Connecting the Separate Powers

In this lesson, students will gain an understanding of the separation of powers using role playing and discussion. Students will identify which parts of the Constitution provide for the branches of our government, and will categorize public officials into one of these three branches.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Equity in Public Education Funding

This lesson will explore the question of equity in funding public education for K-12 students. It will provide a historical context for public education in America: how equality of education has been understood and the ways in which states have been permitted to fund it. In addition, it will introduce the idea of public policy—what it is and how to assess its costs and benefits.

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

Public Demonstrations: Should our democracy have the power to prohibit unauthorized public demonstrations?

This lesson provides students with background information and arguments for and against allowing the government to prohibit unauthorized public demonstrations. Students are encouraged to deliberate the issue and come to their own conclusions based on evidence and reason.

  • Resource Type: ESL Appropriate, ESL Materials, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Introducing Policy Analysis

Students examine case studies of real-life problems and issues being addressed through public policy and evaluate whether or not policies are effective. Students learn about the specific roles that public policy plays in addressing social problems and issues.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: State/Local Government
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Individuals Influence Public Policy

In this lesson, students are presented with a controversial school policy and given two viewpoints on the issue. They are then divided into groups, and asked to provide reasons for and against the policy. After deciding whether the policy should be changed or not, the students are asked to reflect on why policies might change and what factors influence policy decisions.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 5

Civil Conversation: Immigration Enforcement Raids

Controversial legal and policy issues, as they are discussed in the public arena, often lead to polarization, not understanding. This Civil Conversation activity offers an alternative. In this structured discussion method, under the guidance of a facilitator, participants are encouraged to engage intellectually with challenging materials, gain insight about their own point of view, and strive for a shared understanding of issues. This lesson plan addresses the debate over the policies of the federal agency – Immigration and Customs Enforcement – that investigates and enforces the nation’s immigration laws.

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

Surveillance

Video surveillance cameras seem to be everywhere these days . . . on highways and in schools, at street corners and even in ordinary public squares. More and more national and local governments, as well as businesses and private organizations, are using this technology. This lesson gives students the opportunity to deliberate the question, “Should our democracy require law enforcement officials to get permission from a judge to access public video surveillance records?”

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

Defining Marriage

This unit gives an overview of the legal history of marriage in the United States. It presents some of the privileges, benefits, and obligations that go along with getting married. It explains the current controversy about same-sex marriage. And it provides a model for discussion, called “structured academic controversy,” for exploring the facts, arguments, and options surrounding these issues.

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