Upon which democratic principles is the nation founded? How were the principles of the nation incorporated into its founding documents?
11.1.2 Analyze the ideological origins of the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers’ philosophy of divinely bestowed unalienable natural rights, the debates on the drafting and ratification of the Constitution, and the addition of the Bill of Rights.
English Language Arts
2.5 Analyze an author’s implicit and explicit philosophical assumptions and beliefs about a subject.
Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading Grades 6-12
Key Ideas and Details
1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Higher Order Thinking Questions:
1. What purpose does it serve to have rights for those accused of a crime, to have powers separated out, and to have an amendable government?
2. Does the possibility of a innocent person being sentenced the death penalty:
Students will write a summary of the democratic principles, their importance, and their location in the Constitution in a model museum exhibition. Students will design an exhibit that thoroughly explains one of the principles of the Constitution to the general public through pictures, captions, and quotes.
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Hook: New Yorker Magazine cover (9/9/09) of youth teaching elderly “texting” language
– Death Penalty Lecture
Review the three main themes of the coverage of the Constitution: how does it separate powers, how is it or has it been amended, and what rights does it include for the accused. Discuss that death penalty relates to each of these themes
State criminal courts issue death penalty, people can appeal to the Supreme Court
Amendments protect death row inmates
Most states have a “super due process” that involves many stages before a death row inmate is executed
Handout “Trial By Fire” and go over the “6 C’s” of the article
– New Yorker is a somewhat liberal magazine; liberals tend not to favor the death penalty
• Begin to read the circumstances of the case for death row inmate, Tod Wilingham
• This will be used throughout the lesson to draw back to the themes of the Constitution and to give students a story to connect to
Hook: “What would BdM say?”
Give the following scenarios and students have to identify if this is an example of powers being separated and powers being concentrated in one individual.
– Separation of Powers Review
“Trial By Fire” connection-
Hook: Police Officer Visit
Arrange for a local police officer to come to the class and discuss with students the ways in which s/he is bound by the rights of those s/he investigates and/or arrests; have officer discuss how court and judges view officers (are they on the same side?)
– Rights of the Accused Review (Constitutional Protections of Justice PPT)
Hook: Be flexible or not?
Provide students with the following scenarios and ask them if they think the teacher should be flexible or if they think the teacher should not budge.
– Amendments Review (Amendability PPT)
Museum Project Work (Museum Project Instructions and Rubric DOCs)
Special Needs of students are considered in this lesson:
Each of the lesson “hooks” provide for students who are not as academically inclined to have an experience to draw on that relates to the content. The teacher can use the New Yorker article “Trial By Fire” in whatever way will suit the reading level of his/her students best; a summary of the article might be required or students could be instructed to skip over certain parts of the article. Vocabulary could be front-loaded as well.
The museum project will appeal to a wide variety of skill levels and learning aptitudes. Most effective in reaching students of all learning needs will be to provide students with models of the project. In completing the project, kinesthetic learners (who tend to also be the students who struggle in the traditional educational environment) will enjoy the “interactive” piece of the project as this will allow them to create a relevant artifact or envision a computer program that would display the information they want to teach.
Students can research the current status of the death penalty debate in California, particularly over the issue of whether or not lethal injection is “cruel and unusual.” Have students prepare to debate for and against California’s current practice of using lethal injection.
Materials and Resources Needed:
Outline of Unit Plan:
This is the second part of a unit designed for 11th grade, based on the overall question: Upon which democratic principles is the nation founded? The first part of the unit asked, What were the principles at the founding of the nation? The second part is now asking, How were the principles of the nation incorporated into its founding documents? The next part of the unit will be what tests to the Constitution did the early nation face?
Context of the lesson within the unit:
Students already have a deep understanding of the powers of the three branches of government, of the Greco-Roman, Enlightenment, and English rights and influences on the Constitution, and of the Reasons and causes for the American Revolution. This lesson is an assessment piece that provides a little more depth and covers the Constitution thematically and falls before the unit exam.
Standards Addressed in the Unit: History Social Science
11.1 Students analyze the significant events in the founding of the nation and its attempts to realize the philosophy of government described in the Declaration of independence.