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Teachers' Edition: Grades 3-6 (Lesson Plans)

  • Environmentalism

    by Diane Steiker

    Download this lesson plan as a Word document Download the handout for this lesson plan Download the PowerPoint for this lesson planThis lesson is envisioned as a two-day lesson, which can be extended to a third day, by including an additional day of preparation for the consensus building exercise, and another day for including the New Thinking on Climate Crisis enrichment video.Common Core Standards Correlation:English Language Arts Standards - History/Social Studies - Grades 6-8:Key Ideas and Details: RH.6-8.1. RH.6-8.2. RH.6-8.3.Craft and Structure: RH.6-8.4. RH.6-8.5. RH.6-8.6.Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:RH.6-8.7.Readings/Resources:

  • Taxes

    by Diane Steiker

    This lesson is envisioned as a three-day lesson that includes the HNN fact sheet, an article, video link, and handoutCommon Core Standards Correlation:Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies Grades 9 – 12: standards 1 – 4, and 6 – 9Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies Grades 9 – 12: standards 1 - 9Readings/Resources: HNN backgrounder; Interactive 1040EZ Form (PDF); article Seeking a Simpler Tax Code, by David Herszenhorn; Mark Fiore video on tax policy, handout Debate Research Preparation.Objectives:  SWBAT

  • Gun Control

    by Zografia Polemikos

    Duration:  One 35-45 minute lesson.Goal:Students will understand the topic of gun control and express their opinions through a RAFT assignment. Students will participate in a lock down drill and understand the procedures.Objectives:By completing a RAFT assignment, students will identify the two major positions on gun control.Essential Question: How can gun violence be reduced?Procedures:Attention Getter:  Tell students that in 2012 alone, almost 450 people in Chicago died from something. Have them guess what it could be. After a few guesses have been made, tell students that these deaths were from gun violence. (For more information, see this article from the Chicago Sun-Times)Main Lesson:

  • Social Security

    by Zografia Polemikos

    Download this lesson plan as a Word documentDuration:  One 35-45 minute lesson.Goal:Students will understand the modern political issues associated with Social Security.Objectives:By completing a written response at the end of the lesson, students will be able to show understanding of political issues associated with Social Security.Students will participate in a Social Security simulation.Essential Question: What are the financial problems with Social Security?NCSS Themes:Theme 10- Civic Ideals and PracticesProcedures:Attention Getter: 

  • Deficits and the Debt Ceiling

    by Diane Steiker

    Download this lesson plan as a Word documentThe first day of the lesson reviews the general causes, characteristics and proposed solutions to the debt crisis. This first lesson, which could easily extend to a two-day lesson, would then provide the basic substance for developing a Public Service Announcement (PSA) project that would require two days of class-time group work for planning. The project would be completed outside of class. When the project is completed, an additional day would be needed for presentations of each group’s video or poster project. Common Core Standards Correlation: Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies Grades 9-12: standards 1-4, and 6-9 Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies Grades 9-12: standards 1-9 Readings/Resources:

  • Presidential Inaugurations

    by Zografia Polemikos

    Download this lesson plan as a Word documentDuration:  One 35-45 minute lesson.Goal:Students will understand the purpose of inauguration day and the meaning of the events that occur.Objectives:Students will be able to identify what takes place during an inauguration.Students will be able to show understanding of inauguration day by writing their own inauguration speeches.Essential Question: What goes on during a presidential inauguration?NCSS Themes:Theme 10- Civic Ideals and PracticesProcedures:Attention Getter:

  • What Does the President Actually Do?

    by Zografia Polemikos

    Download this lesson plan as a Word document Duration: One 40-50 minute lesson.Goal: Students will understand various parts of the president’s job description.Objectives: Students will be able to identify the roles of the president.Students will be able to compare the role of the president to their hypothetical role of being “president of the classroom.”Essential Question: What does the president do?NCSS Themes:Theme 5- Individuals, groups, and institutionsTheme 10- Civic Ideals and PracticesProcedures:

  • What Does the Vice President Actually Do?

    Download this lesson plan as a Word documentThis lesson is envisioned as a two-day lesson or a one 90-minute block teaching session that include the HNN backgrounder, articles, political cartoons, and video. There is also an optional day three “debate session” to help student’s process and synthesize the material.Common Core Standards Correlation:Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies Grades 9-12: standards 1-4, and 6-9Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies Grades 9-12: standards 1-9Readings/Resources:

  • Electing the President: Who Has the Right to Vote?

    by Diane Steiker

    Download this lesson plan as a Word document Download the handout for this lesson plan Common Core Standards Correlation:English Language Arts Standards - History/Social Studies - Grades 6-8:Key Ideas and Details: RH.6-8.1. RH.6-8.2. RH.6-8.3.Craft and Structure: RH.6-8.4. RH.6-8.5. RH.6-8.6.Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:RH.6-8.7.Readings/Resources:

  • Electing the President: Who Actually Votes?

    by Zografia Polemikos

    Download this lesson plan as a Word documentDownload the supplemental materials for this lesson planDuration:  One 40-50 minute lesson.Goal: Students will understand the differing national voting characteristics of various groups in America.Objectives:Students will be able to identify characteristics of the average voter.Students will be able to predict if a person will vote in the presidential elections based on given statistics.Essential Question: Who typically votes in America?NCSS Themes:Theme 5 -- Individuals, groups, and institutionsTheme 10 -- Civic Ideals and PracticesProcedures:Attention Getter:

