BOOM & BANK BAILOUT
What fueled the housing
boom and the bust that followed? Who was hurt? Who benefited? Two student readings
explore the issues.
LANGUAGE & FACTS IN THE HEALTHCARE DEBATE
Student readings include
excerpts from a memo and an ad attacking Obama's reform plan as well as a description
of that plan. Discussion questions call for critical thinking about language,
factual, and substantive issues.
ASSAULT WEAPONS BE BANNED?
readings review the origins of the AK-47, the 10-year federal ban on assault weapons,
President Obama's views on guns, and the NRA's political clout. Discussion questions
and an inquiry-oriented plan for "constructive controversy" follow.
ORGANIC IS ORGANIC FOOD?
is organic food exactly? Student activities include two readings, a quiz,
a writing assignment and suggestions for further inquiry.
readings address the chief issues in today's reform efforts, obstacles to reform,
and critical views of mainstream school reform. Discussion questions and suggestions
for student inquiries and writing follow.
MEMOS & THE RULE OF LAW
student reading includes excerpts from recently released memos on 'interrogation
techniques' approved by the Bush administration; a second reading quotes President
Obama's statement on the issue. Discussion questions and writing and citizenship
INITIATIVES to Combat Climate Change
readings describe the scientific controversy over "tipping points,"
the Obama-Biden energy program, and plans to green the Empire State Building.
Following the readings are suggestions for student-led green initiatives for Earth
Day - or any other day.
strategy in AFGHANISTAN & PAKISTAN,
with a DBQ (4/8/09)
An introduction and
two student readings discuss the president's view of the Afghanistan/Pakistan
connection and what he thinks must be done in both countries. A companion Document-Based
Question (DBQ) exercise asks students to consider and write about competing views
of the president's strategy.
RIGHTS ACT OF 1965, THEN & NOW (4/1/09)
student reading traces the orgins of the Voting Rights Act; a second discusses
the recent Supreme Court decision limiting the Act's scope when it comes to drawing
voter district lines.
BANKS FACE SURGING DEMAND
As millions of people
lose their jobs, food
banks are scrambling to meet the need.
A student reading is followed by some suggestions for how students might help.
TERRORISTS: The Bush Legacy & Obama's Response (3/18/09)
readings examine the Bush administration's detention of 'enemy combatants' and
how the new administration is handling the issue.
Should Taxpayers Bail Out an 'Irresponsible' Company? (3/11/09)
A student reading
focuses on the housing boom and bust, why AIG foundered and why taxpayers are
propping it up. Discussion questions and a suggested fish bowl discussion follow.
PENTAGON: A Budgetary 'Train Wreck'? (3/4/09)
Student readings offer an overview of the defense budget and the Pentagon; explore
the issues surrounding production of the F22; and discuss the military-industrial-congressional
complex. Discussion questions follow. The accompanying DBQ
exercise is described below.
PENTAGON SPENDING. (3/4/09)
Document-Based Question exercise, students consider and write an essay about competing
views on defense spending.
Schell: A TANGLE OF CRISES
A summary of Schell's essay describing
the interconnected crises we face and their commonalities is followed by suggestions
for discussion, inquiry, critical thinking and writing.
CRISIS & THE PLAN FOR RECOVERY
Student readings and discussion questions address the the origins and impact of
the economic crisis and President Obama's recovery plan.
ACTION ON THE ECONOMIC CRISIS (2/10/09)
How can teachers help their students understand and take action
on problems stemming from the economic crisis? We propose a process for encouraging
active student citizenship.
IN POLITICS: Earmarks & Revolving Doors (2/4/09)
Student readings explore such practices as gift-giving, earmarks,
and a revolving door that swings among people in government, the military and
private industry. Discussion questions and possibilities for inquiry and active
OBAMA & AMERICA'S 3 CRISES
Obama's inauguration address offered a continuing teachable moment for examining
key issues facing the nation. A student reading including speech excerpts is followed
by questions for discussion and inquiry.
OBAMA'S INAUGURAL ADDRESS: An Effective Speech? (1/20/09)
In this classroom lesson, students consider President Obama's inaugural address
as a speech and in the context of past inaugural addresses.
ON THE INAUGURATION for grades K-12
(posted 1/13/09) Our
15-page PDF booklet includes student readings and interactive lessons about the
inauguration, Obama's inaugural speech, the challenges facing the new administration,
and the inaugurals of presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt.|
A student dialogue and two readings examine the declining readership
of newspapers, especially among young people.
