Can We All Please Just Get Along?: The Rule of Law

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Lesson At A Glance

This lesson concludes a unit that focuses on the need for rules/laws within a society and ultimately within a classroom.


  • Students will understand the importance of the rule of law as evidenced by their creation of a list of rules that can be presented to the class and ultimately agreed upon.

Standards Addressed:

History Social Science

K.1.1  Follow rules, such as sharing and taking turns, and know the consequences of breaking them.

1.1.1  Understand the rule-making process in a direct democracy (everyone votes on the rules) and in a representative democracy (an elected group of people make the rules), giving examples of both systems in their classroom, school, and community.

1.1.2  Understand the elements of fair play and good sportsmanship, respect for the rights and opinions of others, and respect for rules by which we live, including the meaning of the “Golden Rule.”

3.4.2  Discuss the importance of public virtue and the role of citizens, including how to participate in a classroom, in the community, and in civic life.

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects K-5

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading K-5

Key Ideas and Details

1. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

2. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Essential Questions/Issues:

1. What does it mean to be a good citizen in the classroom and school communities?

2. How do my actions affect the classroom and school communities?

3. Why do we have rules and how are they important?

4. What would happen if we didn’t have rules or laws?

5. How are rules created?


Students will be evaluated through informal checks for understanding, participation, and teacher observation during student collaborative work. Students will perform an authentic task.


Activity Steps:

Click here to download activity steps

Purpose Teacher Students
Hook:  Engage Students

5 – 10 minutes

Have a student playing music loudly. Have another student playing with the lights in the classroom. Teacher reads the book "No, David" by David Shannon.  Produce an atmosphere of chaos. Have students draw their favorite scene from the book.

Set: Class Discussion

20 minutes

Ask students how it was trying to listen to the story, while music and lights were on.

How well did they draw their favorite scene?

What made it difficult to focus?

What would have made it easier to focus?

Students will actively participate when called upon.

Partner discussion

Intro:  Review of rules and laws

20 minutes 

Class discussion about rules, laws, and what it means to be a good citizen.

Do we need class rules?

What happens when there are no class rules?

What kind of home rules do you have?

Do you have any personal rules you have set for yourself?

How are rules created?

Students create a list of classroom rules they would like to see implemented.

Pair up with partners and together create a list of 6 rules they feel would best serve the class.

Final:  Presentation   Students present their "rules" and class discusses benefits/problems with the rules.

Class comes up with a master set of rules that all feel they could follow.

Special Needs of students are considered in this lesson:
All students in this class have special needs. There is one visually impaired student and special consideration should be taken into account.

Extension Ideas:
Read "We the Kids" and extend this activity into writing a classroom constitution.

Materials and Resources Needed:

  • student playing loud music
  • additional student flickering lights off/on
  • paper
  • pencils
  • a copy of “No, David” by David Shannon.


  • “No, David” By David Shannon