Current Events and the Constitution

General Description

Lesson Goal(s):
Create informed citizens and encourage civic engagement through the use of digital media by discussing current events in the context of the Constitution.

Essential Question(s):
How can an informed discussion of civic issues lead to better decision making in a community?

Lesson Plan:
  • Students will explore a current event topic with constitutional implications by addressing a discussion post question.
  • Before students may respond to the question they must do some research. Each student is required to look up either a Supreme Court case and or applicable constitutional amendment(s) based on the issue at hand.
  • Students must then search for online media coverage of the issue. At least one pro and one con article must be read and the links for all articles reviewed must be included in their posts.
  • Once students have completed their research they may answer the discussion post question.
  • Upon completion of their informed opinion post students are required to respond to at least one other student’s opinion.
  • The instructor must respond to each student's post. This response cannot be judgmental but should point out interesting points of view, good research, or challenge students by asking them pointed questions that they in turn may respond to as well.

Assessments:

At the end of each quarter (or other time period for a posting cycle) have students look back at the various discussion posts developed by the class.  Students should identify three instances of discussion posts that prompted them to reflect upon, or perhaps even change, their thinking on the issue and complete a written reflection.

For the three instances they identify they should discuss:

  • Their original perspective
  • The new perspective
  • How the informed views of their peers prompted them to revisit their original perspective
  • An explanation of their current perspective on the issue

 

Students should also include in their reflection a response to the following prompt: is community discussion of civic issues important for a society, or should a single body of authority make all final decisions?

Supporting Material(s):
  • Digital Citizenship Contract

Materials and Documents

Quote
All aspects of the institute were wonderful.
- Teacher
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