This lesson is one that should follow units on the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War and Articles of Confederation. It takes place during the instruction of Article III of the Constitution. Students will understand that how judges acquire their offices and then maintain those positions may affect their ability to be impartial in their judicial decisions. Specifically, students will read and evaluate court cases and the impact the decisions rendered, have had in shaping public opinion against an independent judiciary.
History Social Science
8.2 Students analyze the political principles underlying the U.S. Constitution and compare the enumerated and implied powers of the federal government.
8.2.7 Describe the ways in which the American ideal of constitutionalism preserves individual rights.
8.3 Students understand the foundation of the American political system and the ways in which citizens participate in it.
8.3.6 Describe how the Constitution provides numerous opportunities for citizens to participate in the political process.
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.
2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
10. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
Higher Order Thinking Questions:
Students will be evaluated through informal checks for understanding, teacher observation, self-reflections, and performing an authentic task (GRASP) evaluated by a rubric.
This lesson should be divided into 1 or 2 class periods per teacher discretion and student need. Group-work roles and expectations should have already been discussed, set and used prior to this activity.
|Taking a Stand on Key Questions.
||View evaluate the following questions:|
1. Should judges consider more than just what the law states when making a decision?
2. Should judges be elected into office?
3. Should public opinion influence a judge’s decision?
Students choose a corner of the classroom and take a stand; agree, disagree, strongly agree, and strongly disagree, then verbally support their decision.
Standards, definitions, and goals
|Teacher explains the daily objective.
Explains differences between Federal and State judges, gives worksheet and explains student partner work.
|Student’s copy standards, definitions, and answer prompt into notebook.
Student’s view movies clip and discuss teacher lead questions.
|Miracle on 34th Street movie clip and answer question in notebook.
Students view movie clip and respond to two questions.
|Teacher will give instructions for student essay concerning an independent judiciary.||Students will review their case and notes and begin essay.|
Special Needs of students are considered in this lesson:
Students are put into flexible partnerships that will benefit learning for all types of learners and special needs. Hands-on learning with plenty of visuals, opportunities for movement, verbal, written, and nonverbal expression, and multiple learning modalities are available within the context of this lesson. The opportunity for student choice creates an embedded differentiation opportunity as well as student ownership of learning.
• Students could comment on current issues such as the Prop 8 decision of the court.
• Students may debate the pros and cons of an independent judiciary.
• Students find news articles, of similar issues.
• Students discuss what part fairness plays in the rule of law.
• Students discuss the advantages and disadvantages of no tolerance laws.
Materials and Resources Needed:
Outline of Unit Plan:
This unit is designed to focus on eighth grade standards in Social Science. These include: student learning, analysis, and understanding the basic political principles of the United States Constitution. Students also, begin to develop the ability to assess primary and secondary sources and draw sound conclusions from them.