State Curricular Benchmarks
· Strand III, Standard 1: Purposes of Government
· Strand III, Standard 2: Ideals of American Democracy
· Strand III, Standard 3: Democracy in Action
· Strand III, Standard 4: American Government and Politics
· Strand III, Standard 5: American Government and World Affairs
· Strand IV, Standard 1: Individual and Household Choices
· Strand V, Standard 1: Information Processing
· Strand VI, Standard 1: Identifying and Analyzing Issues
· Strand VI, Standard 2: Group Discussion
· Strand VII, Standard 1: Responsible Personal Conduct
Need Diversity Community
Coalition Consensus Compromise
This process should take two class periods of approximately 30-40 minutes each, depending upon the class. It can take longer as students (once opened to free discussion, debate and communication) will sometimes want to talk at length about their issues and ideas.
Much like the first lesson, this lesson has no right or wrong answers. This lesson is a way in which teachers, using group discussion, can flush out issues that are important to the students. Students are asked about their goals and their goals for their community. It is important for teachers not to put “limits” on the term community – this can mean the city, state, nation or world. Some students will find issues of local concern more important while others will see world issues as important. All of these issues can be used to stimulate learning in nearly every social studies discipline.
Begin having students take out scrap paper to jot down their ideas and issues. The following questions should be posed to students.
When students generate responses, the teacher can use these responses in a variety of means. For example, a teacher can use student responses to stimulate interest in the topic of their choosing, leaving each student to view the topic through the lens of their issue. However, a teacher can also have students get into groups to decide and vote on the issues to promote the skills of group discussion, problem solving and decision making. The important thing about this lesson is to know that these questions offer the teacher insight into what is important to the student.
A writing assignment, detailing or explaining the student’s issue and the answers to the questions can be used to assess the student’s involvement in the lesson. An oral report to the class is another way in which this lesson can be assessed.