Prayer and Friday Night Lights?

In this lesson, students explore the scope and limits of the establishment clause of the First Amendment. First, students read and discuss an article on the constitutional issue of student-led prayer at public school events. Next, they role-play Supreme Court justices and attorneys deciding this issue. Finally, in a whole-class discussion, they debrief their own findings and compare them with those of the Supreme Court in the case of Santa Fe Independent School District v. Jane Doe et al.

Grades 10, 11, 12
Foundations of Democracy
Interactives

The Presidential Election of 1912 Exhibit

This collection of primary source documents is intended to help readers identify and think about some of the key ideas and issues surrounding the U.S. Presidential election of 1912. The 1912 election was a significant event in American history for a number of reasons, representing the high-water mark of the so-called Progressive Era in American electoral politics. This pivotal moment is explained by Jason Jividen in his opening essay, in which he establishes the situation leading into the election year, contextualizes the ideas and personalities in play and conflict, and explains what happened. The exhibit also includes key facts and statistics from the election itself, including an electoral map, and vote counts and popular vote shares in each state. We also included important demographic statistics to help the reader understand the differences and similarities between America then and now.

Grades 10, 11, 12
Executive Branch/Presidency
Primary Sources

Judges on Judging Podcast

This six-part podcast series, hosted by The Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell, a federal judge with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, explores the role of judges and courts in our democracy, as well as the importance of a Fair and Impartial Judiciary. The podcasts, which include discussions among jurists regarding current cases and legal issues, are made possible through a partnership between the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania and The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement.

Teaching Students About International Politics

The world has become increasingly more connected, and with this inter-connectedness it is of even more importance that students gain a deeper understanding of global issues and the role of diplomacy. Share My Lesson has specially curated this collection of resources to help educators teach students about past and present U.S. foreign policies, how foreign policy is developed, the crisis in Ukraine, how international organizations are created and governed, the creation of international law, various international conflicts, and other forms of government in the world.

NATO, Russia and Ukraine

How do alliances shape international relations? In February 2022, the Russian Federation, led by its authoritarian president Vladimir Putin, launched a significant invasion of neighboring Ukraine. Putin justified this in part by claiming that Ukraine’s desire to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, threatened Russian security. So what is NATO, and why would Russia see it as a potential threat?

Diplomacy Podcast

The United States charges nearly 8,000 people with being good at relationships. These are our diplomats, or Foreign Service Officers. These are the people who make us look good, make sure the world gives us what we want and need and try to keep tensions at a minimum. To try to understand how this nuanced job actually works, we speak with Alison Mann, Public Historian at the National Museum of American Diplomacy and Naima Green-Riley, soon-to-be professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton and former diplomat.

Emergency Powers of the President Podcast

If you want to learn about economic sanctions, which are the most common of the president’s emergency powers, and one non-conflict way to exert pressure on a foreign power, check out our episode on emergency powers. You’ll also learn about certain military powers the president has under an emergency declaration. Emergency powers are designed for when plans need to change, and fast, by allowing the president to override certain Constitutional provisions in a time of crisis. But in the last century, national emergencies have gone from a rarity to a tool that presidents use dozens of times while in office. We talk about what a president can (and cannot) do during a state of emergency, and how Congress has tried to put checks on that power, with help from Kim Lane Scheppele, author of Law in a Time of Emergency.

Grades 7-12
Executive Branch/Presidency
Audio

1912 Republican Convention: TR Starts the Bull Moose Party

This four-minute video provides students with an introduction to the election of 1912 and the emergence of the progressive Bull Moose party, named for Theodore Roosevelt’s saying after an assassination attempt that he was “fit as a bull moose” to become president again. Focusing on Theodore Roosevelt’s decision to challenge President William Taft for the 1912 Republican Party nomination, the video shows students how the newly created system of direct primaries affected the race, and how Roosevelt’s failure to wrest the nomination from Taft resulted in the formation of the short-lived Bull Moose party. The video is useful for lessons focused on the election of 1912, or for lessons focused on the political reforms of the progressive era.

Election of 1860: Slavery Splits the Democrats

This four-minute video explores the causes and consequences of the Democratic Party’s division into two parties following the Democratic national convention of 1860. After rejecting Stephen A. Douglas’s failed attempt to reconcile the Northern and Southern factions of the party with his doctrine of “popular sovereignty,” the Southern delegates walked out of the convention. That decision led to the election of Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and 50 years of Republican dominance in national politics. A concise summary of the unusual events that allowed Abraham Lincoln to win the election of 1860, the video fits into any sequence of lessons on the factors leading to secession and the Civil War.