Why Should We Care? Understanding Rights and Responsibilities as Citizens

Students will identify some of the rights they enjoy as a citizen, and what responsibilities accompany those rights. They will reflect on whether or not they have a responsibility to protect the rights of others as well as their own.

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

Democracy Corps: A Complete Service Learning Program

Learn about American democracy while serving your community. Serve your community while learning about the responsibilities of American democracy. YLI’s Democracy Corps brings your civics lessons to the community while instilling life- long civic engagement in your students.

  • Resource Type: Editorial Cartoons, Essays, Lesson Plans, Oral Histories, Photography, Quizzes, Research (Digests of Primary Sources), Surveys
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Citizen Me (Lesson Plan)

Students learn that they are citizens at many levels of society: home, school, city, state, and nation! Students create a graphic organizer that diagrams rights and responsibilities at these different levels of citizenship. They also learn the sources of their rights and responsibilities at each level. This lesson stands alone or may be used to reinforce the iCivics game Responsibility Launcher. We also recommend following with the iCivics lesson, “The Global You.”

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

Citizen Obligations and Responsibilities

This resource provides students with an English language video and associated student friendly readings (in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole), as well as reading and video guides and self assessment tools. Using these, students will explore the obligations and responsibilities of citizenship.
Free registration is required to use the resource.

  • Resource Type: ESL Appropriate, ESL Materials, Quizzes, Translated Materials, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Jury Service: Our Duty and Privilege as Citizens

In America, the responsibility to protect individual rights and promote the common good ultimately rests with its citizens, not the government. When citizens participate in thoughtful and responsible ways, the welfare of our constitutional democracy is ensured. While most civic participation is voluntary, the call to serve on a jury is not. It comes as an order by the court.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Citizenship, Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

The President’s Roles and Responsibilities: Understanding the President’s Job

As a nation, we place no greater responsibility on any one individual than we do on the president. Through these activities, students learn about the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. president and their own roles as citizens of a democracy.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Executive Branch/Presidency
  • Grades: K, 1, 2

Those Shoes

CRFC’s Primary VOICE program is a collection of lessons and tools that help second- and third-grade teachers connect civic learning with the essential skills of reading, writing, and speaking and is funded by the Polk Bros. Foundation. This activity on Responsibility helps students learn about responsible behavior and how it applies to their own lives.

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

We the Students: Writing a Class Constitution

The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution sets out the purposes or functions of American government as envisioned by the framers. Using the Preamble as a guide, students will identify the purposes of their own classroom and create a class “constitution.”

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

The First Amendment: What’s Fair in a Free Country?

Young people have a profound sense of the importance of fairness. “It’s not fair” is often used as a one-size-fits-all argument when a child feels victimized. In situations where the child has an interest in protecting his or her actions, “It’s a free country!” is often the argument of choice. On the other hand, children are very sensitive about speech and policies they consider to have a negative effect on their well-being.

Balancing rights and responsibilities is difficult, even for the Supreme Court. This lesson demonstrates to students that doctrine of freedom of speech and its proper application is an ongoing process.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 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