Civics Projects for Young Citizens

— A Project of The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers’ Section and The Missouri Bar Citizenship Education Program

Introduction and Acknowledgements

The Young Lawyers’ Section of The Missouri Bar has supported civic education for numerous years. This Citizenship Activity book is designed to assist teachers in K-2 teach about the civics concepts found in the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Grade Level Expectations.

Two outstanding teachers from Columbia created the lesson plans: Janet Oxenhandler and Marisa Sherbo. They spent countless hours researching and designing classroom-ready activities and they tested them in their own classrooms.

Teachers are encouraged to contact Millie Aulbur, director of the Citizenship Education Program for The Missouri Bar at milliea@mobar.org or at 573 638 2250 about civic education opportunities for teachers and students.  Additional teacher resources may be found at http://missourilawyershelp.org/educational-resources .

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Grade Level: K

Our Flag

Click here to download the lesson plan

Lesson Title: Flag Parade

Objectives Met: Recognize the flag as a symbol of our nation. 

State Standard:

Principles of Constitutional Democracy

  • Knowledge of the principles expressed in documents shaping constitutional democracy in the United States.
  • Knowledge of the symbols in our nation

 

Goals of Lesson:

  • The student will be able to identify the American flag as a symbol of our nation.
  • The student will be able to state that the American flag is red, white, & blue.
  • The student will be able to state that the American flag is made up of stars and stripes.

 

Objectives (learning outcomes):

  • After discussion and listening to a story about the American flag and what it looks like, the student will then be able to design his/her own flag using red, white, and blue and stars and stripes only.

 

Materials Needed:

  • Book: (one of the following or similar)

F is for Flag by Wendy Cheyette Lewison; The Flag We Love by Pam Munoz Ryan; Red, White and Blue: The Story of the American Flag by John Herman

  • white construction paper rectangle 5 ½” x 7 ½” for flag, precut
  • yellow construction paper rectangle ½” x 7 ½” for pole, precut
  • yellow construction paper square 1” x 1” for finial
  • variety of sizes of red, white, and blue rectangles that students can use to design their flag.
  • scraps of red, white, and blue for stars
  • glue, scissors
  • star stickers (if desired) or star patterns

 

Direct Instructions:

  • Read aloud one of the books listed in materials or any similar book from school library, stopping to discuss colors, shapes, etc. on the flag.

 

Guided Practice:

  • Tell the class that now they get to be like Betsy Ross of long ago and design their own flag for our country.
  • Show the materials they will be given to make their flag.
  • Instructor makes a sample flag in front of the class.  Use the white rectangle for the background.  Then choose a variety of sizes of the rectangles and design a flag.  Stripes can go vertical, diagonal, not necessarily horizontal.  Stars can be anywhere you like.  Show how you can trim off a rectangle for a shorter fit, if needed.  Demonstrate how a rectangle can be cut lengthwise to make it thinner or 2 can be glued side-by-side to make a thicker rectangle.  Emphasize that student can only use red, white and blue and stars and stripes. Any number of stars, any number of stripes, etc.  When design is complete, glue the yellow rectangle along the left edge for the pole. Slightly cut off the corners of the small yellow square and then snip off the sharp points to make a circle for the finial on top of the pole.

 

Independent Practice:

  • Pass out materials and give the children time to design their own flag, at least 30 minutes.
  • Samples of child’s work:
    flag-sample-2 flag-sample-1

 

Closure:

  • At conclusion of lesson, or the next day, review pictures of our flag. Discuss again, the colors of the flag, the shapes on the flag, etc. As time allows, the class could parade around the room or the playground displaying their individual flags.  The instructor could play parade music, the National Anthem, or other appropriate music, if available.

 

Adaptations (for students with special needs, grade level):

  • Kindergarteners or special needs students might need help with making and cutting stars.
    First make V. Then make a horizontal line above the bottom point.  Have the line go outside the edges of the V.  Now connect diagonally opposite corners.
    (Illustrations here on steps to make a star)
  • Star stickers may also be used.
  • Duplicated page of various size stars could be used for K’s.

 

Extensions (for gifted or older students):

  • Write on the back of the flag a few sentences about what was learned about our country’s flag.

