The Constitution in Action: Who Shapes Foreign Policy?

History is the chronicle of choices made by actors/agents/protagonists in specific contexts. This simulation places students in the Early Republic and asks them to engage with a fundamental question of Constitutional interpretation faced at that time: Who controls foreign policy, Congress or the President? Students will explore this sweeping question with respect to Washington’s Neutrality Proclamation of 1793 and Jay’s Treaty.

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

The Vietnam War Lesson Guide

Explore classroom lesson plans related to Ken Burns’s and Lynn Novick’s 10-part, 18-hour documentary series, The Vietnam War, which tells the story of one of the most consequential, divisive and controversial events in American history. The series explores the human dimensions of the war through the testimony of nearly 80 witnesses from all sides.

  • Resource Type: Audio, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Oral Histories, Photography, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Free Trade: Should our democracy participate in free trade agreements?

This lesson provides students with background information and arguments for and against participating in free trade agreements. Students are encouraged to deliberate the issue and come to their own conclusions based on evidence and reason.

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

Environment: Should our democracy permit the cultivation of genetically modified foods?

This lesson provides students with background information and arguments for and against the cultivating of genetically modified foods. Students are encouraged to deliberate the issue and come to their own conclusions based on evidence and reason.

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

Migration: In our democracy, should legal foreign workers have the same labor rights as citizens?

This lesson provides students with background information and arguments for and against providing legal foreign workers with the same labor rights as citizens. Students are encouraged to deliberate the issue and come to their own conclusions based on evidence and reason.

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

Everybody Eats

CRFC’s Primary VOICE program is a collection of lessons and tools that help second- and third-grade teachers connect civic learning with the essential skills of reading, writing, and speaking and is funded by the Polk Bros. This activity on Foreign Affairs helps students identify and describe foods they eat from other countries.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4

The Iran Nuclear Deal and Its Critics

In 2015, President Barack Obama’s administration struck an agreement with the government of Iran and other countries intended to limit Iran’s ability to build nuclear weapons. In May 2018, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the agreement known as the “nuclear deal” with Iran. All the nations that signed the deal, however, advised Trump not to withdraw. What will be the consequences of the U.S. withdrawal?

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Executive Branch/Presidency
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

What Should the U.S. Do About North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons?

The United States and North Korea are involved in escalating tensions related to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The U.S. opposes North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons. The Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, however, believes he needs nuculear weapons to remain in power. While war with North Korea is probably not imminent, the prospect has caused alarm. A nuclear war between the U.S. and North Korea would have devastating consequences.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Executive Branch/Presidency
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

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.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12