Duties of Citizenship: Jury Duty

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Lesson At A Glance

This is lesson twelve of the United States Constitution unit.  It is important that students understand that being an active citizen in a democratic government is not only a key aspect of having a successful government but is an integral part of leading a fulfilling and productive life.  Once the concept of citizenship is understood, lesson regarding the government’s role should soon follow.  This lesson would be directly after a short lecture or presentation on the requirements to becoming a citizen of the United States.  Students would already be familiar with citizenship by birth and the naturalization process.


  • Students will be exposed to the various forms of civic duty.
  • Students will be able to evaluate what type of citizen they currently are and the type of citizen their parents are.
  • Students will evaluate what they believe are the most important civic duty for a democratic society to exist.
  • Students will gain a background on the importance of Jury Duty and what lawyers look for in selecting juries.

Standards Addressed: 

History-Social Studies

12.2 Students evaluate and take and defend positions on the scope and limits of rights and obligations as democratic citizens, the relationships among them, and how they are secured. 

Discuss the individual's legal obligations to obey the law, serve as a juror, and pay taxes.

12.2.4  Understand the obligations of civic-mindedness, including voting, being informed on civic issues, volunteering and performing public service, and serving in the military or alternative service.

12.2.6 Explain how one becomes a citizen of the United States, including the process of naturalization (e.g., literacy, language, and other requirements).

Students evaluate and take and defend positions on what the fundamental values and principles of civil society are (i.e., the autonomous sphere of voluntary personal, social, and economic relations that are not part of government), their interdependence, and the meaning and importance of those values and principles for a free society. 

12.3.4 Compare the relationship of government and civil society in constitutional democracies to the relationship of government and civil society in authoritarian and totalitarian regimes.

Students analyze the origins, characteristics, and development of different political systems across time, with emphasis on the quest for political democracy, its advances, and its obstacles.

12.9.3 Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of federal, confederacy, and unitary systems of government.

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects Grades 11-12 Students

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

7.      Evaluate the hypotheses, data, analysis, and conclusions in a science or technical text, verifying the data when possible and corroborating or challenging conclusions with other sources of information.

Key Ideas and Details

1.      Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

Craft and Structure

4.      Analyze how the text structures information or ideas into categories or hierarchies, demonstrating understanding of the information or ideas.

Essential Questions/Issues:

  • Why is it important to be an active citizen?
  • What are the most important responsibilities of a citizen?
  • Why do some individuals shirk civic responsibility?

Higher Order Thinking Questions:

1. What is your role today in your community?  What type of citizen have you been for your community? (Analysis)
2.  Please rank in order what you believe are the most important civic duties a person should partake in? (Evaluation)
3. If you were to create the perfect citizen what type of person would they be? (Application)
4.  If you were a lawyer picking a jury what type of citizens would you want on your jury? (Analysis, prediction) 


Students will be evaluated through informal checks for understanding, teacher observation, self-reflections, and performing an authentic task (GRASP) evaluated by a rubric.

Click here to download assessment tools.

Activity Steps:

Click here to download activity steps

 Day 1

Purpose Teacher Students
Engage students

10 minutes

Hand out the Primary Resource and participate in the Divided Image activity.


Divide the jury room picture into quarters. Give the students one quadrant of the picture and have them analyze only that piece.  Continue to give them quadrants until the entire jury room picture is put together 

Will sit in groups of 2 or 3 and will analyze a quadrant of a full picture. 

Students will analyze every aspect of that quadrant and then make a prediction on what is happening in the picture. 

Students will continue this process until the picture is completed. 

20 minutes


10 minutes

Teacher will ask the students why they think they are seeing a picture of a jury room. 


Teacher will guide them toward civic responsibility. 


Teacher will then brainstorm out loud with students what they think are duties that citizens have in our democracy. (teacher records answer on board)


Teacher will hand out the Student citizenship questionnaire.

Student brainstorm ideas of what is a civic duty.




Students will fill out questionnaire individually.

30 minutes

Teacher will ask the students to sit in their group and rank what they believe are the 5 most important civic duties on the citizenship questionnaire. 


Teacher will go to each group and have them reveal what they think is the most important civic duty.  Teacher will ask prompting questions to generate discussion.


Teacher will hand out the parent questionnaires and have the students give them to their parents. Students must ask their parents to rank their top 3 and why.

Students will discuss and rank the 5 most important duties in their opinion.


Students will reveal their top 5 civic duties and give concrete reasons why they rank them in that order and why they left some of their top 5.

Students will prompt discussion at home with their parents about their parents’ citizenship.


Purpose  Teacher  Students
Engage students
5 minutes 
Quick discussion on the Parent Questionnaires    Students will reveal their parent rankings
10 minutes


10 minutes

Teacher will have the students remember back to the jury divided image.  Teacher will ask students to reveal anything they think they know about juries. 


Teacher will give the back ground of jury duty. Discussion topics could be:  Make up of juries, how a citizen is called to jury service, roles of a jury in a trial, how a jury deliberates, etc.

Teacher will divide the class in half; one side will be for the defense and one for the prosecution. Then the teacher will instruct the students in each half to form groups of 2-3

Teacher will intro how to play the jury selection game. 

Student brainstorm ideas about jury service.





Students will listen to how the jury selection game is played and then will fill out their Jury Outline sheet.


Jury selection Game

40 minutes








Once the students fill out their jury outline sheet. The Teacher will direct the students to choose their 12 potential jurors and choose 2 Jurors they would like to strike.


Once this is done the teacher will then tell each half of the class that they will have to work together to generate their Jury. Teacher will generate discussion questions about the student choices.


Teacher will reveal the hidden values of each juror.  The side with the most points will win the game.


Teacher will hand out the 3 differentiated essay prompts for the students to complete about citizenship. 

Students fill out the work sheet and then discuss which jury members are good or bad for their side.


The defense side and the prosecution side will work separately to create their list of Jurors they like and Jurors they will strike.


Students will choose one of the 3 essay prompts.


Special needs of students are considered in this lesson: 

This lesson provides the teacher the flexibility to choose one the three essay prompts for each level of student.  Students also have flexibility in their choice of essay prompts as well.  The more difficult the essay they choose the higher grade they could earn.

Extension Ideas: 

Teacher can invite guest speakers in such as citizens who have served on juries to discuss their experience.  Lawyers can also be invited to give more in depth experience on what they look for in potential jurors.

Teacher can encourage students to visit a courtroom to watch a trial or view jury selection in process. 

Materials and Resources Needed:

  • Computer
  • LCD projector
  • PowerPoint
  • handouts
  • Whiteboard
  • dry erase pens


Outline of Unit Plan:

United States Constitution