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!

Election 2020: Politics, Covid-19 and the Economy

The state of the economy during the presidential election season has a significant impact on not just the approval rating of the incumbent president at the time, but also has an impact on the policies in which presidential candidates run on. Additionally, the state of the economy also influences who will come out to vote in that year. This year, 2020, it is just one of many factors that may affect voter turnout but the economy may be underestimated. This exercise will encourage students to evaluate how other fluctuations in the economy may affect the ratings, policies, and decisions of the 2020 presidential candidates.

Resources on Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton, Founding Father and Broadway star, clashed with Thomas Jefferson politically and morally. But both figures were essential to the founding of the United States of America. Check out this page for resources on Jefferson, Hamilton, and other main players from the Broadway musical “Hamilton: An American Musical.”

Thomas Jefferson and Slavery

Thomas Jefferson, the man who wrote the famous line “all men are created equal,” was a life-long slave-owner. Over the course of his life, he would own 600 human beings, and at any given time there would be roughly 100 slaves living and working on and around Jefferson’s plantation and farms. This handout describes Thomas Jefferson’s views on slavery.

Grades K-12
Foundations of Democracy
Descriptive Text

Constitution of the United States

The original U.S. Constitution is on permanent display at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Drafted in 1787 after a hard-won victory in the War for Independence, this document codified the spirit of the Revolution into an ingenious practical scheme of government to promote the welfare of all its citizens.

Federal Government
Primary Sources

Teaching Six Big Ideas in the Constitution

This lesson engages students in a study of the Constitution to learn the significance of “Six Big Ideas” contained in it. Students analyze the text of the Constitution in a variety of ways, examine primary sources to identify their relationship to its central ideas, and debate the core constitutional principles as they relate to today’s political issues. (Duration: 45-minute segments, up to 4.5 hours.)

Grades 8, 9-12
Federal Government
Lesson Plans

The Meaning of Labor Day

In this ebook, we consider the origins and traditions of Labor Day, the role of the labor movement in America, and the satisfactions of the working life. Each selection includes a brief introduction by the editors with guiding questions for discussion. Includes short stories, speeches, and other writings from Samuel Gompers, Jack London, Mother Jones, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and more.