Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: A Lesson on the Declaration of Independence

With this teacher-created lesson plan, students will be able to: understand the meaning and central ideas of the Declaration of Independence; cite textual evidence to analyze this primary source; and analyze the structure of the document. Common Core-aligned.

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

Courage and Self-Sacrifice: A Lesson on “Chamberlain” by Michael Shaara

Why do ordinary citizens risk their lives for their country? Explore the virtue of courage and how it can be cultivated, especially among self-interested citizens oriented toward the pursuit of their own happiness, as editors Amy A. Kass and Leon R. Kass discuss Michael Shaara’s story with Eliot A. Cohen (Johns Hopkins University). Includes a discussion guide and model conversation.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Freedom and Religion: A Lesson Plan on “The May-Pole of Merry Mount”

What kind of religious beliefs and practices support civic freedom and virtue? Compare two guiding ideas of the American republic—the pursuit of happiness and the spirit of reverence—as editors Amy A. Kass, Leon R. Kass, and Diana Schaub discuss Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story with Yuval Levin (Ethics and Public Policy Center). Includes a discussion guide and model conversation.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

What Fundamental Ideas About Government Do Americans Share?

In this lesson, you will examine some of the fundamental ideas about government that are contained in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. When you have completed this lesson, you should be able to explain those ideas and identify which ideas the class holds in common. If you support these ideas, you will be given an opportunity to go online and add your signature to those of the Founders of our nation who signed the original documents.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12