 

Connections to other subjects:

  • Math- shapes
  • Literature – listening to and discussing the read-aloud book
  • Language Arts – writing activity

Grade Level: K

Why Laws and Rules Are Made

Click here to download the lesson plan

Lesson Title: Why Laws and Rules Are Made

Objectives met:

  • Identify why laws and rules are made

 

State Standard:

Principles of Constitutional Democracy

  • Knowledge of the principles expressed in documents shaping constitutional democracy in the United States.
    • Principles of constitutional democracy in the U.S.
    • Kindergarten:  Identify why laws and rules are made
  • Knowledge of principles and processes of governance systems
    • Processes of governmental systems
    • Kindergarten:  Explain what it means to make rules and how it is necessary to carry out or enforce rules.

 

Materials Needed:

  • Books:
    Following Rules by Robin Nelson
    Following the Rules by Regina G. Burch
    Know and Follow Rules by Cheri J. Meiners
    The Rules by Marty Kelley
    Better Not Get Wet, Jesse Bear by Nancy White Carlstrom
    *Madeline’s Rescue by Ludwig Bemelman
    *Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
    *Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
    *No David, by David Shannon
    *David Goes to School, by David Shannon
    (*available to watch on YouTube)
  • YouTube Video:
    Rules are made for a reason
  • Chart paper
  • Marker
  • Plain white paper, 8 1/2” x 11” per child
  • Crayons

 

Direct Instruction:

  • Over several days, read the fiction and non-fiction books about rules and why they are made. Stop often for class discussion.  Bring up the idea that we have rules everywhere; home, school, and community to keep us safe. What would happen if there were no rules/laws?  With each book, discuss why the rules and laws are made and why we have to follow and enforce them.

 

Guided Practice:

  • On the chart paper, make 3 columns with the headings: Home, School, Community. Duplicate and cut apart the set of chart pictures below.  Pass one photo out to each student.  Each student then decides the appropriate column under which to glue their picture.  As they come up to do this, they also tell why this is an important rule and what might happen if the rule were not followed or enforced.

 

Independent Practice:

  • Give each child the piece of plain white paper. Instruct them to draw a picture of a rule they have to follow at home or at school.  Upon completion of the drawing, each child gets with a partner and they discuss amongst themselves what rule they drew and why it is important.  Also, what happens if they do not follow the rule.

 

Closure:

  • Volunteers could come before the class and show their drawing and talk about their rule. They must include why the rule is made and why it is necessary to carry out the rule.
  • The class chart made earlier is reviewed.

 

Adaptations:

  • Special needs children may need individual help interpreting their photo.
    They may also need help identifying where to place their photo on the chart.

 

Extensions:

  • More capable children write a sentence about their self-drawn picture of a rule that they must follow at home or at school.

Photos to Use with Chart: Home, School, Community

law1 law2

law4 law3

law5

law6 law7

law8 law9

law10 law11

law12 law13

law14 law15

law16 law17

law18 law19

law20 law21

law22 law23

law24 law25

law26 law27

 

Grade Level: 1

Laws and Rules

Click here to download the lesson plan

Lesson Title: Laws and Rules

Objectives met: Explain how laws and rules are made and changed to promote the common good; explain what rules mean in specific cases.

 

State Standard:

Principles of Constitutional Democracy

  • Knowledge of the principles expressed in documents shaping constitutional democracy in the United States.
    • Principles of constitutional democracy in the United States
    • First Grade:
      • Explain how laws and rules are made and changed to promote the common good.
      • Explain what it means to make, enforce, carry out and interpret rules (i.e. explain what rules mean in specific cases).

 

Materials Needed:

  • Deck of cards (one per two students)
  • Book (choose from one of the following):
    • Know and Follow Rules by Cheri J. Meiners M.Ed.
    • Rules Make Life Work by Barbara Luciano
    • Rules and Laws (First Step Nonfiction: Government) by Ann-Marie Kishel
  • Chart paper
  • Markers

 

Direct Instructions:

  • Pair students and give each pair a deck of cards.  Instruct students to go play the new game.
  • As students start asking questions (i.e. “What game are we supposed to play?” “What are the rules?” “How do we start playing?”), gather everyone together and collect cards.
  • Read one of the above books, stopping to discuss why rules are important and why we have rules.

