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

ACTIVATING MY DEMOCRACY

COURSE OVERVIEW

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.

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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 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 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. Time for each lesson varies.

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.

EACH LESSON CREATES DEEPER UNDERSTANDING, MEANINGFUL DIALOG AND IDEAS FOR ACTION

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. (Time: 50 minutes)

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, Bill of Rights, and Civil War Amendments to understand how internal threats from fear of other and love of power were institutionalized in these documents. Students are introduced to a new threat created through judge-made law and the court’s role in shifting the balance of power during the first 100 years. (Time: 100 minutes)

Lesson 4:
Who rules? The democracy crisis
UNDERSTANDING THE JOURNEY

Students explore how legal and social consequences of internal threats to democracy, stemming from fear of other and love of power, triggered a power dynamic that has shaped our society from inception to present. Students gain insights and knowledge of the intergenerational work needed to constantly limit power of a centralized government. (Time: 150 minutes)

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. (Time: 50 minutes)

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

Students consider why people seek judicial relieve and examine basic elements of a civil lawsuit, drawing on real examples from the youth-driven landmark climate cases in federal and state courts. Students explore “standing” in a court of law, how protected classes and new rights are recognized, rights under the Public Trust Doctrine, and more. Students gain an understanding of how values, law, science, and politics interface when addressing complex public problems with multiple perspectives. (Time: 200 minutes)

TEACHING TOOLS INCLUDE

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

ONLINE
VIDEOS

INTERACTIVE
POWERPOINT

TEACHER
GUIDES

ultimate-civics-covers-tjz

STUDENT
WORKSHEETS

RESOURCES

VOCABULARY
LISTS

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