Civic Education - Standards-Based Units of Study and Lesson Plans

Published: 3/21/2014 10:48 AM

Civic Education - Standards-Based Units of Study and Lesson Plans

 

American Origins and Branches of Government
The American Origins and Branches of Government unit consists of 9 lessons organized around the question, "How do American origins and branches of government influence our democracy today”? Prior to the implementation of this unit, students will complete an entry level assessment aligned to the end of unit assessment to gauge their prior knowledge of American origins and branches of government. Students will also complete a civic disposition pre-assessment measuring their understanding, demonstration and/or advocacy of civic dispositions targeted in the unit. Throughout this unit, students will self-assess their performance of the civic dispositions targeted in each lesson. Students explore why the U.S. Constitution is considered to be a social contract codified by laws between the people of the United States and the government and why the framers of the U.S. Constitution organized the government into three branches with powers that are separated, shared, checked and balanced. Students will gain a greater understanding of the Constitution by analyzing and comparing the Constitution to an existing organization’s governance document(s). The end of unit assessment will ask students to explain how the selected organization’s governance document reflects: principles of democracy, influences of individuals, political theories and political documents on the organization, structure and powers within the organization, and how and why the governance polices can/cannot change within the organization.
 
Forms and Powers of Government
The Forms and Powers of Government is a unit consisting of 3 lessons (two lessons and a third optional lesson) organized around the big idea, “Students will understand that the structure and purposes of governments influence how governments respond to protect their existence and needs of their citizens”. Prior to the implementation of this unit, students will complete an entry level assessment aligned to the end of unit assessment to gauge their prior knowledge of forms and powers of government. Students will also complete a civic disposition pre-assessment measuring their understanding, demonstration and/or advocacy of civic dispositions targeted in the unit. Throughout this unit, students will self-assess their performance of the civic dispositions targeted in each lesson. Students explore how the needs and wants of people shape the structure and purposes of a government, how governments have used different sources (e.g., documents, national symbols, language) to represent powers, leaders and individuals, and how societal changes impact the structure and purposes of governments. In the end of unit assessment, students will develop a proposal for the best way to govern high schools of the 21st century based on knowledge of past and existing forms, purposes and powers of governments and present their proposal to a town hall meeting.
 
Federalism
The Federalism unit consists of 5 lessons organized around the question, “How does federalism support a democracy”? Prior to the implementation of this unit, students will complete an entry level assessment aligned to the end of unit assessment to gauge their prior knowledge of federalism. Students will also complete a civic disposition pre-assessment measuring their understanding, demonstration and/or advocacy of civic dispositions targeted in the unit. Throughout this unit, students will self-assess their performance of the civic dispositions targeted in each lesson. Students explore how federalism, under the U.S. Constitution and Kentucky Constitution, reflects purposes, values and principles of American Representative Democracy, how powers are distributed and shared between the national government and Kentucky’s government and how conflicts and compromises (e.g., issues, court cases, policies, legislation and funding) can arise between local, state and federal governments in order to meet the needs of citizens and protect the “common good”. Through the end of unit assessment, students will gain a greater understanding of federalism in the United States by researching and analyzing important issues within the local community. Students will then create a citizen’s guide to help inform the community about who is responsible within the government and what level of government is responsible for addressing identified issues of the community.
 
Rights, Responsibilities and Duties
Rights, Responsibilities, and Duties of Individuals, a unit consisting of 3 lessons, is organized around the question, “How are the rights, responsibilities, and duties of individuals critical to the preservation of American representative democracy”? Prior to the implementation of this unit, students will complete an entry level assessment aligned to the end of unit assessment to gauge their prior knowledge of rights, responsibilities and duties. Students will also complete a civic disposition pre-assessment measuring their understanding, demonstration and/or advocacy of civic dispositions targeted in the unit. Throughout this unit, students will self-assess their performance of the civic dispositions targeted in each lesson. Students will explore the role of young people in sustaining American representative democracy, the meaning of being a responsible participant in a democracy and how American representative democracy can resolve conflicts between the protection of individual rights and the promotion of the common good. Through the end of unit assessment, students will gain a greater understanding of a contemporary issue or societal problem explored throughout their studies on the rights, responsibilities and duties of individuals and create an analytical writing piece that develops a strategy for addressing the issue through civic engagement. Students then submit their analytical writing piece to an appropriate newspaper, magazine, internet site or other form of media for publication.

International Relations
The International Relations unit consists of 4 lessons organized around the question, “How can I contribute to living in a just world”? Prior to the implementation of this unit, students will complete an entry level assessment aligned to the end of unit assessment to gauge their prior knowledge of international relations. Students will also complete a civic disposition pre-assessment measuring their understanding, demonstration and/or advocacy of civic dispositions targeted in the unit. Throughout this unit, students will self-assess their performance of the civic dispositions targeted in each lesson. The leading theories of international relations are introduced to students to gain a deeper understanding of how the international system functions and how the various actors in the system interact using four sources of power (social, political, economic, military) to contribute/not contribute to a just world. Students are introduced to steps involved in writing a case study through an examination of the Holocaust, using a case study template similar to the one they will use later for their own case study in the end of unit assessment. Students bring exposure to an international issue related to the environment, health, economics, human rights, or other topics developed by the class/teacher through the end of unit assessment. Students research the issue in question, complete a case study template, and design a strategy of influence that will draw attention to the issue through a chosen mean.
 
Civic Dispositions Mini-Unit
The civic dispositions mini-unit consists of 5 days of instruction and is organized around the question "How can I assist in promoting a vibrant American representative democracy and the common good by practicing and promoting civic dispositions?" In this mini-unit the students will work together to define and provide examples of civic dispositions and then complete a civic dispositions pre-assessment measuring their understanding, demonstration, and/or advocacy of all of the high school civic dispositions. Students will also self-assess their ability and that of others to demonstrate civic dispositions and reflect on the results as the mini-unit continues. Students will complete a choice board assessment to inform the audience about civic dispositions, illustrate ways individuals can demonstrate and advocate civic dispositions, and comment on the possible impact civic dispositions can have on the school and/or society to promote a vibrant democracy. This lesson may be implemented at the beginning of the school year or semester to introduce civic dispositions to students.
 
Link to Lesson Plans on the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Ratification of the Constitution, Federalist and Antifederalist Papers and Bill of Rights
To assist teachers in teaching the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Ratification of the Constitution, Federalist and Antifederalist Papers and Bill of Rights, Professor Gordon Lloyd of Pepperdine University has created several websites in collaboration with the Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University that address this content. Natalie Bolton and Gordon Lloyd have written lesson plans that align and use the content on the websites. The lesson plans are intended to be used by high school students but may be adapted to address other learners.
Jennifer Fraker
Office of Next-Generation Learners
Division of Program Standards
500 Mero Street, 18th Floor CPT
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-2106
Fax (502) 564-9848