ON THE INAUGURATION for grades K-12
(posted 1/13/09) Our 15-page PDF booklet
includes student readings and interactive lessons about the inauguration, Obama's
inaugural speech, the challenges facing the new administration, and the inaugurals
of presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt.
& PALESTINIANS: 'A Clash between Right and Right'
readings examine the current Gaza situation and other major issues; the U.S.-Israel
alliance; and how President Obama might address the conflict. Discussion questions,
inquiry suggestions, and a writing assignment follow.
COUPLES & CIVIL RIGHTS (1/7/09)
A student reading offers conflicting views on gay marriage, which
became an inauguration issue when Barack Obama selected Rev. Rick Warren to deliver
the invocation. A second reading discusses some major practical differences between
civil union and marriage.
and Barack Obama: Leading the Nation through Hard Times
student readings summarize the condition of the country as Roosevelt was inaugurated
and highlight the New Deal. A third reading summarizes the situation in the U.S.
today and Obama's economic recovery plan. Discussion questions and suggestions
for further exploration follow.
ATTACK: Why South Asia Matters to America
and discussion questions address
some basic questions about the attackand
describe the interconnected problems in South Asia that will confront President
Obama, including the
conflict over Kashmir and the war against the Taliban.
THE RULE OF LAW'
(11/25/08) Has the Bush
administration flouted the rule of law through such actions as torture and unlawful
detention of suspects? If so, what will the new president and Congress do about
it? Three student readings and activities explore the issue.
will President Obama do about THE GLOBAL WARMING TIME BOMB?
Student readings examining this crisis and President-elect Obama's plans to combat
it are followed by discussion questions, subjects for inquiry, citizenship activities,
and ideas for student follow-up after Obama is inaugurated.
will President Obama do about AFGHANISTAN & PAKISTAN? (11/12/08)
An opening exercise is followed by student readings on Afghanistan's "downward
spiral" and Pakistan's involvement; limitations of an American military solution;
and elements of a regional approach.
will President Obama do about AMERICA'S ECONOMIC NIGHTMARE? (11/5/08)
The new president-elect faces many challenges. Two student readings
outline the economic crisis and Obama's prescriptions for addressing it. Discussion
2008: CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION for grades K-12
(10/27/08) This 20-page PDF booklet includes
lively classroom activities to get students thinking, learning and talking. Grades
K-1, grades 2-5, grades 4-8, and grades 6-12.
Prize-Winner Ahtisaari: 'EVERY CONFLICT CAN BE SOLVED' (10/29/08)
A student reading and questions on the work of this former president
of Finland and accomplished mediator.
2008: THE ISSUE OF RACE
used at some McCain/Palin rallies has raised questions about racial bias in the
2008 presidential election. A student reading is followed by discussion questions
and a student activity.
YOUR CLASS THROUGH GROUPWORK
(10/22/08) Educator Alan Shapiro summarizes
nine different techniques teachers can use to encourage constructive interaction
among students using small groups.
2008: 5 KEY ISSUES
(10/15/08) A student reading provides
brief samples of the opposing views of Senators McCain and Obama on five major
issues--the economy, Iraq, healthcare, schools and energy--and is followed by
suggestions for student inquiry and a class exercise.
2008: THE SECOND DEBATE -- FINANCIAL CRISIS
(10/8/08) Excerpts from the debate are followed by questions and
an exercise in which students try to answer complex questions in two minutes.
Crisis: BAILOUT OR RESCUE?
(10/8/08) Student readings explain some of the events leading up
to the crisis as well as reactions to it from citizens and politicians. A DBQ
asks students to consider and compare opinions on the issue.
2008: THE FIRST DEBATE -- IRAN, IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN
(10/1/08) In their first debate, Senators McCain and Obama discussed
their views on policy toward Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Three student readings
offer excerpts from the candidates and commentary on them. Discussion questions
2008: FINANCIAL CRISIS (9/24/08)
student readings aim to clarify some aspects of the developing crisis, what federal
officials are doing about it, and how the presidential candidates view it. Discussion
questions and other activities follow.
2008: INEQUALITY IN AMERICA (9/17/08)
As Election Day approaches,
the economy is a top voter concern. Four student readings focus on economic troubles
and the growing wealth gap; the accuracy of presidential candidate TV ads; and
the candidates' economic proposals.
