Lesson Plan: Researching American Democracy
Objectives: The students will
I. identify resources where they can find information regarding the state of American Democracy.
II. compare the Watergate scandal with that of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair
III. review the major elements of the Constitution of the United
Warm Up Activity (Anticipatory Set): Vocabulary: Chapter 4: The Bill of Rights
A) List the some or all of the following vocabulary terms on the overhead
B) These terms come from Chapter 4 of American Civics
|Vocabulary Terms: The Bill of Rights and Amendments to the Constitution|
|Section 1||Sections 2 and 3|
1) Civil Rights
11) List five (5) duties of citizenship
B) Have students use their texts to define these terms in writing and in oral discussion. One might assign cooperative groups two or three terms and have those groups report their definitions to the class as others take notes. Have student groups place their definitions on overhead transparencies and allow the students to teach the class.
C) A Vocabulary Matching exercise is available
for Section One's terms.
|Vocabulary Terms: Chapter Five, Government in America|
|Section 1||Supreme Court Cases|
||Investigate the following cases. Describe the facts
of the case and the Supreme Court's decision in the case.
1) Engel v. Vitale (pg. 146)
Main Activity (Instructional Input): Nixon vs. Clinton
A) Have students investigate How did the Watergate Scandal Challenge the Constitution?
CNN: Investigating the President (An older archive. Some picture and links may not work).
B) After reading the source material, have students list similarities and differences between Watergate and what they know of the Lewinsky affair.
C) Use internet and print articles to illustrate these points. Have students
create this chart in their notebooks. Answers are suggested below and can be
used to guide discussion or for presentation.
Examples (Modeling): Diagram: The Structure of American Government
A) Display the diagram of the three branches of government.
B) Have students use their textbook or the Internet to complete the chart.
Check For Understanding: High Crimes and Misdemeanors
A) Have students locate Article I, Sections 2 and 3, which discuss the procedure, and in Article II, Section 4, which indicates the grounds for impeachment in the Constitution.
B) Have students identify which branch is being checked and which branch holds the power.
C) Ask students if each of the following cases meets the
requirement for impeachment (have students conduct research on the topic or
provide them with the information directly. On-line resources have been supplied
where available :
1. Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Policy (Source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p2959.html)
2. John Tyler vetoed a Tariff Bill. (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9800E2DD173DF937A25751C1A96E958260)
3. Andrew Johnson removed Edwin Stanton in violation of the Tenure of Office Act. (http://www.impeach-andrewjohnson.com/)
4. Harry Truman uses atomic weapons against the Japanese in World War II (The Trial of Harry Truman: http://hnn.us/articles/172.html)
5. George W. Bush launches the Iraq war on faulty pretenses. (http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060130/holtzman)
Homework (Independent Practice): Three Branches In The News
Using newspapers, news broadcasts, or the Internet, have students
find one or more news stories that illustrates the powers of the three
branches and the way they check on each others' powers described in the
activity above. Also, have students create a large diagram of the impeachment
process. As the Congress acts on the Lewinsky scandal, keep track of the
process by posting headlines on the diagram to show where the Congress
is in the process.
Wrap-Up Activity (Closure): Illustrating the Freedoms of the Bill of Rights
A) Have students draw a picture, use magazine articles and photos, or write a poem to illustrate which freedom in the bill of rights they feel is most important to them. Have them right a paragraph about the meaning of the right they chose and have them include an explanation of why they chose those that right.
B) Allow students time to present their poems, illustrations, or artwork
to the class.
Evaluation: The lesson will be evaluated by:
I. the accuracy of student's written responses;
II. student's scores on future tests and quizzes.