Project Citizen is an interdisciplinary curricular program for middle, secondary, and post-secondary students, youth organizations, and adult groups that promotes competent and responsible participation in local and state government. The program helps participants learn how to monitor and influence public policy. In the process, they develop support for democratic values and principles, tolerance, and feelings of political efficacy.
Just Vote: Youth Registration Campaign
This lesson supports young people as they design, create, and implement their own voter preregistration campaigns. Students will consider some reflection questions, learn more about voting as they consider what to include in their campaigns, study examples of past voter registration campaigns, and apply what they’ve learned to create campaigns that engage current and future voters to participate in the democratic process. First, help students reflect on the role of voting in the democratic process, using questions that connect to their prior knowledge about voting. Then, through the series of worksheets that follow, have students learn relevant vocabulary, analyze challenges voters face today, examine past successful voting campaigns, and create their new campaigns. After students launch their campaigns, consider creating a way for the class to track their success as a group.
Find lesson plans generated by teachers who completed the Cultures of Independence workshop at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The lessons illustrate how local and national history can be taught through a focus on a physical place and primary sources. Criteria for selecting lessons also included the teaching of historiography and, when appropriate, connections to the founding principles of the United States. Use a lesson from your region, or become inspired to create your own.
Civic Art Project: Notes on the Constitution
Students create art works based on an examination of the language of the Constitution and the personal connections they make. These art works will incorporate words, illustrations, and mixed media images.
This lesson can be adapted for different grade levels. High school students can use an abridged version of the U.S. Constitution. Elementary and middle school students can use the Preamble, or introduction, to the Constitution.
Civic Art Project: From Her Beacon
Students will work collaboratively to create a mural of the Statue of Liberty to show the statue as a representation of freedom and a symbol of welcome to immigrants coming from other countries. This lesson can be adapted for different grade levels. High school students will read a poem and incorporate some of its ideas into their mural. Elementary and middle school students will incorporate words and phrases inspired by the statue into their mural. This activity supports Art, Social Studies, Civics, and English Language Arts standards and can be used as a cross-curricular project across these classrooms. Teachers across the curricula are encouraged to work together to bring this activity to life.
Landmarks of American History and Culture
This Teacher’s Guide provides information and resources for integrating creative approaches to place-based history in K-12 humanities education. As tangible reminders of the past, memorials and monuments, as well as neighborhoods, historic homes, waterways, and many other sites, have the power to influence how we interpret contemporary society. The resources herein address public history and the disciplines that fall within the field; NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture programs and the resources that have been developed for educators; and access to sites included in the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks. By introducing historic and cultural sites into the classroom setting, students can develop a greater understanding of the reality and prevalence of history in their local landscape.
Civics and Citizenship
Civics and Citizenship explores both the rights guaranteed to Americans as well as the attendant responsibilities that come with those rights. Ultimately, the unit culminates with students writing, producing, and sharing a Public Service Announcement that defines, shows, and advocates for civic engagement. The goal of the lesson is that students actively assume the responsibilities of an engaged and thoughtful citizen.
Election: The Road to the White House (Secondary)
During an election, civic energy reaches a fever pitch. The vote is one of the citizen’s most powerful tools, and advocating for a candidate, a set of ideas, or a platform is the right of every citizen. The President of the United States is often called the most powerful person in the world, so with every presidential election, the stakes are high. This unit is designed to teach students about presidential elections. It is not a collection of facts, diagrams, and explanations of processes. It is an interactive, project-based unit that invites the student to fully engage in the process of an election while also informing students about how elections work. It is our hope that this unit helps cultivate the sorts of informed and engaged citizens that are so essential to our democracy.
Election: The Road to the White House (Elementary)
This unit is designed to teach students about presidential elections. It is not a collection of facts, diagrams, and explanations of processes. It is an interactive, project-based unit that invites the student to fully engage in the process of an election while also informing students about how elections work. It is our hope that this unit helps cultivate the sorts of informed and engaged citizens that are so essential to our democracy.
Not “Indians,” Many Tribes: Native American Diversity
In this unit, students will heighten their awareness of Native American diversity as they learn about three vastly different Native groups.