This lesson gives an article-by-article overview of the structure and function of the U.S. Constitution. Students learn about the duties and powers of the three branches, the amendment process, and the role of the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. (Note: Anatomy of the Constitution now includes content previously covered by the lesson Directions for Democracy.) LESSON OBJECTIVES: Explain the structure, function, and powers of the U.S. government as established in the Constitution. *Identify the roles of the three branches of government. *Describe the constitutional amendment process. *Interpret the intentions of the Preamble of the Constitution.
iCivics was founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 2009 to ensure that all Americans have the knowledge and will to participate in our unique experiment in self-government. Since then, iCivics has become the nation’s premier non-profit civic education provider of high-quality, non-partisan, engaging, and free resources to more than 9 million students annually, in all 50 states. That equates to the majority of our nation’s middle and high school students. iCivics first-of-its-kind digital civic library includes more than 260 curricular resources, digital literacy tools, professional learning materials, and educational video games in the social studies subject area.
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The United States annexed Texas after years of debate. In this mini-lesson, students learn about Texas' independence from Mexico, the role of slavery in delaying Texas' admission, and the sneaky way President Tyler pushed annexation through in the final hours of his presidency. LESSON OBJECTIVES: Illustrate the boundary claimed by the Republic of Texas after its independence from Mexico. *Depict the Texas boundary defined by Spain in 1805. *Draw the Santa Fe Trail. *Use compass directions, lines of latitude, and meridians to draw features on a map.
Students learn the purpose of appellate-level courts and how those courts operate differently from the trial courts most people are familiar with from watching television. By following the case of a real middle school girl who was strip searched at school, students find out what happens when someone takes a case all the way to the Supreme Court. Through this case, students learn about the structure of the federal court system and the way appellate courts decide cases.
LESSON OBJECTIVES: Explain the purpose of the appellate courts. *Describe how appellate courts work. *Compare the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. *Define the following terms: precedent, opinion, dissent, brief, oral argument, en banc, petition.
Ever tried to win a disagreement? In Argument Wars, you will try out your persuasive abilities by arguing a real Supreme Court case. The other lawyer is your competition. Whoever uses the strongest arguments wins!
Cases include: Bond v. United States; Brown v. Board of Education; Gideon v. Wainwright; Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier; In Re Gault; Miranda v. Arizona; New Jersey v. T.L.O.; Snyder v. Phelps; Texas v. Johnson.
For English and Multilingual Learners: Use the support tool, Spanish translation, voiceover and glossary. LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Analyze the arguments and outcomes of landmark Supreme Court cases Evaluate available arguments to assess whether reasoning is sound and support is relevant or irrelevant Recognize the significance of the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent in deciding cases
Make your students' game play more meaningful by using our activity and assessment set designed specifically for Argument Wars. This easy-to-use Extension Pack helps you give context and purpose to the game, as well as reinforce and assess the game concepts. That means deeper learning for students, and best practices around game-centered learning for you!
Extension Packs require PowerPoint and are designed for use with projectors or interactive whiteboards. LESSON OBJECTIVES: Explore the nature of court cases about constitutional rights *Analyze the kinds of support used to argue a constitutional rights case *Identify appropriate arguments for landmark Supreme Court cases
This lesson presents a crash course in the relationship between money, banks, and lending in our economy. Students first learn the basics about money and banks. Then they then learn about banks' role as lenders and find out why lending plays such a huge role in our economy. Students learn about the Federal Reserve, inflation, and the Fed's role in regulating our economy. Finally, they learn the difference between loans that serve as investments and loans for things that decrease in value, as well as the ugly side of borrowing and lending. LESSON OBJECTIVES: Describe the role of the Federal Reserve as the nation's central bank. *Explain the impact of banks and the Federal Reserve on the money supply and the national economy. *Identify the importance of saving and borrowing in the U.S. *Identify the role of banks in channeling funds from savers to borrowers. *Explain that the government creates currency and coins and that there are additional forms of money. *Describe the advantages and disadvantages of using credit.
