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.

Grades 6, 7, 8
Foundations of Democracy
Lesson Plans

Court Shorts: Jury Service, Hands-on Justice

Jury service is an example of hands-on participation in democracy. In a five-minute video, 11 federal judges talk about jury service as an opportunity for citizens to be part of the judicial process that has an impact on daily life. The video, which deals with Constitutional principles and the practicalities of jury service, is part of the Court Shorts video series that includes installments on the rule of law and separation of powers.

Deliberation Materials: Gun Licensing

Should the federal government require licenses for gun owners and purchasers? 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. Deliberation teaches people how to discuss controversial issues by carefully considering multiple perspectives and searching for consensus. In preparation for deliberations, all participants read common, balanced background information on the issue. During the discourse, they offer arguments for each position on a contested public issue, first drawing from the text and then bringing in their own experiences.

Women & the American Story: Growth and Turmoil, 1948-1976

This free curriculum unit from the New-York Historical Society explores the decades following World War II and considers the action that different groups took to advocate for their rights. Materials examine how shifting political and social ideologies impacted women’s lives and the roles women played in the wide array of activist-led movements that formed in the 1960s and 1970s.

Grades 6-12
History
Modules (Teaching Unit)

Women & the American Story: A Nation Divided, 1832-1877

This free curriculum unit from the New-York Historical Society delves into the ways women participated in all aspects of the Civil War and on both sides of the conflict, from the early debate over the expansion of slavery through the end of federal Reconstruction. Materials examine this pivotal moment in American history through the experiences of diverse women and consider how the war and then Reconstruction policies shaped their lives.