Inspiring youth to engage in activating democracy and emerge as game changers



To survive and thrive, democracy must be a work in progress. Yet civics is usually taught as a static set of information that seems fixed and settled. Ultimate Civics has developed Activating My Democracy as a dynamic way to turn your students onto the active power of civics, as fluid and adaptive instructions for engaged citizens to support a living democracy. 

(1) Move ideas into action; (2) Understand values and liberties (3) Understand rights, privileges, and the balance of power; (4) Trace the historic roots of the democracy crisis in current events; (5) Repair a democracy and protect our liberties; and (6) Exercise our rights to defend what we love.


Tools + Rules = Game Changers

TOOLS:  Students learn tools and skills available to citizens for understanding and protecting our wealth and liberties in a constitutional democracy (lessons 1 and 2).

RULES:  Students learn basic concepts and structure of government in principle and practice through lens of landmark laws that have shaped our society (lessons 3 and 4).

GAME CHANGERS:  Students explore two critical issues of their generation and what they might do to create game-changing action plans to support ongoing efforts (lessons 5 and 6).

Lesson Plan Content
Each 50-minute lesson plan is supported with power point notes and slides, short film clips, worksheets for students, worksheet guides for teachers, and resources. Lessons 5 and 6 also provide extension ideas and resources for teachers to support youth who want to create and conduct their own action plan as a class or independent project.

Students compare and contrast ways of doing business that are aligned with human values and for-profit values underlying the GDP-based economy. Students examine methods to engage government in protecting liberties through petitions, initiatives, and amendments, then work together to identify their goals, and create game-changing action plans.


Lesson 1:
What can we do?
How to move ideas into action

Students analyze and discuss film stories to identify basic elements of SMART action plans created and implemented by their peers. Peer learning and interactive exercises nurture self-efficacy and support the role of young citizens in creating a more sustainable and democratic society.

Lesson 2:
This is right on so many levels!
Understanding wealth and liberties

Students explore and articulate what they value, then examine how the value-based liberties and principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence were moved into legal protections through the Bill of Rights. Using select current events, students learn how, and how well, our rights work to defend our wealth and wellbeing and to curb government abuse of power.

Lesson 3:
Rights and privileges
Understanding the balance of power

Students critically examine the conceptual framework of the Constitution and its strengths and weaknesses. Students explore the early government’s dilemma of how to interpret the Constitution and where to fit corporations into the legal framework. An interactive timeline with key laws challenges students to reflect on the shifting balance of rights, powers, and privileges during the first 100 years.

Lesson 4:
Who rules? The democracy crisis

Following a narrative thread in the interactive timeline, students explore how internal weaknesses from fear/discrimination and greed/consolidation of power have expressed through key laws and how these laws and stories behind them shaped society during the second 130 years. Students trace the roots of corporate power and government abuses to current issues.

Lesson 5:
Real people to the rescue
How to protect our liberties

Students explore reasons and ways to amend the Constitution to establish that only natural persons have inalienable rights and that money is not speech. A film and interactive exercises help students understand and describe what a constitutional amendment could do, the social consequences with – and without – such an amendment, and how citizens can engage government in this process.

Lesson 6:
Our future is a constitutional right!
How to use our rights to defend what we love

Students examine and discuss elements of landmark climate cases brought by youth plaintiffs in federal and state courts. Using an interactive exercise, students explore how values and harm to personal wellbeing determine “standing” in a court of law. Students examine select legal rights and the Public Trust Doctrine to gain an understanding of how values, law, and science interface to address complex public problems with multiple perspectives.


Teachers are fully supported step-by-step with guided materials and engaging media.








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