Contested Ballots: You Be the Judge

This lesson uses the example of the 2008 contested Senate election between Al Franken and Norm Coleman in Minnesota to discuss contested elections, counting votes, and recount laws. Looks at recount laws in your own state.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

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

No Pets Allowed

In this lesson, students learn not only that there is a need for rules, but that it is important to understand why a rule was made in order to obey it sensibly. This activity explores the purpose and intent of rules or laws and helps students realize that overly simple laws are difficult to interpret and good laws are difficult to write. This lesson is a good introduction to the writing of the Constitution and the role of legislators in developing laws.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Legislative Branch/Congress
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3

No Weapons Allowed

In this lesson, students learn not only that there is a need for rules, but that it is important to understand why a rule was made in order to obey it sensibly. This activity explores the purpose and intent of rules or laws and helps students realize that overly simple laws are difficult to interpret and good laws are difficult to write. This lesson is a good introduction to the writing of the Constitution and the role of legislators in developing laws.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 7, 8

The Supremacy Clause

Tension between the states and the federal government has been a constant throughout U.S. history. This video explores the supremacy clause in Article VI of the Constitution and key moments in the power struggle, including the landmark case McCulloch v. Maryland. In McCulloch, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that the supremacy clause unequivocally states that the “Constitution, and the Laws of the United States … shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”

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

Brown v. Board of Education

May 17, 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. This landmark Supreme Court decision declared that laws establishing separate public schools for black and white children were unconstitutional. To support teachers as they commemorate this important anniversary in their classes, the Share My Lesson team has selected a variety of free lesson plans, educational resources and classroom materials about equity, particularly in schools.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Teaching About Due Process and the Law

In this lesson, students will be presented with various cases of discrimination. They will identify the discriminatory practice, and discuss the difference between permitted and illegal discrimination. The instructor might then lead discussion about the difficulties in drafting laws that ensure no discrimination while not interfering too much with private citizens’ freedoms.

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

Environmentalism Then and Now

This PowerPoint presentation uses modern environmental images juxtaposed with historic images and facts, and then asks students: Is Going Green new? While it is clear that environmentalism and the environmental movement, even environmental law, are historic, it is worth discussing how today’s movement is different from the past. Today there are stricter laws, policy initiatives, social networks, and new technologies.

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

Residential Property Signs

This lesson uses City of Ladue v. Gilleo as the basis for discussion of First Amendment rights. Students will argue for both sides of the case, and a group of students will serve as the city council; they will questions both sides and ultimately decide whether the ordinance should be upheld or not. The resource person might then lead a discussion on local laws regarding signs, posters, and handbills.

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

How Our Laws Are Made

A text-based guide to the workings of Congress and the Federal lawmaking process from the source of an idea for a legislative proposal through its publication as a statute. As the majority of laws originate in the House of Representatives, the publication focuses principally on that body. This guide enables readers to gain a greater understanding of the Federal legislative process and its role as one of the foundations of the United States of America’s representative system of government.

  • Resource Type: Books
  • Subject: Legislative Branch/Congress
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12