Lesson Plans

Political Parties – Beginning

Students investigate the major political parties in the United States and the role they play in U.S. elections, then create political parties focused on issues affecting students at their school.

Political Parties – Intermediate

Students investigate the two-party system in the United States and analyze partisan priorities, then create political parties that speak to issues affecting young people.

Political Parties – Advanced

Students gain a deeper understanding of political parties and the role they play in U.S. elections, evaluate how partisan priorities have changed over time, and then create political parties that speak to issues affecting young people as well as people of other generations.

The Formation of Political Parties

Students work in groups to investigate a case study using primary sources to help answer the question “Why do political parties form?” Students then use their learning to advise one of the two major U.S. political parties about a fledgling new “Teen Party”.

Liberty and Civility: Rules for Citizens in a Democratic Society

Students examine George Washington’s Rules of Civility in preparation for learning how and why citizens in a free society are expected to exercise personal civility. Students will then apply their understanding by creating civility posters and analyzing and addressing examples of incivility in a comic strip.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want (But If You Lobby Sometimes, You Might Find, You Get What You Need)

Students will investigate lobbying and the role of lobbyists in U.S. government historically and currently, brainstorm an idea for school improvement that they will lobby either for or against, and reflect on how they have grown through their learning.

Who Gets the Vote?

Students review the amendment clause of the U.S. Constitution, then analyze primary sources to deepen understanding of how constitutional voting (suffrage) amendments expanded the electorate and the rights of Americans. After, they’ll research a current voting rights issue and write a letter to their U.S. congressman about their informed view of the issue.

Faction and Democracy

Students write a multi-paragraph argumentative letter in opposition to a proposed bipartisan Senate bill to eliminate factions outside of the two major parties based on the ideas put forth by James Madison in Federalist No. 10, George Washington in his Farewell Address, and Thomas Jefferson in his First Inaugural Address.

Engine Company 54 lost 15 men, 9/11/01

Through analysis of a collage created post 9/11, students consider how art help us to process and understand difficult events then collect everyday materials to create a piece of art and an accompanying curator note  that reflects on a contemporary event.

Tree of Liberty

Students compare and contrast perspectives of the economics of slavery and free industry in the mid 19th century, then consider issues they might include under a tree of liberty for modern times.