SECOND AMENDMENT & GUNS (8/19/08)
Two student readings explore the Supreme Court's recent ruling and its interpretation
of the "right to bear arms."
New FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT: A Threat to American Freedom? (8/19/08)
Two student readings review the history of FISA and new legislation that allows
continued warrantless surveillance of Americans.
Election 2008: OIL ADDICTION, THE ECONOMY & THE PLANET
Three student readings address our oil addiction and its serious consequences
for individuals, the American economy and our planet--and how one small community
in Denmark ended its oil addiction. Discussion questions, activities and suggested
student inquiries follow.
Election 2008: YOUNG VOTERS ARE 'STOKED,' BUT ARE THEY INFORMED?
(7/16/08) An overview of young people's growing political
involvement is followed by a student questionnaire that gauges how informed students
for student inquiry, and a listing of online resources.
Election 2008: 5 ISSUES THE CANDIDATES WON'T TOUCH (7/1/08)
Despite a nonstop presidential campaign, the candidates have
failed to seriously address some critical issues. A student reading is followed
by question-asking, question-analyzing, and discussion.
SUPREME COURT, HABEAS CORPUS & GUANTANAMO
The Supreme Court decision granting habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo prisoners
is an opportunity to help students understand the importance of those rights and
why granting them to non-citizens is controversial.
PROBLEMS AT 3 FEDERAL AGENCIES
readings about critical problems at the Federal Election Commission, the Food
and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency are followed
by discussion questions, suggestions for further inquiry, writing assignments
& citizenship activities.
Election 2008: THE SUPREME COURT
Supreme Court nominees is one of a president's most consequential actions. Three
student readings consider Court interpretations of constitutional principles;
the impact of social conditions on Court rulings; and what the current presidential
candidates have said about Supreme Court appointments.
Election 2008: FIXING THE U.S. HEALTHCARE SYSTEM (5/21/08)
readings explore problems with our healthcare system; candidate proposals for
reform; and healthcare systems in other industrialized nations.
CAN STUDENTS DO ABOUT THE CATASTROPHE IN CHINA? (5/21/08)
The huge earthquake
that ravaged China on May 12 buried thousands of schoolchildren. American students
may have a special interest in acting to help young survivors in China.
CAN STUDENTS DO ABOUT THE CATASTROPHE IN MYANMAR? (5/14/08)
A brief student reading
about the recent devastating cyclone is followed by suggestions for translating
students' compassion into action.
SEAN BELL CASE (5/7/08)
NYC police were found
not guity in the shooting of an unarmed young man, setting off protests. Three
student readings explore conflicting accounts of the shooting, reactions to the
verdict, and opinions from differing perspectives. Suggestions for discussion,
inquiry and a "constructive controversy" exercise follow.
A DIALOGUE: How people in Muslim countries view the U.S. & how people in the
U.S. view Muslims (4/23/08)
Students are invited to think critically about these complex issues through
poll questions, brief case studies, and a critical thinking exercise.
CONSTITUTION, WAR CRIMES & GUANTANAMO JUSTICE (4/16/08)
Release of a Justice Department memo raises anew the issue of how the U.S. treats
terrorist suspects.Two students readings are followed by discussion questions
and other student activities.
& THE U.S. (4/9/08)
Castro's resignation has provoked new consideration of the Cuba-U.S. relationship.
Two student readings examine the history, the role of Cuban-Americans, the human
rights issue, and the stands of the 2008 presidential candidates.
MORE PERFECT UNION: Examining Senator Obama's Speech (3/26/08)
Extended excerpts from Senator Obama's speech on race are followed by questions
for classroom discussion, as well as additional suggestions for class dialogue,
writing, and inquiry.
Race & Racism through OBAMA'S SPEECH ON RACE (3/19/08)
Senator Barack Obama's March 18, 2008, speech is a teachable moment for issues
of race, racism, and race relations in the United States. Here, suggestions for
classroom discussion and inquiry based on a reading or viewing of Obama's speech.
The Surge & Power Struggles (3/12/08)
Four student readings and an introductory questionnaire expore the effects
of the surge and the state of Iraq today. Student activities follow.
Election 2008 ROLEPLAY: THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL (2/27/08)
lively game demonstrates how disparate interest groups, with their money and clout,
can influence a candidate's platform and viability.
