America’s Promises Fulfilled…Or Broken? Unit

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Unit At A Glance

This unit outline is designed for 12th grade students, and focuses on an in-depth understanding of the Constitution.  It culminates in a mock trial in which “jurors” must decide if the United States is guilty of the breaking promises guaranteed in the Constitution.

This unit is designed to address the following California State Board of Education's content standards. See below for specific standards addressed. For more information on the standards, or to see the complete list, please visit:

History-Social Science


Grades Nine & Ten
Listening and Speaking


Grades Eleven & Twelve
English-Language Arts
Grade Twelve
History-Social Science


Click here to get more details on these standards and Common Core information

Big Ideas:

The strength of a democracy is equal to the strength of its citizens

Through actions come change, and change in the political process involves participation.

Essential Questions or Issues:

1. What does it mean to be a citizen?

2. Does legal documentation of citizenship change one’s rights and responsibilities? Should it?

3. Why should we know our rights?

Learners will understand the rights and responsibilities of people living in the U.S., as stated in the Constitution.

I.  Founding Principles

  1. John Locke
  2. Declaration of Independence

II.  Constitutional Rights

  1. Bill of Rights
  2. Amendments

III.  What difference does “having papers” make?

  1. Requirements for legal documentation of citizenship
  2. Naturalization
  3. Rights and responsibilities of legally documented U.S. citizens

IV.  Knowing and Protecting our Rights

  1. Scenarios
  2. Appropriate Responses
  3. Guest Speaker:Immigrant Rights Lawyer

End of Unit Assessment