 

Guided Practice:

  • Tell students the game they will play is “Go Fish.”
  • As a class, chart the rules for the game. Discuss why it is important to know the rules in advance and how the rules help the game go smoothly.

 

Independent Practice:

  • Students work with partners to play “Go Fish.”

 

Closure: (may need to be done the following day, depending on length of time spent playing the game)

  • As a class, discuss how rules help people know what to do and how to act. Encourage discussion about why each player starts with the same number of cards and what would happen if each person picked a different number of cards to begin with, or why each person only gets one turn at a time.
  • Then, write class rules. When writing the class rules, define the term “common good” and discuss which rules promote the common good in the classroom.  For example, raising your hand before speaking and listening to those whose turn it is, gives everyone in the class an opportunity to participate and share ideas; we can learn new strategies and ideas when listening to other people.

 

To extend the lesson further on a different day:

  • Discuss how and why rules may be different in different settings (i.e. cars drive at a faster speed limit on the highway than on residential streets—why?)
  • Or discuss why rules have to change (When people started driving cars, why were speed limits posted? Or, now that cell phones are common, why are there laws against texting and driving in some states?)
  • Have students chart how rules are enforced and carried out at school. For example, does the principal enforce the rules? Are there school-wide rules and classroom rules?  How are they the same/different, why?

 

Adaptations:

  • Students with delayed language may need adult assistance in asking another child for a particular card when playing “Go Fish.”

 

Extensions:

  • For homework, have students discuss their family rules at home and write them down to share.
  • Watch “Community Rules and Laws” on http://www.unitedstreaming.com (Discovery Education)
  • Have students write new laws for the year 2030. What changes do they think will occur in our society resulting in the need for new laws or changes to current laws?

 

Connections to other subjects:

  • Writing: writing down family rules or making new rules for the future
  • History: what changes have occurred in our history resulting in changes to laws and/or resulted in new laws/rules

Grade Level: K, 2

The Pledge of Allegiance

By Marisa Sherbo and Janet Oxenhandler

Click here to download the lesson plan

Lesson Title: The Pledge of Allegiance

Objectives met: Recognize the flag as a symbol of our nation and its importance.

State Standard:

Principles of Constitutional Democracy

  • Knowledge of the principles expressed in documents shaping constitutional democracy in the United States.
    • Knowledge of the symbols in our nation
    • Kindergarten: identify the flag as a symbol of our nation; recite the Pledge of Allegiance
    • Second grade: describe the importance of the Pledge of Allegiance

 

Materials Needed:

  • Book, The Pledge of Allegiance (Scholastic) or another book such as I Pledge Allegiance by Bill Martin Jr.
  • Large construction paper, any color (9 x 12 or 12 x 18)
  • Sequencing cards, “The Pledge of Allegiance” (one set per student)
  • Glue stick

 

Direct Instructions:

  • Read aloud book, The Pledge of Allegiance, stopping to discuss how the pictures in the book match the words and, what the words in the pledge mean.
  • (K) Review how the different pictures matched the words in the pledge.
  • (2) Review the importance of the wording in the pledge and why the pictures shown were chosen to represent the words.

 

Guided Practice:

  • (K) Demonstrate how to cut apart the sequencing boxes, staying on the dotted line.
  • (K, 2) Have students help put the boxes in order (encouraging kindergarten students to use the pictures to help in “reading” the words).
  • (K, 2) Demonstrate gluing the first box at the top of the page and working down, when gluing the words in order.

 

Independent Practice:

Pass out materials and give the children time to cut and sequence words to the pledge.

 

Closure:

  • At conclusion of lesson, review the words to the pledge, encouraging students to point to the words as practice.

 

Adaptations:

  • For grade 2, student can draw their own pictures to represent the words in the pledge.  Or, the pictures can be separated from the sequencing cards and students read the words and glue the pictures next to the matching words.
  • If done at the beginning of kindergarten, students may need a visual example from which to copy, as most will be non-readers.

 

Extensions:

  • Lead students in writing a class pledge (and illustrating); make copies available for their independent reading practice.

