Executive Power in Times of Crisis

This lesson explores the use of executive power in times of crisis in relation to both the Constitution and the legislation of the time. Using exclusive primary source material from the National Archives at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, students will explore how President Lincoln, President Reagan, and President Obama utilized their executive power against the respective threats of their time.

Voting by Mail

Because of concerns over COVID-19, many states may ask people to vote by mail this year. Are your students ready to vote on Election Day 2020? Let students see what a mail-in ballot process is like, and discover the advantages and disadvantages of mail-in elections.

Grades 6-12
Voting, Elections, Politics
Lesson Plans

Presidency on Trial: Assessing the Limits of Presidential Power

As they framed the Constitution, many of the Founding Fathers were wary of a powerful chief executive who might overshadow the legislative branch. By constructing the separation of powers within the federal government with a system of checks and balances, the Framers sought to limit the power of the president. Students will investigate not only the formal checks as laid out in the Constitution, but also explore the informal checks on presidential power that have emerged in the modern era.

Historic Supreme Court Cases

Students will learn about historic Supreme Court cases and the process of bringing a case to the Supreme Court. They will read arguments and discover the importance of this third branch of government. Students will discover the changes these cases made in the lives of people. From the knowledge they gain, students can determine how the outcome may have affected their lives.

Presidential Elections

The purpose of this lesson is to have students learn about each presidential election and presidential terms. Students will understand how various events in history shaped campaigns. Why elections were won and lost. What accomplishments and disappointments each president experienced. Each election and presidential term served had its own mark on history. The presentation to the class is the order of the elections starting with Washington’s first election and proceeding forward. The lesson plan was created to engage students in the election process and create interest in the coming presidential election.
Constituting America’s 90 Day Study of The Intrigue of Presidential Elections and Their Constitutional Impact is a resource guide for students. This study supplies many of the important facts and figures of each presidential campaign. There are also intriguing facts, stories, and information about the person, campaign, time in office and after the presidency.

Constitution: Analyze – Explore – Music

Students will engage in a study of the Constitution to learn about the nature and structure of the United States. The Constitution will be analyzed and discussed as a primary source to understand the form of government and principles of the U.S. This lesson provides students an opportunity to explore how the government works and what the Constitution means to them today. Students will create a song to demonstrate understanding of the Constitution and nature of the U.S. government. Constituting America has a song contest teachers may want to integrate with this lesson plan.

Grades 7-12
Foundations of Democracy
Lesson Plans