Nigeria: Global Studies Units and Lesson Plans from the World Affairs Council

Fish Mummy Overview

Foundations of American Government

The Need for Laws

The Need for Laws

Class Length: 1 Class Meeting


Students will be able to:

1. Determine what role authority plays in society/government.

2. Critically analyze past events and ideas and apply them to their lives today.

3. Develop inquisitive, critical, and appropriate interviewing skills


- Jars of Jelly and Peanut Butter (enough for all students)

- Boxes of Wheat Thins or small crackers (enough for students)

- Plastic knives

Teacher will pose a question to the class:

- How many laws do you follow a day?

After quality discuss is generated and concluded, the teacher will have students describe how they would make a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich on a piece of paper, with step by step instructions.

After students have finished their final drafts of their PB&J instructions, the teacher will set up a table with crackers, jars of PB&J, and plastic knives. The teacher will explain that there are many laws or rules often forgotten, and challenge the students to follow their own instructions and create their PB&J sandwiches. Students will take turns at the table with the supplies, have their instructions read to them, and attempt to make their sandwiches.

Students will notice how many rules or laws of creating a PP&J sandwich they take for granted, miss, or fail to define (e.g. Using your dominant hand, surround the lid of the jelly jar with the inside of your thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers, creating a cusp or “C” (or backwards “C” depending on which hand you are using) around the lid. Your other hand should grasp the base of the jar. Slowly turn the lip counter-clockwise until lid loosens and is removed from the jar. Place lid on the table and release the jar. Grasp plastic knife with dominant-hand, holding the base of the knife in you’re the palm and the serrated side exposed, preparing the knife for dipping and scooping motions.)

Students will become frustrated, amused, and interested in how many steps, rules, laws it takes to follow to do something as simple as make a sandwich.

After all students have tested their own writing and instructions, students will make complete sandwiches to bring to their desk, clean up any messes, and discuss the following activity in a general discussion as they finish their snacks. Students should consider William Golding’s, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain’s, and William Broyles’ (writer of the film Cast Away (2000)) ideas of natural laws and lawless societies (Teacher should refer to previous lesson, The Need For Government—A Cinematic and Literary Perspective).

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