Creating Effective Citizens/Social Studies in Action Library

Watch lesson plans in the video, “Creating Effective Citizens,” from the Social Studies in Action Library, that teach students how to become active and effective citizens. Students participate in role-play and simulations that model civic action, discuss controversial laws about gender discrimination and individual rights, explore what it means to be a global citizen within a democracy, and engage students in local and national issues.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Media, 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

Dealing With Controversial Issues/Social Studies in Action Library

This program examines how social studies teachers in any grade level can encourage open and informed discussions with their students while dealing with controversial issues. Topics range from stereotypes and gender–based discrimination to the conflict in the Middle East. Through clearly identifying issues, listening to multiple perspectives, and formulating personal positions, teachers explore strategies that can be used to teach challenging issues such as these in their own classrooms.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Media, 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

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

The Earliest Americans (CKHG Unit)

Across 17 lessons, this unit introduces some of the different peoples who populated America many years before the arrival of European explorers—some as early as thirty thousand years ago along the Pacific Coast, and others who traveled from Asia across Beringia, the land bridge. Students explore how these early peoples spread across North and South America, adapted to their environments and developed unique cultures. Each lesson is designed to last 30 minutes.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Timelines
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

The Age of Exploration (CKHG Unit)

This unit introduces students to European exploration and trade from 1400 to the 1600s. Across 12 lessons, students learn about motivations for European exploration and study specific explorers, learning about their encounters with indigenous peoples. Students are introduced to the early slave trade and the beginnings of slavery in the Americas.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Timelines
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

The Geography of the United States (CKHG Unit)

This unit reinforces map and globe skills as students learn about the geographic characteristics of different regions of the United States: New England, Mid-Atlantic, South, Midwest, Great Plains, Rocky Mountain, Southwest, and West Coast. Across 13 lessons, students explore the climate, natural resources, culture, and other distinctive characteristics of each region.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

The United States Constitution (CKHG Unit)

This unit explores the creation and central ideas of the United States Constitution. Across 18 lessons, students learn how, after the Revolution, the Founding Fathers worked to confront the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation. They learn why the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution, and explore reasons why the Constitution has survived as the guiding document of government in the United States.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Timelines
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

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