 

Connections to other subjects:

  • Literacy: sequencing events in order
  • Writing: developing fine motor skills

 

 

 

and to the Republic for which it stands

 

of the United States of America

 

with liberty and justice for all

 

one Nation under God, indivisible

 

I pledge allegiance to the flag

 

 

and to the Republic for which it stands

 

of the United States of America

 

with liberty and justice for all

 

one Nation under God, indivisible

 

I pledge allegiance to the flag

 

 

Grade Level: K-2

Majority Rule

Click here to download the lesson plan

Lesson Title: Majority Rule

Objectives met:

  1. Explain and apply the concept of majority rule
  2. Participate in a democratic decision -making process

 

State Standard:

Principles of Constitutional Democracy

  • Knowledge of the principles expressed in documents shaping constitutional democracy in the United States.
    • Principles of constitutional democracy in the U.S.
    • Grade 2- Explain and apply the concept of majority rule.
  • Knowledge of principles and processes of governance systems
    • Principles and purposes of government
    • Grade K – Participate in a democratic decision-making process.

 

Materials Needed:

  • Books:
              Arthur and the Election  by Marc Brown
              Berenstain Bears Big Election by Stan and Jan Berenstain
              Duck for President by Doreen Cronin
              Let’s Vote on It  by Janice Behrens
    Woodrow for President by Peter Barnes
    Election Day by Patricia J. Murphy
              Vote by Eileen Christelow
    Any similar book about the voting process applicable for the K-2 grade level.
  • Ballots (available at end of lesson plan)-one per student for voting and one per student for mini-book
  • Mini-Booklets (available at end of lesson plan) – one for each student. These should be cut apart and stapled together in advance.
  • Large 3 circles for a snowman, precut, for classroom display on door, bulletin board, or wherever the teacher prefers.
  • Scissors, crayons or markers, glue

 

Direct Instruction:

  • Over several days read books about the voting process. Stop often for discussion and questioning.  Emphasize that in America we get to vote for our leaders and laws, whereas that privilege is not offered in many other countries.  Emphasize the term “majority rules”, and explain the definition.

 

Guided Practice:

  • Explain that the class is going to make a big snowman for display in their room and that the children will vote on all the characteristics for the snowman, i.e.; hat, nose, eyes, etc. Whatever gets the most votes wins.
  • Cut apart the ballots and vote on the characteristics. Instructor might spread out the voting over a few days.  Vote on 1 or 2 items a day.  Voting booths or private areas could be set up around the room.  Voting slips could be put in a “ballot box.”  Announce the winners and decorate the class snowman with the winning parts.  Teacher will need to enlarge the photos or free-draw similar ones for the large class snowman.

 

Independent Practice:

  • Make the mini-booklet. Children will use the second set of ballots to complete their booklet.  They will cut apart and match the correct picture  to the correct page.

 

Closure:

  • Review . Discuss the meaning of majority rule and practice reading the mini booklet.  This booklet will be sent home and read to the adults in the home. The child will explain the voting process that took place in their classroom. The children should be encouraged to use the term “majority rules” when explaining how this snowman was decorated.

 

Adaptations:

  • The snowman could be substituted with a turkey, valentine, leprechaun, etc. for various times of the year.
  • Kindergarten – more direct instruction may be required. The mini-booklet could be completed as a large class project rather than independently.

 

Extensions:

 

Connections to other subjects:

  • Math – counting the ballots to determine the winner.

SNOWMAN  BALLOTS

SNOWMAN  BALLOTS

SNOWMAN  BALLOTS

(hat)

(scarf)

(nose)
(eyes)
(arms)
(broom)
(gloves)

 

SNOWMAN MINI-BOOKLET

 

We made a class snowman.  We voted on parts.

1

We  voted on this hat.

2

We voted on this scarf.

3

We voted on this nose.

4

We voted on these eyes.

5

We voted on these arms.

6

We voted on this broom.

7

We voted on these gloves.

Grade Level: 1

Lesson Plan

Click here to download the lesson plan

Lesson Title: The Statue of Liberty 

Objectives met: Recognize and explain the significance of a national symbol, the Statue of Liberty.