Election 2008: THINKING CRITICALLY ABOUT A CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT
believing game and the doubting game can help students go beyond debate to dialogue
and analysis when considering the 2008 presidential candidates.
Election 2008: HILLRAISERS, McCAIN 100s & PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FUNDING
This election has
raised many questions about the role of money in our political system. One student
reading focuses on "bundling" and how it encourages corruption. Another
considers the need for reform, detailing one proposal now before Congress. Discussion
questions, subjects for inquiry, and suggested citizenship activities follow.
Election 2008: WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS? (2/13/08)
An introductory quiz is followed by a student reading on what the candidates have
said about nuclear weapons proliferation. A second student reading explores author
Jonathan Schell's latest thinking on the issue.
SPENDING & THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL-CONGRESSIONAL COMPLEX (2/6/08)
Three student readings and a quiz explore why the complex developed, how it operates,
and some of its consequences. Discussion questions and opportunities for further
inquiry and citizenship activities follow.
Election 2008: MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES (for
grades 4-6) (1/30/08)
Four 45-minute lessons
engage students in considering what qualities they might look for in a political
candidate; how to get information about candidates; and how they and the adults
in their lives decide whom to vote for.
ANXIETY: Lost homes, lost jobs, debt & dropping markets
Student readings describe how the mortgage crisis affects real people and why;
the domino effect of sub-prime mortgage loans; and economic stimulus proposals.
Discussion questions and inquiry activities follow.
Election 2008: MISLEADING FACTS & VAGUE OPINIONS (1/23/08)
How do you pick
a candidate? Statements from four candidates on major issues are followed by discussion
questions, an exercise on recognizing factual statements and opinions, and suggestions
for student inquiry.
CHILD LEFT BEHIND
Because this federal law has personal
meanings for students, it is an excellent subject for independent and small-group
inquiries. Two student readings outline the law's major provisions, the Bush administration's
defense of it, and criticisms.
FROM A DISTANCE
Three student readings include conflicting
accounts of air attacks by the U.S. military and by survivors; media coverage
of the attacks; and a brief overview of the growing lethality of air assaults
since World War I and the devastating effect on civilians.
Election 2008: POLITICS & RELIGION
role of religion in politics has become a controversial 2008 election issue. Following
an introductory quiz, three student readings address the Constitution and the
founders on religion, presidential candidates' speeches on faith and politics,
and the appropriateness of religious questions directed to candidates.
U.S. & IRAN (updated
Student readings explore the complex relationship between the U.S. & Iran,
including controversy stemming from the recent finding that Iran halted its nuclear
Election 2008: OUR BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM
are invited to examine the candidates' recent 'debate' over giving undocumented
immigrants driver's licenses; learn some facts about immigration; and consider
an historical commentary. Discussion questions and a suggested inquiry into a
new immigration policy follow.
MISSING CLASS (11/28/07)
"missing class" is the subject of one student reading; another reading
explores proposals to help these Americans enter the middle class. Ideas for further
Election 2008: HORSE RACE (11/21/07)
A student questionnaire, two readings, and discussion questions explore media
coverage of the 2008 election, including The Project for Excellence in Journalism's
finding that almost two-thirds of coverage is devoted to the campaign's horse
Election 2008: COMBATING TERRORISTS (11/14/07)
Three readings help students consider the president's "war on terror"
strategy, statements by Bush's critics, and what constitutes torture. Discussion
questions and other student activities follow.
CONGRESSIONAL EARMARK (11/7/07)
Two student readings
examine the practice of earmarking in bills and the connection between earmark
spending and political campaign cash.
USA: Is the U.S. Privatizing War?
(10/31/07) The private security
firm Blackwater USA made headlines when its contractors killed 17 civilians in
Baghdad. That event, its background, and consequences are the subjects of two
student readings, discussion questions, and suggestions for student inquiries
Power: EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE
The Bush administration and Congress have been on a "collision course"
over executive privilege. A student reading explores the issue; a fish bowl activity
gives students a chance to discuss it. See our collection of lessons on presidential
Election 2008: PROCESS & PROBLEMS.
A student reading reviews major steps in the campaign process and such issues
as the money race, fairness, and problems with the new voting machines. Suggested
discussion questions and other activities follow.
THE U.S. OCCUPATION OF IRAQ CONTINUE? (10/17/07)
A document-based lesson by educator Alan Singer asks students to consider Bush's
arguments and opposing views.