentences, and Electoral College.
Civics in Real Life
Civics in Real Life is a simple-to-use resource that ties in to what’s going on today. On this page, updated regularly through the school year, you will find concise resources that explore a civics concept or idea connected to current events. Simply click on the resource to download the PDF and share with your students!
Earth Day Activities
You will find a suite of activities for families, teens and educators to celebrate Earth Day. Take on a Green Challenge to design a creative solution for an environmental issue, explore examples of climate activism, and learn how legislators consider a climate-ready policy issue.
Civics on Call: Classroom-Ready Lessons on Issues of the Day
Civics on Call provides lessons on current news events. The latest lesson is on Containing the Coronavirus. All the lessons contain a fact-based article on the news event, then pose questions for writing and discussion.
Deliberation Materials: Fracking
Should our state ban or allow hydraulic fracturing (or fracking)? This activity includes a deliberation reading and glossary, as well as accompanying handouts to give students additional information on the topic and to guide them through the deliberation process from planning to reflection.
Map of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
This map of the western part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition was drawn by Samuel Lewis (no relation to Meriwether) using drawings supplied by William Clark.