LESSON TWO:  Agenda Building


Learning Objectives

  • Develop and define ideas of community and become aware of the relationship between community and individual
  • Develop knowledge of governmental systems and ways in which conflict can be resolved
  • Develop an understanding of coalitions and compromise as a means of conflict resolution
  • Develop group discussion skills, problem solving skills and decision making skills
  • Identify and analyze community and personal issues
  • Work towards a definition of citizen involvement in the community and government



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

Responsibility               Democracy



Time needed

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. 



Teaching Strategy

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.

  • Where would you like to be in 5-10 years?
  • Where would you like to see your community in 5-10 years?
  • What are the issues that your class or school sees as important?
  • How can we gain support for our agenda as the youth of Southeast Michigan?
  • What types of community or governmental response would resolve these issues?
  • What kind of education do you need in order to better understand the issues?

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.



Assessment Recommendations

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.