Pirates and the Law

In this lesson, discussion of modern day piracy begins with a cartoon depicting a 17th century pirate ship pulling a large 21st century ship through the sea. Then, the instructor can lead a conversation about piracy – What is piracy? Who are pirates? What motivates them? The lesson introduces students to issues involving international law in the context of globalization.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Fame and the Founders

This short video explores the Founders’ understanding of fame. As understood by men like Alexander Hamilton, the pursuit of fame in the 18th century meant the desire to live an honorable life of public service. Professional Daniel Dreisbach presents a clear contrast between the 18th and 21st century’s notion of fame.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Video
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Bill of Rights in the News: Gun Rights in the 21st Century

In the wake of recent tragic shootings, there has been a significant revival of the debate over the Second Amendment and gun control. The debate, in broad generalities, is split between two sides. On one side are gun control advocates who believe that stricter regulation of guns would reduce violence. On the other side are gun rights advocates, who believe that the right to own a gun is fundamental and that more restrictions on gun ownership do not decrease violence.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Congress and the Creation of the Bill of Rights

Students will explore the protections and limitations on authority contained in the Bill of Rights and the process by which the First Congress created it. They will do this by compiling a list of their rights as students, analyzing the Bill of Rights, and studying primary source documents to trace the origin and development of the first ten amendments. Students will then consider how the Bill of Rights might be updated to reflect 21st century circumstances. (Duration: 30–90-minute segments, up to 5 hours.)

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Exploring Federalist Paper 10 in “Translation”

In this lesson, students read a version of Madison’s famous Federalist Paper 10 that has been “translated” into more modern, comprehensive language. Through a series of scaffolded steps, students read, analyze, and draw connections to this complex yet vital text. Finally, students are asked to consider to what extent Madison’s arguments explored in Federalist Paper 10 apply to 21st century America.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Unlocking your Cellphone: Property Rights in the Digital Age

If there’s one gadget nearly impossible to live without in the 21st century, it’s the cellphone. Most of us keep one on us at all times, and a recent survey showed that for a majority of 18-34 year olds giving up their smartphone would be the hardest possession to live without. But is it really YOUR smartphone?

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12