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

Drug Testing in Schools

This lesson calls for students to take a stand on whether there should be drug testing in schools or not. Students stand along a spectrum – ranging from “test everyone” to “never test anyone” – to represent their position on the issue. As the class discusses and debates, students are encouraged to consider opposite views, and can move along the spectrum to reflect changed opinions. The lesson concludes with a conversation about the possible outcomes of the policies brought up during the session.

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

Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, from September 15 to October 15, the United States observes Hispanic Heritage Month. During the month-long celebration, which begins on the anniversary of the independence of many Latin American countries, we commemorate the histories, cultures and contributions of Hispanic American citizens. Share My Lesson has lesson plans, activities and classroom resources to help educators celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in their schools.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Earth Day

We celebrate Earth Day every April 22. It is an annual, worldwide celebration to show support for environmental protection that was first celebrated in 1970 in the US in thousands of colleges and K-12 schools. Since then, it has become a global event that is currently celebrated in 192 countries.

  • Resource Type: Books, Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Research (Digests of Primary Sources), Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

James Otis Lecture

The ABOTA Foundation is proud to present the James Otis Lecture Series. Our lecture program about the United States Constitution is designed to allow schools to comply with the requirements of the federal statute creating Constitution Day. This law requires all federally-assisted schools, both public and private, to provide educational programs each year around the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution.

  • Resource Type: Interactives
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Comprehensive Sex Education

This lesson discusses whether Illinois should pass a law that requires all public schools to provide comprehensive sex education in grades 6-12. In other words, should schools be required to teach students about both abstinence and contraceptives as possible prevention strategies for unintended teen pregnancy and STIs? Students will consider arguments supporting and opposing a comprehensive sex education law by deliberating the question using Structured Academic Controversy (SAC).

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

Should Social Media Go to School?

Social media—web-based and mobile technologies that people use to have interactive communication with others—are a part of everyday life in the twenty-first century. The policy at issue in this lesson recognizes the importance of technology in students’ lives by allowing all public high schools to use web-based social media as teaching and communication tools.

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

Brown v. Board of Education (1954) eLesson

After the Civil War, the 14th Amendment was passed to grant citizenship to former slaves and protect them from civil rights violations in their home states. Public schools were relatively rare throughout the United States, but were often segregated by race where they existed. The same Congress that passed the 14th Amendment created racially segregated schools for the District of Columbia. In the 20th century, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) began a litigation campaign designed to bring an end to state mandated segregation, calling attention to the shabby accommodations provided for blacks, as well as arguing the damaging psychological effects that segregation had on black school children. One case was brought on behalf of Linda Brown, a third-grader from Topeka, Kan.

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

National Debate Topic for High Schools

Each year the U.S. Senate disseminates a document to assist debaters in researching the subject chosen by the National University Extension Association as the national high school debate topic. The guide provides references and excerpts to articles, reports, and other appropriate materials relating to the subject. In preparing the compilations the Congressional Research Service includes current materials which are representative of, and give equal emphasis to, the opposing views of the topic.

  • Resource Type: Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Cyberbullying: Should our democracy allow schools to punish students for off-campus cyberbullying?

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” What about bullying that happens outside of school? New technologies such as the Internet, cell phones, and social media have made bullying possible anytime and anywhere. This lesson provides students with background information and arguments for and against. Students are encouraged to deliberate the issue and come to their own conclusions.

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