All resources in Civics Educators: All Locations

9/11 and the Constitution

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The anniversaries of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, and the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787, provide us an opportunity to reflect upon who we are as Americans, examine our most fundamental values and principles and affirm our commitment to them, and evaluate progress toward the realization of American ideals and propose actions that might narrow the gap between these ideals and reality. The following lessons are designed to accomplish these goals.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Center Staff

The Better Arguments Project

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Better Arguments can help students learn to engage productively across differences and grapple with differing viewpoints. Linked are resources that are applicable to school-based learning activities and after school programs. These include a curriculum, exit ticket exercise and current events exercise.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Reading, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Author: The Better Arguments Project

Electing Our Presidents Teacher Workshop

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Educators from the Hoover, Truman, Carter, Clinton and Reagan Presidential Libraries hosted “Electing Our Presidents.” This professional development webinar examined the question, “Does our process of electing our president best serve the American people?” “Who counts?” - Josh Montanari, Carter Presidential Library “Who can vote?” - Kathleen Pate, Clinton Presidential Library “How do we vote?” - Elizabeth Dinschel, Hoover Presidential Library “What happens if the results are challenged?” - Mark Adams and Angela Estep, Truman Presidential Library “What happens if a President dies or is unfit to serve?” - Mira Cohen, Reagan Presidential Library

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Case Study, Lecture

Author: Harry S. Truman Library & Museum

The Iran Hostage Crisis Simulation

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To have students gain a better understanding that representing the United States abroad is an extraordinarily dangerous job. This lesson provides students with a hands-on history lab where participants step into the roles of President Carter and his advisors, work with formerly classified primary source documents, and collaborate to tackle one of history’s greatest challenges. Reveal to students how, in the wake of a successful 1979 revolution by Islamic fundamentalists against the pro-American Shah of Iran, the United States became an object of virulent criticism and the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was a visible target.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Assessment, Case Study, Homework/Assignment, Lesson Plan, Primary Source, Reading, Simulation

Authors: Christopher Stanley, Harry S. Truman Library & Museum

The Development of Political Parties

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This lesson allows students to listen to a podcast and check out different links to learn more about political parties, how and why they developed, along with learning key vocabulary terms. There are several options within the lesson, including working with a partner, creating a word cloud, reading an article, watching documentary clips and a clip from the musical Hamilton, and completing a graphic organizer. It also includes information and materials where students can learn more about the major presidential elections of 1800, 1824 and 1860.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Case Study, Lesson Plan, Module, Reading, Student Guide

Authors: New American History, RetroReport

The Road to Civil Rights

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By the end of this lesson, students will be able to: ● Identify key events of the Civil Rights Movement and their place in time ● Explain the significance of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution in relation to the expansion of rights for African Americans and how they laid the footing for the Civil Rights Movement ● Summarize central ideas of short, dense text ● Apply Tier 2/academic and Tier 3/domain-specific vocabulary associated with the Civil Rights Movement

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Assessment

Author: Brooke Machado

The African American Experience in NC After Reconstruction

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The documents included in this lesson come from The North Carolina Experience collection of Documenting the American South and specifically focus on African Americans and race relations in the early 20th century. The lesson juxtaposes accounts that relate to both the positive improvements of black society and arguments against advancement. Combined, these primary sources and the accompanying lesson plan could be used as a Document Based Question (DBQ) in an advanced US history or African American history course.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Meghan Mcglinn

African American History: From Emancipation to the Present

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The purpose of this course is to examine the African American experience in the United States from 1863 to the present. Prominent themes include the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction; African Americans' urbanization experiences; the development of the modern civil rights movement and its aftermath; and the thought and leadership of Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X. WARNING: Some of the lectures in this course contain graphic content and/or adult language that some users may find disturbing.

Material Type: Lecture, Lecture Notes, Syllabus

Author: Jonathan Holloway

HS American Gov. EBAS Lesson Seed: Structure and Function of the Legislative Branch

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Lesson seeds are ideas for the standards that can be used to build a lesson.  Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.  This lesson seed provides a compelling question and a bank of sources to use to drive an inquiry based lesson or a potential Evidence Based Argument Set (EBAS).  When developing lessons from these seeds, teachers must consider the needs of all learners.  Once you have built your lesson from the lesson seed, teachers are encouraged to post the lesson that has emerged from this lesson seed and share with others. Compelling question:Should term limits be imposed on members of Congress?  EL Modification: highlight important vocabulary, add images to improve text comprenesion; consider adapting content, process and/or product based on Can Do WIDA DescriptorsImage source: "United States Capitol - west front" by Architect of the Capitol from

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Authors: Robby May, Beth Ann Haas, Leah Renzi, MSDE Admin

Lesson One. The Omnipotence of the Majority

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In this lesson, students are introduced to Tocqueville's argument about the "omnipotent" power of the majority in America and its consequences. After an initial statement that the "very essence" of democracy is majority rule, he contrasts the means by which state constitutions artificially increase the power of the majority with the U.S. Constitution, which checks that power.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

StoryWorks: Beautiful Agitators

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StoryWorks develops inclusive and transformative educational theater experiences that provide students with the opportunity to examine our country’s civil rights history. Through content consistent with school curriculum standards, the program engages students in experiential learning and inspires them to ask deeper questions about the historical underpinnings behind contemporary issues. The process creates pathways to civic engagement, creates lasting memories and instills a tangible sense of social belonging. This StoryWorks educational project is built around Beautiful Agitators, a theatrical play about Vera Mae Pigee, a hair stylist and business owner in Clarksdale, Mississippi, and one of the unsung heroes of the civil rights era. Using her beauty parlor as a hub for Delta-based organizing and resistance, Pigee operated her salon by day and then transformed it into a clandestine center for civil rights organization and education in the evenings. Known for her big hats and larger than life personality, Mrs. Pigee led the direct action that registered nearly 6,000 African Americans to vote in the region. Although Pigee was largely left out of the history books, along with many women of the movement, our play Beautiful Agitators and accompanying curriculum revives her legacy, highlighting her methods and tactics. Inspired by the innovative K-12 civil rights education standards developed by the Mississippi Civil Rights Commission. Our commitment is to expand upon the standards by further developing content related to social justice, power relations, environmental justice, diversity, equity, mutual respect, and civic engagement. Beautiful Agitators combines inquiry with higher-order thinking skills of analysis, evaluation and synthesis. Set in a beauty parlor owned and operated by a Black woman in the Mississippi Delta, our curriculum is based on our investigation into primary sources and their relationship to critical moments in the national movement. This foundation of historical context allows for students and educators to find contemporary parallels which further engage learners to reflect upon the legacy of the civil rights movement and the struggles that we, as citizens, continue to grapple with today.View the complete play Beautiful Agitators on the StoryWorks Theater site.Implementation1. Beautiful Agitators Performance Classroom watches a prerecorded, staged reading of the play Beautiful Agitators, which was created and performed by artists from the Mississippi Delta, home of Vera Mae Pigee.2. Lesson Plan Activities Following the eight-lesson plan structure, students will read aloud or act out scenes from the play. This participatory interaction with the text and the historical events promotes a high level of engagement from the students and encourages experiential learning. These activities directly correspond to scenes in the play and to specific content area standards. Teacher leads guided discussions and helps to explain the historical context and theme of each scene. Students/actors have the opportunity to share their experiences having portrayed these historical figures. 

Material Type: Full Course

Mock Constitutional Convention

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This activity gives students the ability to take on the role of the various delegates to the constitutional convention, get to know their beliefs and backgrounds, how they felt about the many issues being debated, what arguments they formulated, and their opinion about the eventual resulting document.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Tom Marabello