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Groups become experts in one aspect of the six traits of writing, prepare a PowerPoint presentation, jigsaw, and teach others about their trait. Writers then focus on these traits as they compose a persuasive essay about a person they consider to be an American hero. Lists of Three Letter Acronyms (TLAs) and Extended Three Letter Acronyms (ETLAs) often found on the Internet, as well as lists of palindromes and oxymorons are also included. 17 lessons are contained in the unit.
Young scholars explore African American history by researching the Jim Crow laws. In this Civil Rights lesson, students define the Jim Crow laws, the reasons they were put into place, and how they were ultimately defeated. Young scholars write a paper about the volatile era between 1870 and 1960 and paint an image that reflects a political message about the unjust laws.
Determine how African-Americans have broken barriers in this history lesson. Middle schoolers discuss the 15th Amendment and the American civil rights movement prior to analyzing Barack Obama's speech "A More Perfect Union," taking care to evaluate the speaker's argument. Then they compose essays of their own regarding social change.
Students read a fact sheet about homelessness in the U.S. and Texas. In this homelessness awareness lesson, students design a budget based on minimum wage earnings and evaluate how basic needs can be met. Students discuss and write about the challenges faced by low-income earners and optionally participate in community service to assist the homeless.
Students investigate how different democracies treat juvenile offenders as well as compare/contrast the juvenile and adult justice systems in their own democracy. In addition, individually and as a group, they determine whether juvenile offenders should be prosecuted and punished as adults. They support their choices with evidence and sound reasoning.
Students examine the major decisions by the Supreme Court when Warren was the Chief Justice. In groups, they research the life and other works of Earl Warren and discuss how ones background can influence decisions. They also examine the two cases of Brown v. Board of Education and those cases affecting criminal procedures.
Examine the results of recent opinion polls on where people stand on the issue of the death penalty. In groups, middle schoolers examine various cases dealing with this issue and discuss the judgments. They write their own argument for or against the death penalty and participate in a debate to end the lesson.
Students are introduced to the characteristics of rape. As a class, they identify statements as either facts or myths about rape. In groups, they complete a survey to identify their own perceptions about rape and compare them with other classmates. They develop their own responses if they are threatened by a rapist and determine the emotional needs of a victim to end the lesson.
Eighth graders examine the use of video surveillance in the corporate world and other life situations. In groups, they determine how many times and in what situations they believe they are being watched. They use the Constitution to identify any part of it that might protect them. To end the lesson plan, they determine the differences between security and privacy.
Students examine how diversity within populations has caused problems. In groups, they develop their own definitions of racism and discrimination. They participate in role-plays in which they gather the appropriate techniques to deal with racist situations in school. To end the instructional activity, they examine the factors that one can use to reduce racism and how to eliminate barriers of discrimination and rasicm.
Students define arrest and detainment, examine hypothetical situations to determine if warrantless arrest/detainment is reasonable based on information available to police, discuss differences between hunch, suspicion, reasonable suspicion, and probably cause, and role play scenarios to know what to do and what not to do if ever arrested.
Students examine goals of two major theories of punishment, Utilitarian Theory and Retributive Theory, develop opinions about ethics and effectiveness of both theories, define legal duties of prosecutors and public defenders, and discuss their respective burdens at trial. Students then evaluate different negotiating techniques and identify areas for improvement.
Sixth graders study restorative justice. In this government lesson, 6th graders discuss restorative justice, examine the ways restitution can be made when a crime occurs, and write about a conflict at home or school and describe how it could be solved by making sure that the solution is mutually acceptable to all involved.