This mini-lesson looks at "The First American", Benjamin Franklin. He is the only Founding Father that signed all three major documents that founded the United States of America: the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris in 1783, and the United States Constitution. Students will explore the many roles he took during the founding of America. LESSON OBJECTIVES: Recognize how various individuals and groups contributed to the development of the U.S. government. *Trace the impact of significant events that surrounded the founding of the United States. *Big Ideas: signer of three major U.S. documents, Declaration of Independence, diplomat, Treaty of Paris, Constitution, Join or Die political cartoon
This mini-lesson covers the basics of the Supreme Court's decision that established a school's ability to prohibit inappropriate student language on campus. Students learn about the First Amendment right of free speech, and explore the many different ways the Supreme Court has interpreted it. LESSON OBJECTIVES: Describe the rights protected by the First Amendment *Identify the main arguments put forth in the case *Describe the rationale behind the Supreme Court's decision *Identify different types of speech that are protected by the First Amendment *Evaluate the impact of the Supreme Court's decision on the issue of student expression at school and individuals' rights
Do your students like running things? The new version of Branches of Power allows them to do something that no one else can: control all three branches of the U.S. government. In Branches of Power your students will: Pick leaders for each branch of government; Create a presidential agenda and learn about the executive branch powers; Introduce bills and pass laws out of Congress; Apply judicial review to passed laws. For English and Multilingual Learners: Use the support tool, Spanish translation, voiceover and glossary. LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Simulate the way separation of powers and checks and balances limit government Analyze the structure, functions, and processes of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches Illustrate the law making process at the local, state, and federal levels
Make your students' game play more meaningful by using our activity and assessment set designed specifically for Branches of Power. This easy-to-use Extension Pack helps you give context and purpose to the game, as well as reinforce and assess the game concepts. That means deeper learning for students, and best practices around game-centered learning for you!
Extension Packs slides can be accessed with Google Slides and are designed for use with projectors or interactive whiteboards.
This Extension Pack now includes English language learner (ELL) supports. We've included tips and practice that help make differentiated instruction a breeze. Best of all, new instructional scaffolds now mean this lesson is adaptable for a wide range of learners! LESSON OBJECTIVES: Simulate the way separation of powers and checks and balances limit government *Illustrate the law making process at the local, state, and federal levels *Analyze the structure, functions, and processes of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches
This mini-lesson covers the basics of the Supreme Court's decision that overturned "separate but equal" in public schools. Students learn about segregation and "equality under the law," and they use what they learned to craft compound sentences following a structured format. LESSON OBJECTIVES: Describe segregation and the 14th Amendment "equal protection of the law" *Identify the main arguments put forth in the case. *Describe the Supreme Court's decision and analysis. *Identify the impact of the Court's decision. *Write compound sentences
Every election, candidates spend A LOT of money on their campaign. Do your students know where the candidates get that money and what they spend it on? Do they know how to find out? Use this printable campaign finance infographic/poster to show students the cost of running a campaign, and how the FEC can help hold candidates accountable.
Want a little more bang for your buck? Check out our Money Talks Google Slide deck and guide your students through the infographic with information and discussion for a fuller understanding of campaign finance.
Love this infographic? Explore all of our free election curriculum and teaching resources at our Election Headquarters. LESSON OBJECTIVES: Understand how campaigns are funded and what candidates spend money on *Explore the role and purpose of the FEC in the electoral process
Thousands of bills are introduced in Congress each year, but very few actually become law. So, how does a bill become a law? Use this printable infographic to follow a decision tree through the life and death of a bill in Congress. LESSON OBJECTIVES: Describe how a bill becomes a law *Recall points at which a bill can die in Congress *Identify the members of government involved in the legislative process
In this lesson, students evaluate hypothetical candidates by establishing and applying their own criteria for selecting public officials. Through a variety of activities, students assess political candidates based on their qualifications, experience, campaign speeches and campaign materials. Students track campaign promises, explore voting records and evaluate the legitimacy of information resources. The role of the media, fundraising and opinion polls in the electoral process is also discussed.
Check out our Candidate Report Card activity where students apply the skills they learn in this lesson to current political races.
Love this lesson? Explore all of our free election curriculum and teaching resources at our Election Headquarters. LESSON OBJECTIVES: Establish, explain and apply criteria useful in selecting public officials. *Evaluate political candidates based on their qualifications, experience, speeches and advertisements. *Examine candidates' promises and how they align with the offices they seek and their voting records. *Evaluate information and arguments from various sources. *Identify stands taken by candidates on issues.