  • Electing the President: What Makes for a Great President?

    by Diane Steiker

    Download this lesson plan as a Word documentDownload the Constitution appendix for this lesson planDownload the optional Electoral College appendix for this lesson planThis topic is supported by a variety of lessons over a two-week period, with each topic building on the other.Common Core Standards Correlation:English Language Arts Standards - History/Social Studies - Grades 6-8:Key Ideas and Details:RH.6-8.1. RH.6-8.2. RH.6-8.3.Craft and Structure:RH.6-8.4. RH.6-8.5. RH.6-8.6.Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:RH.6-8.7.Readings/Resources:

  • Electing the President: Voter Apathy

    Download this lesson plan as a Word documentKey Concepts: participatory democracy; electoral politicsDuration: two (2) double-blocks (middle and high school), four (4) class periods (elementary school) Goal: Students will understand the relationship between electoral engagement and political theory.Objective: Students will learn how the form and function of representative government determines the degree voter apathy in a democratic system.Essential Question: Does voter apathy decrease if a parliamentary (proportional) system of government replaces a congressional (winner-take-all) system?Common Core Standards Met: CCR English Language Arts Standards 7-10

  • Syria

    Download this lesson plan as a Word documentKey Concepts: international relations, foreign interventionDuration: two (2) double-blocks (middle and high school), four (4) class periods (elementary school)Goal: Students will understand the decision-making process behind foreign intervention in the domestic affairs of countries experiencing political upheaval.Objective: Students will learn how decisions to intervene in the internal affairs of another state are arrived at by the international community.Essential Question: When is intervention in the affairs of another country warranted?Common Core Standards Met: CCR English Language Arts Standards 7-1021st-Century Skills Employed: Global AwarenessProceduresSession One:

  • Electing the President: How Do You Make Up Your Mind?

    Download the PowerPoint for this lesson planDownload the President Detective worksheet for this lesson planPresident Detective- When you are voting for a President what factors should you consider? Key concepts:Duration:  Multiple activities are provided depending on which activities you choose the lesson may be one 45-minute session to two 45-minute sessions.Goal:Students will understand that choosing a President will require thoughtful analysis of their personal preferences, who is telling the truth, complicated issues and their willingness to look for answers.Objectives: Students will be able to discuss issues, understand their personal preferences, compare and contrast different opinions based on facts, and match candidate’s platforms with their own priorities.

  • Iran

    Key Concepts: international relations, nuclear proliferationDuration: two (2) double-blocks (middle and high school), four (4) class periods (elementary school)Goal: Students will understand how diplomacy functions with regard to the effort to control nuclear proliferation.Objective: Students will learn about the Iranian nuclear program and the diplomatic response to the alleged attempts by Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability.Essential Question: Can the U.S. stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon?  Should it even try?Common Core Standards Met: CCR English Language Arts Standards 7-1021st-Century Skills Employed: Civic LiteracyProceduresSession One: Introduce topic and question, then direct students to read the following online articles: 

  • Electing the President: Caucuses and Primaries

    Download this lesson plan as a Word documentKey Concepts: political interest groups, representative democracy, two-party systemDuration: two (2) double-blocks (middle and high school), four (4) class periods (elementary school)Goal: Students will understand how the American two-party system functions to accommodate interests that in other democratic countries are served by the multi-party parliamentary system..Objective: Students will learn the process by which American presidents are selected and how that process functionally incorporates disparate political interests into a single governmental whole..Essential Question: In a country with so many different political differences, factions, and interest groups, how is it that America routinely succeeds in selecting presidents capable of asserting executive power in a manner that is acceptable or at least tolerable for most citizens?

  • North Korea

    Download this lesson plan as a Word document Download the PowerPoint for this lesson plan Key concepts: Succession of Kim Jong-Un, North Korea and the world, North Korea and its relationship with South Korea including the Korean WarDuration: Multiple activities are provided depending on which activities you choose the lesson may be one 45-minute session to three 45-minute sessions. (The group activity will take one session.)Goal: Students will understand the political situation in North Korea and how it affects the world.

  • Occupy Wall Street

    Key Concepts:  direct democracy, popular right to assemble, redress of grievances in a democratic orderDuration:  two (2) double-blocks (middle and high school), four (4) class periods (elementary school)Goal:  Students will understand the social and political limits placed on central components of American democracy while differentiating between representative and direct democracy.Objective:  Students will compare and contrast the current Occupy Wall St. protest tactic of establishing encampments in public spaces with similar tactics employed by the Bonus Army of 1932, noting similarities and differences in the means and ends of both groups.Essential Question:  Does the occupation of public space offer a successful vehicle for protest, given the nature of representative democracy and the legal limits placed on the rights to assemble and petition for redress of grievances enshrined in the Bill of Rights?

  • Tea Party

    Download this lesson plan as a Word document Download the PowerPoint for this lesson planKey concepts:  Boston Tea Party vs. Tea Party 2009, Preamble of the Constitution, constitutional concepts of “originalism” vs. “living document,” Section 1 Article 8 of the Constitution, Grassroots Activism, Social Media in Elections Duration:  Multiple activities are provided; depending on which activities you choose the lesson may be one 45-minute session to three 45-minute sessions.Goal:  Students will understand how political movements are created, organized and influence American politics.

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