No Vehicles in the Park

In this lesson, students will apply a general law – “no vehicles in the park” – to specific circumstances in considering the language of the law and its intended objective. The task will require that they interpret the law to allow for certain circumstances – an ambulance carrying a dying patient, for example. The lesson ends with students rewriting the law to more clearly reflect the intent of the lawmakers.

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

Environmental Laws Timeline Activity

Students will have to select 25 environmental laws in American history from a much larger list. Their goal is to produce their own timeline of American environmental law history to present to the rest of the class. In doing so, they will develop critical thinking and analytic skills and articulate the importance of the Rule of Law to protecting the environment.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Actions That Changed the Law

In 1998, when Lilly Ledbetter filed her complaint of wage discrimination against the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, her goal was to get equal pay for equal work because that was the law. She had no idea that her decision would eventually involve all three branches of government and result in a law with her name on it – the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 10, 11, 12

Foundations of Democracy

This collection gives teachers access to foundational principles of democracies including rule of law, limited government and checks and balances. It can be used to build background knowledge to analyze the health of our democracy over time and in today’s environment.

Essential Questions include:

  • What systems attempt to limit government power?
  • Where does the government gain its authority in a democracy?
  • What is the rule of law and how does it play out in democracies?
  • What are ways of measuring the health of a democracy?
  • What recourses are in place to ensure the health of democracy?
  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12

Music Distribution and Copyright

This guided discussion will help students understand copyright law, especially its relevance in this technology-based era. It begins by probing students’ experiences with online media, and eliciting their understanding of copyright. The formal definition can then be presented. A hypothetical copyright conflict between the Jims Brothers and the FrontStreet Boys will illustrate the complexity of copyright law in this technological era.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Moments in History: Remembering Thurgood Marshall

Few people know the legal mind of justices or judges as well as the law clerks who have worked with them. Justice Thurgood Marshall’s former law clerks offer unique insights into the character, values, and thought processes of the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.  In this 8.5-minute video called “Moments in History:  Remembering Thurgood Marshall,” prominent lawyers reminisce about the examples of compassion and courage they saw in the life and work of this legal legend.  

  • Resource Type: Video
  • Subject:
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Equal Protection Under Law

In this lesson, students will analyze the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection clause. They will distinguish between identical treatment and equal treatment under the law, and discuss situations in which discrimination is acceptable – not letting a 6-year-old obtain a driver’s license, for example.

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

Pirates and the Law

In this lesson, discussion of modern day piracy begins with a cartoon depicting a 17th century pirate ship pulling a large 21st century ship through the sea. Then, the instructor can lead a conversation about piracy – What is piracy? Who are pirates? What motivates them? The lesson introduces students to issues involving international law in the context of globalization.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12