Students explore the many roles filled by their county government and the role of county governments in a federalist system. After a close examination of the county, students create their own fictional county! Students are familiarized with fun facts about county government and analyze the transition of county development through the lens of westward expansion.
This resource was created with support from the National Association of Counties. LESSON OBJECTIVES: Identify counties as an extension of state government. *Define Dillon's Rule and Home Rule. *Identify the organizational structures and duties of county government, including the names and functions of county officials. *Identify the types of services counties provide. *Compare counties' revenue sources. *Identify the effect of unfunded mandates on counties.
Election Day is coming, are your students prepared to vote? In our completely reimagined Cast Your Vote, students will discover what it takes to become an informed voter - from knowing where they stand on important issues to uncovering what they need to know about candidates. This new version of Cast Your Vote allows your students to simulate the voting process and: Learn about the importance of local elections, Watch candidates discuss important issues in Town Hall debates, Identify issues that matter to them and rate candidates' stances, Collect their own notes on candidates within an in-game app. For students with visual or mobile impairments: This game offers a keyboard navigation mode, as well as a screen reader to supplement the use of sound effects and voiceover. You can access these tools via the dropdown menu in the top left corner of the game screen.
For English and Multilingual Learners: Use the support tool, Spanish translation, voiceover and glossary. LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Establish, explain and apply criteria useful in selecting political leaders. Evaluate candidates based on their qualifications, experience, voting record, endorsements, and messaging. Evaluate information and arguments from various sources to identify stands taken by candidates on issues. Compare different perspectives and prioritize issues according to personal views.
Students learn that they are citizens at many levels of society: home, school, city, state, and nation! Students create a graphic organizer that diagrams citizen rights and responsibilities at these different levels of citizenship. They also learn the sources of their rights and responsibilities at each level. We recommend following this lesson with the iCivics lesson, "The Global You." LESSON OBJECTIVES: Define citizenship on five levels (home, school, city, state, nation). *Describe key rights and responsibilities of citizens. *Identify the source of rights and responsibilities at each level of citizenship. *Recognize conflict between rights and responsibilities. *Suggest examples of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in their own lives.
This mini-lesson covers the Supreme Court's decision about limiting government restrictions on campaign contributions. Students learn about campaign finance, Super PACs, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (McCain-Feingold Act), and the First Amendment. Students compare campaign tactics, and evaluate the cost and effectiveness of reaching a large audience. LESSON OBJECTIVES: Describe the rights protected by the First Amendment *Identify the main arguments put forth in the case *Define corporations, Super PACs, campaign finance, and the Federal Election Commission *Describe the rationale behind the Supreme Court's decision *Identify the impact of the Supreme Court's decision on political campaigns
The 14th Amendment defined natural born citizenship for the nation. Over a century later, the clause is still making news. This mini-lesson examines the 14th Amendment's Citizenship Clause, explains why it was created, and introduces students to questions raised in political debate around birthright citizenship.
How to use this lesson: Use this lesson by itself or pair it with more iCivics resources, like the Supreme Court cases Elk v. Wilkins (1884) or our lesson Citizenship: Just the Facts. LESSON OBJECTIVES: Identify the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment *Describe a reason the 14th Amendment was created *Describe the rationale behind the Supreme Court's decision *Demonstrate an understanding of key vocabulary in the Citizenship Clause *Identify two ways a person can become a citizen of the United States according to the 14th Amendment
In this lesson, students get the basics of U.S. citizenship. As a foundation for studying the rights and responsibilities of citizens, they'll learn what it means to be a citizen and how people become U.S. citizens. Students also look at related U.S. symbols and traditions, such as the flag, U.S. holidays, and patriotism, and they examine how the right of U.S. citizenship has changed over time.
LESSON OBJECTIVES: Define citizenship *Identify ways to become a U.S. citizen *Describe loyalty and treason *Identify the U.S. national anthem and major U.S. holidays, including Independence Day *List rights and responsibilities of both U.S. citizens and all U.S. residents *Define the Selective Service System *Trace the progress of citizenship and voting rights for different groups over time