Virtual Vote

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?

Grades 7-12
Legislative Branch/Congress
Games

Hudson Rising

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.

Grades 6-12
History
Modules (Teaching Unit)

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.

Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Legislative Branch/Congress
Interactives

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.

Grades 7-12
Legislative Branch/Congress
Interactives

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!

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.  

Grades 6-12
Citizenship
Lesson Plans

From Provocative to Productive: Teaching Controversial Topics

Get first steps for creating a respectful yet vibrant environment for students to explore diverse ideas on controversial topics, from politics to profanity, religion to racism. Four guidelines and a debate leader checklist provide a foundation for those seeking to steer productive conversations about controversial subjects.