Lesson Plans

Freedom of the Press, Censorship, and Sedition

Students explore freedom of the press as they examine sources related to government censorship of the press. After reviewing the First Amendment and the Sedition Act of 1798, students examine a political cartoon to discuss the relevance of freedom of the press over time. Finally, students design and create their own poster promoting freedom of…

The Scientific Method, School Shootings, and Civic Action

Students make connections between scientific method of thinking and the rights of the American democracy established by the Constitution regarding civic action. Integrating scientific thinking with civic content, students experience the connection between methods of scientific analysis and civic action. Next, students examine the history of school safety in this country, school related violence and…

Graphing Bullying Data to Create Change

Students use skills in of calculating percentage and graphing to examine data on bullying while building civic skills of examining issues about bullying. Students define types of bullying using inquiry and a primary source from the Library of Congress and look at current data of bullying from the Center of Disease Control (CDC). Students then…

Dolores Huerta: Building Coalitions to Affect Change

Students explore the experiences of Mexican-American farmworkers in the United States and learn about how they – especially through the leadership of Dolores Huerta and the United Farm Workers – worked with others for improvements in pay and working conditions, as well as respect for their civil rights. Students analyze primary sources that document working…

Selma & Voting Rights: Standing Up for Equality

Through inquiry into primary sources, students discover a story of citizens shaping and sustaining our democracy through civic action and will contemplate the import and impact of citizens who strive for equality. This lesson may be used prior to reading a fictional work or poem related to the civil rights movement or in conjunction with…

Vaccinations, Science, and the Law

In this two-part lesson students explain the role of science in informing public policy. In Part I, students discuss their prior knowledge of vaccinations and the purpose of vaccinations. In Part II, students assume the roles of members of Congress to determine if they will support a bill to require the federal government to compare…

TB or Not TB: Disease Prevention

In this lesson, students use the example of tuberculosis to learn how scientists, the government, and public-interest organizations work together to ensure that the public has equal access to disease-prevention information and support. In Part I, students discuss the role of science in public health and play the role of “Disease Detectives” to learn more…

Gerrymandering: Voting by Numbers

Students learn about the application of ratios and proportions to the real political issue of gerrymandering. In Part I, students conduct a primary-source analysis of the original 1812 political cartoon about Elbridge Gerry’s redistricting in Massachusetts to build background knowledge. In Part II, students analyze a historical map of Massachusetts’s gerrymandered voting districts in 1812…

Electoral College: Are All Votes Equal?

Students examine the process of voting and the Electoral College. Applying mathematical percentages, students experience how population and voting impact elections in this country and consider if everyone’s vote matters. Then students consider the use of the Electoral College and how it aligns with the popular vote.

Education and Equality in the Courts

Students analyze primary sources related to equality in education in the United States. In Part I, students analyze two sets of primary sources that illustrate major transformations in American public education following both the Mendez v. Westminster (1947) federal case and the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) Supreme Court case. In Part II, students participate in…

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