Dolley Madison as a Model for Our Times

This very short video highlights the alternative that Dolley Madison offered to the rowdy, rambunctious, and violent world of politics in her time. Professor Catherine Allgor suggests that Dolley’s preference for civility and empathy; for cooperation over coercion; and for building bridges and not bunkers is a useful model for our times.

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

Constitution Day Across the Country

Various free, downloadable lessons across grades K through 12 to facilitate providing educational programs on Constitution Day. These interactive lessons teach about the development and evolution of the U.S. Constitution. Students are able to express themselves through discussion and debates while engaging in various activities.

  • Resource Type: Audio, Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Taking a Stand

This lesson teaches the importance of being informed, forming opinions, and advocating for those opinions to our country’s political life. Students will understand what it means to take a stand and why it is important for citizens to do so for an important issue.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Rules, Rules, Rules

In this lesson, students are asked to play a game – passing an object, such as an eraser – in which the rules are unclear and keep changing. Students are then asked to actively reflect on when and why rules are important and necessary. The leader might then connect rules of the game to the rule of law, and discuss the importance of law in our communities and in our society.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Why Should We Care? Understanding Rights and Responsibilities as Citizens

Students will identify some of the rights they enjoy as a citizen, and what responsibilities accompany those rights. They will reflect on whether or not they have a responsibility to protect the rights of others as well as their own.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Mediation and the Adversarial Process

Students are first asked to resolve a hypothetical case via the adversary process. Each student is assigned the role of plaintiff, defendant, or judge. The plaintiff and defendant argue their case in turn, and the judge renders a decision. Students are then asked to reflect on the resolution. They are then instructed to resolve the same case via mediation, and to compare the two methods of dispute resolution.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Constitutional Conversations: Civil Dialogue Toolkit

This toolkit is a component of the module Constitutional Conversations: How to Have a Civil Dialogue. Use this toolkit to help facilitate civil, constructive conversations about the Constitution in the classroom. The two other components: a video analysis lesson plan about Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s explanation of how the Court decides cases and an […]

  • Resource Type: Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Media Literacy
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11

Interactive Constitution: Eighth Amendment (High School)

This lesson introduces students to different viewpoints and debates surrounding the 8th Amendment by using the National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution. Students will build understanding of the resources and methods used by justices on the Supreme Court and Constitutional scholars when analyzing and forming opinions about articles, sections, and clauses of the Constitution

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Interactives, Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 12

Interactive Constitution: Eighth Amendment (Middle Level)

This lesson introduces students to different viewpoints and debates surrounding the 8th Amendment by using the National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution. Students will build understanding of the resources and methods used by justices on the Supreme Court and Constitutional scholars when analyzing and forming opinions about articles, sections, and clauses of the Constitution.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Essays, Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 8