The Purposes of Government

This lesson has students learn about the purposes of government specified in the preamble of the Constitution. Students will use C-SPAN video clips to define what is meant by “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty.” As practice, students will apply their knowledge of these purposes by viewing real-life examples of government actions and identifying the relevant purpose of government. This lesson works well in classrooms with one-to-one devices and can be adapted to flipped classrooms.

Grades 7-12
Federal Government
Media

Civics 360

Civics 360 is a comprehensive guide to middle school civics. Civics is all around us. Being informed about civics takes work. There is a lot to know about the government and how “We the People” interact with the government and each other. Use the resources in the modules to enhance your civic knowledge and skills.

Grades 5, 6, 7, 8, 10
Citizenship
Assessments

Government Speech Under the First Amendment

This lesson teaches students, through a simulation related to government-sponsored Confederate monuments, about the government-speech doctrine under the First Amendment. In particular, this lesson aims to (1) introduce students to the issue of government speech; (2) teach the doctrine; (3) apply the doctrine in a contemporary context; and (4) critically analyze the doctrine.

Ideals of Democracy

The first lesson in our AP Government and Politics course focuses on the philosophical ideals that have shaped the US government. Teachers can use this lesson as a supplemental resource, helping students digest difficult philosophical texts and gain a better understanding of the democratic ideals at the heart of the US government.

Constitution: Analyze – Explore – Music

Students will engage in a study of the Constitution to learn about the nature and structure of the United States. The Constitution will be analyzed and discussed as a primary source to understand the form of government and principles of the U.S. This lesson provides students an opportunity to explore how the government works and what the Constitution means to them today. Students will create a song to demonstrate understanding of the Constitution and nature of the U.S. government. Constituting America has a song contest teachers may want to integrate with this lesson plan.

Grades 7-12
Foundations of Democracy
Lesson Plans

60-Second Civics Podcasts

60-Second Civics is a podcast that provides a quick and convenient way for listeners to learn about our nation’s government, the Constitution, and our history. The podcast explores themes related to civics and government, the constitutional issues behind the headlines, and the people and ideas that formed our nation’s history and government. The show’s content is primarily derived from the Center for Civic Education’s education for democracy curricula, including We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, Foundations of Democracy, and Elements of Democracy. It’s easy to subscribe! Listen on iTunes or Stitcher or subscribe via RSS.

Grades 9-12
Foundations of Democracy
Audio

Birth of American Democracy: Discourse, Debate and Compromise

In this exploration of American democracy students will follow the path to representative government by analyzing the tradition of discourse, debate, and compromise from Jamestown to Williamsburg and Philadelphia and finally to Washington. Students will determine the importance of debate and compromise for the development of a government by and for the people and also identify strategies for making their voices heard in government today.

Grades 7-12
Foundations of Democracy
Lesson Plans

Engaging Congress Game

Engaging Congress is a fun, interactive game that uses primary source documents to explore the basic principles of representative government and the challenges they face in contemporary society.

Grades 9-12
Legislative Branch/Congress
Games