Martin’s Big Words

In this lesson, students will experience unequal treatment first hand – some will receive a sticker based on an arbitrary characteristic, like hair color – and by discussing their reactions, they will come to understand the meaning of equality. Students will learn about the life and dream of Dr. Martin Luther King and write about what his dream for equality means in their own lives.

Grades 6-8 Freedom and Equality: American Principles at Odds?

This lesson will use close reading of documentary selections and class discussion to analyze the concepts of “freedom” and “equality” as they have appeared and been tested throughout American history. By the conclusion of this lesson, students should be able to view these ideas as contested concepts that can and often do exist in tension. Students will assess whether or not “equality” comes at the expense of “freedom” and vice versa.

Grades 6, 7, 8
Foundations of Democracy
Lesson Plans

14th Amendment: Battles for Equality

The 14th Amendment wrote the Declaration of Independence’s promise of freedom and equality into the Constitution. It transformed the Constitution forever. And it’s at the heart of what many scholars refer to as America’s “Second Founding.” Even so, the 14th Amendment is the focus of many of the most important constitutional debates (and Supreme Court cases) today. In many ways, the history of the modern Supreme Court is really a history of modern-day battles over the 14th Amendment’s meaning. Nearly every constitutional case that you care about today turns on the 14th Amendment.

Grades 12, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Foundations of Democracy
Media

Title IX

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in educational settings. The law applied to any educational institution that received federal funding. This lesson has students learn about what Title IX does and explore its impact on gender equality today.

Grades 9-12
Federal Government
Interactives

Who Were the Foremothers of the Women’s Suffrage and Equality Movements?

This lesson looks at the women’s suffrage movement that grew out of the failing of the Continental Congress by “remembering the ladies” who are too often overlooked when teaching about the “foremothers” of the movements for suffrage and women’s equality in U.S. history. Grounded in the critical inquiry question “Who’s missing?” and in the interest of bringing more perspectives to whom the suffrage movement included, this resource will help to ensure that students learn about some of the lesser-known activists who, like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony, participated in the formative years of the women’s rights movement.

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) stated, “Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.” This proposed amendment was passed by Congress in 1972 but failed to be ratified by three-fourths of the states. This lesson provides an overview of the proposed amendment, arguments for and against ratification and possible future steps toward ratification. This lesson can be used in a traditional or flipped classroom.

Grades 11, 12, 9, 10
Federal Government
Interactives

The Seneca Falls Convention and the Declaration of Sentiments

The Seneca Falls Convention, held in Seneca Falls, New York, on July 19 to July 20, 1848, was the first women’s rights convention held in the United States. At that convention, the Declaration of Sentiments was written that outlined demands for women’s equality. This lesson uses video clips to have students understand the important people and events that led to the Declaration of Sentiments and then apply the text of the Declaration to today.

Grades 7-12
History
Interactives

Competing Voices of the Civil Rights Movement

When most people think of the Civil Rights Movement in America, they think of Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 and receiving the Nobel Peace Prize the following year. But “the Movement” achieved its greatest results — the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act — due to the competing strategies and agendas of diverse individuals. Even black Americans, the primary beneficiaries of this landmark legislation, did not agree on the tactics that should be used to secure the equal protection of their rights. This unit presents the views of several important black leaders who shaped the debate over how to achieve freedom and equality in a nation that had long denied a portion of the American citizenry the full protection of their rights.

Dialogue on the Fourteenth Amendment

The American Bar Association Dialogue program provides lawyers, judges and teachers with the resources they need to engage students and community members in a discussion of fundamental American legal principles and civic traditions. This Dialogue on the Fourteenth Amendment is composed of three parts:
Part 1: Equal Protection and Civil Rights – Participants discuss the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and consider how Congress, through federal legislation, has worked to help realize its constitutional promise.
Part 2: Incorporating the Bill of Rights examines the concept of incorporation. Using a case study of Gitlow v. New York, this section provides a guide to how courts have applied the Bill of Rights, selectively, to the states using the 14th Amendment.
Part 3: Ensuring Equality and Liberty explores how the 14th Amendment has been interpreted by courts to protect fundamental freedoms, including individuals’ right to marry.