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.
OVERVIEW OF LESSON FLOW
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 learn how others are addressing two critical issues of their generation, identify their goals, and create game-changing action plans (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.
EACH LESSON CREATES DEEPER UNDERSTANDING, MEANINGFUL DIALOG AND IDEAS FOR 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Students analyze and discuss basic elements of federal and state Atmospheric Trust Litigation, brought by youth plaintiffs, to gain an understanding of how science and law interface to address complex public problems with multiple perspectives. Students learn ways to engage local government in climate action, identify their goals, and create game-changing action plans.
TEACHING TOOLS INCLUDE
Teachers are fully supported step-by-step with guided materials and engaging media.