Voting Rights Act of 1965: Lesson Plans & Resources

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. This landmark piece of legislation made discrimination based on race illegal. This law protected the right to vote for all citizens; forced states to obey the Constitution; and reinforced the 15th Amendment. The Share My Lesson team has curated a collection of free lesson plans, activities, and classroom materials that educators can use to teach students about the Voting Rights Act.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

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.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Timelines
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 10, 11, 12

Congress.gov

Congress.gov is the official source for federal legislative information. It provides access to information on legislation moving through Congress and the procedures used to move legislation through Congress, the activities of congressional committees, profiles of members of Congress and a glossary of terms used in the legislative process.

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

The Amendment Process: Ratifying the 19th Amendment

In this activity, students will analyze historical records of Congress and the U.S. government to understand the sequence of steps in the amendment process. Students will study each document and match it to the step in the process that it illustrates.

When put in proper sequence, the documents will show the process by which the 19th Amendment – prohibiting the federal government or states from denying the right to vote on the basis of sex – was added to the Constitution.

Then students will reflect on the process, and the roles that the people, president, Congress and the states play.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Voting Rights (Lesson Plan)

Explore the evolution of voting rights in the United States through an interactive PowerPoint presentation highlighting landmark changes. Following the presentation and class discussion, students apply the new knowledge of voting legislation to individual scenarios through a class activity. This lesson is one in a series called “Civil Rights.”

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

How A Bill Becomes A Law (poster)

This 8.5″ x 11″ poster maps the many steps in the U.S. Federal lawmaking process from the introduction of a bill by any Member of Congress through passage by the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and approved by the President of the United States.

  • Resource Type: Timelines
  • Subject: Legislative Branch/Congress
  • Grades: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The YLI E-Congress Legislative Simulation

Looking for an interactive way to teach about the legislative branch? The Youth Leadership Initiative’s E-Congress program allows students to learn about Congress by writing original legislation and following it through the lawmaking process. Registration is required.

  • Resource Type: Editorial Cartoons, Lesson Plans, Quizzes, Research (Digests of Primary Sources), Surveys
  • Subject: Legislative Branch/Congress
  • Grades: 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

LawCraft

Students play as a senator or representative from a state and political party they select. Then their challenge is to get Congress to pass a bill based on a hot topic from a constituent.

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

Senate Immersion Module Curriculum

The materials in this curriculum are designed to enhance the Institute’s immersive SIM experience. The SIM is an educational, game-like experience, developed to engage new generations of Americans. This program is conducted in the Institute’s full- scale representation of the United States Senate Chamber. Running with up to 100 students at a time, participants take on the roles of senators to learn about representation, study issues, debate, negotiate, and vote on legislation.

  • Resource Type: Interactives
  • Subject: Legislative Branch/Congress
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Freedom Summer and the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Freedom Summer is a game-based learning module in which players explore the relationship between the Civil Rights Movement and the contentious civil rights debate in Congress. Players are presented with a series of 20 historic events and are required to predict the consequences of each event. Players discover how events of the Civil Rights Movement and concurrent events in Congress impacted each other and the role that both Congress and individuals play in representative democracy.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Audio, Games, Interactives, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Photography, Primary Sources, Quizzes, Timelines, Video
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12