State Standard:

Principles of Constitutional Democracy

  • Knowledge of the principles expressed in documents shaping constitutional democracy in the United States.
  • Knowledge of the symbols in our nation
    • First Grade: Recognize and explain the significance of the following national symbols: Statue of Liberty

 

Materials Needed:

  • Read-aloud books for appropriate level, a few examples might be:
    • L is for Liberty, by Wendy Cheyette Lewison
    • The Story of the Statue of Liberty, by Betsy Maestro
    • Little Miss Liberty, by Chris Robertson
  • The Statue of Liberty, by Lucille Recht Penner
  • Statue of Liberty coloring page from website: http://www.abcteach.com/directory/seasonalholidays/independence_day/ (Attached at end of lesson)
  • Statue of Liberty dot to dot from website: http://thestatueofliberty.com/liberty_games.html (Attached at end of lesson)
  • For crown:
    • 2 sturdy paper plates per child
    • Green construction paper
    • Glue
    • Green paint and brush or green crayons

 

Direct Instructions:

  • Explain to the class the meaning of the word “symbol”. Talk about things that are symbols of America, like the flag.
  • Read aloud one or two of the appropriate books about the Statue, stopping for discussion and questions. Be sure to emphasize distinguishing qualities that make the statue of liberty recognizable (her crown , she is holding up a torch, etc.).  Also be sure to emphasize why she is so important to America. She stands for the freedom and liberty that we have in the U.S.
  • While reading aloud the class can be coloring the picture of the statue and completing the dot to dot.

 

Guided Practice:

(To reinforce the idea that Lady Liberty wears a crown with points the students will make a paper crown.)

  • Cut about 2-2 1/2 inches from each of the bottom rims of two sturdy paper plates, then cut out their centers, leaving about a 2-inch-wide headband.
  • Cut six triangles from green construction paper. Each one should measure about 4 inches across and 6-8 inches high. Space these evenly across the front of one headband with the points radiating outward and glue into place. These can be precut or traced onto the green paper.
  • Glue the other headband across the first to conceal the ends of the triangles. Paint or color paper plate part green.
  • mind-games

(Instructor could watch this short video of instructions, also, if needed)

 

Independent Practice:

  • Copy following page for students and complete it independently.

Name

 

Closure: 

  • Review outstanding characteristics of the Statue of Liberty and how to recognize it. Also review her importance to our country.  This is done through class discussion with questions and answers.

 

Adaptations:

  • For students with fine motor difficulties, the triangles for the crown could be pre-cut by the teacher.

 

Extensions: 

  • The student could give a talk about the Statue of Liberty while wearing the crown.

 

Connections to other subjects: 

  • Art: fine motor skills – cutting, gluing.
  • Reading: retelling a non-fiction story

 

*Below are coloring page and dot to dot mentioned above:


Click here to learn more

 


Click here to learn more

Grade level: 2

Promoting the Common Good

Click here to download the lesson plan

Lesson Title: Promoting the Common Good

Objectives met: Explain the importance of promoting the common good.

State Standard:

Principles of Constitutional Democracy

  • Knowledge of the principles expressed in documents shaping constitutional democracy in the United States.
    • Principles and purposes of government.
    • Second Grade: Explain the importance of promoting the common good.

 

Materials Needed:

  • Book: The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill
  • Chart paper
  • Marker

 

Direct Instructions:

  • Read book, The Recess Queen

 

Guided Practice:

  • Guide students in a discussion about why recess wasn’t fun for all of the kids with a bully on the playground.
  • Have students share ways they play together on the playground to make it a fun, inviting, safe place for all.
  • Chart the different ways students play on the playground and the rules they follow.
  • Introduce the phrase “common good” and what it can mean (something that benefits the entire class, grade level, etc.)
  • Lead the class in a discussion about why rules are needed at recess and how those rules promote the common good.
  • Discuss how bullying does not promote the common good.  Lead the class in a discussion about what they can do to stop bullying, and thus, promote the common good.

 

Independent Practice:

  • Have students write slogans/make posters encouraging others to stop bullying when they see it happen, to report it to an adult and/or ways to involve others in recess games and make everyone feel safe and respected.

 

Closure:

  • Have student representatives visit other classes within the grade level and share ways to stop bullying and/or ways to play with others in a respectful manner.

 

Adaptations:

  • Students with limited English-proficiency or students with language delays may need to draw responses rather than write.

 

Extensions:

  • Have students think of a different situation in which they can promote the common good and make a poster encouraging others to do so.

 

Connections to other subjects:

  • Reading: making connections from the text to real-life situations
  • Writing: sharing a written response

 

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