Red Light Cameras: To Ban or Not to Ban?

In this lesson, students will consider whether Illinois should pass a law banning all red-light cameras in the state. They will examine opposing constituent views that a legislator might need to consider. They will then learn the arguments supporting and opposing the ban. The culminating activity in the lesson is a simulated legislative hearing on the proposed ban.

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

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.  

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Japanese American Internment

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which gave the military broad powers to ban any citizen from a coastal area stretching from Washington state to California and extending inland into southern Arizona. For the next four years, more than 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry—77,000 of them American citizens—were removed from this area and incarcerated indefinitely without criminal charges or trial. Forty-six years and eight presidents later, on August 10, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 into law.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Gonzalez v. Oregon (2006)

Did the Controlled Substances Act authorize the U.S. attorney general to ban the use of controlled substances for physician-assisted suicide in Oregon? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court answered that question in 2006.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Kennedy v. Louisiana (2008)

Do states violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment by imposing the death sentence for the crime of child rape? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court answered that question in 2008.

  • Resource Type: Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Korematsu and Civil Liberties

This documentary explores the landmark case Korematsu v. U.S. (1944) concerning the constitutionality of presidential executive order 9066 during World War II that gave the U.S. military the power to ban thousands of American citizens of Japanese ancestry from areas considered important to national security. A PDF lesson plan accompanies this video.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Video
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Making Law: A Legislative Simulation

This lesson is designed to give insights into the difficult decisions faced by legislators and to introduce students to one of the ways in which citizens can provide input to the legislative process. The lesson opens with analysis of a political cartoon. Students then take part in a simulated legislative hearing on the proposed constitutional amendment to ban flag burning.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Legislative Branch/Congress
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8