By Kim Jones, Chairman and CEO, Curriki
Social Studies teachers: Would you like to have fresh new tools in your toolbox this school year to teach civics in a way that will grab your students’ attention and truly engage them? Then you will be glad to hear that Curriki this month is unveiling a wealth of exciting free resources for teaching students about the U.S. government: the Bill of Rights institute’s Voices of History and a new course-based comprehensive High School Civics Course collection.
With these collections, Curriki is answering educators’ calls for free resources that engage students in meaningful civic learning. We are delighted to be able to offer hundreds of new social studies resources for free!
Here’s the scoop on these exciting new collections:
Bill of Rights Institute Collection
The Voices of History collection is part of the Bill of Rights Institute’s innovative, free digital storehouse featuring more than 300 resources, including lesson plans and student handouts. Written by teachers for teachers, the materials use narratives, primary sources, writing assignments, discussion prompts, and other activities.
This collaboration with the Bill of Rights Institute allows us to immensely expand our offerings of learning materials that help civics teachers explore the U.S. government with their students, from inception to today.
Voices of History lessons include:
- Being an American – Students will “connect the dots” by focusing on the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, civic values, American heroes, and exploring the meaning of citizenship to them.
- Heroes and Villains (Source: Pixabay)Heroes and Villains – Heroes and Villains uses narratives to discuss the concepts of civic virtue in all classrooms. Topics range from Alice Paul and perseverance to Benedict Arnold and treason.
- Founders and the Constitution: In Their Own Words – In Their Own Words, introduces students to 24 individuals who had a direct impact on the founding of our constitutional government. Students will explore the lives and ideas of the Founders, analyze their writings, and appreciate each Founder’s role in shaping our government.
- Preserving the Bill of Rights – Students learn Constitutional principles by examining primary source documents and significant Supreme Court cases. In addition, each unit features expanded classroom activities engaging students with the Bill of Rights and the responsibilities of citizenship, such as writing letters to their elected representatives; serving in a mock jury; creating public service announcements; and writing model laws.
- Check the Voices of History portal on the Curriki website for many other resources!
What is the Bill of Rights Institute?
We thought you might ask! The Bill of Rights Institute is a non-profit educational organization that works to engage, educate, and empower individuals with a passion for the freedom and opportunity that exist in a free society. The Institute develops educational resources and programs for a network of more than 50,000 educators and 70,000 students nationwide – now including you!
Curriki’s High School Civics Collection
The study of civics is crucial for young people, because it gives them the conceptual foundation they need for the real-life skill of interpreting their civic experiences.
Curriki’s new curated High School Civics Course collection is huge, with over 100 lesson plans, multimedia resources, teacher’s guides, supplementary materials, assessment ideas, and much more within seven units. You can pick and choose which resources based on your instructional goals and needs of the student population. Resources have been aligned to the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards.
- Unit 1: Foundations of Government – Topics covered include an overview of the types of government, the purpose of government, early governments (Ancient Athens and the Roman Republic), and major documents that contributed to the development of the democratic form of government in the United States.
- Unit 2: The Constitution – Study the founding fathers, the federalist papers, limited government, separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalism.
- Unit 3: The Legislative Branch – Topics covered include an introduction to Congress, the structure and jobs of Congress, congressional representation, gerrymandering, and how a bill becomes a law.
- Unit 4: The Executive Branch– This unit covers the roles and responsibilities of the president, presidential elections and the Electoral College, impeachment, presidential assassinations, and the cabinet departments.
- Unit 5: The Judicial Branch (Civil Rights and Liberties) – This unit includes an overview of the American judicial system and the Supreme Court, and in-depth look at civil rights and liberties.
- Unit 6: State and Local Governments – Topics covered include the basics of state and local governments and the roles of their leaders.
- Unit 7: Comparative Governments – This unit covers sovereign states, civil liberties, governments worldwide, and diplomacy.
We encourage you to adapt the materials to meet your own needs. The collection is designed to accommodate many different students’ learning styles and levels of comprehension.
Civil Discourse Webinar
Curriki also plans to hold a webinar entitled “Civil Discourse in a Republic” on Wed., Sept. 12, at 3 PM ET, to help teachers use historical context to discuss the importance of civility in republican self-government. This webinar will discuss the importance of civil discourse to the health of a republic and provide teachers with tools to foster civil discourse in their classrooms. Register here.
Can’t make the webinar? That’s OK, there will be an archive available, so you can watch it at a time that’s convenient for you.
Kim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki. Kim is active in driving policy initiatives and is regularly featured as an honorary speaker on the impact of technology in education at influential meetings around the world. Learn more at Curriki.org.
Follow Curriki on YouTube — we have a number of fascinating, educational new videos!