30th Annual Educating for Citizenship Conference
Center for Education in Law and Democracy

Classic law-related lessons and strategies
Content and skills still relevant to democratic citizenship today.

A stroll through the decades features such strategies as Structured Academic Controversy, First Amendment case studies, and time-tested lessons like “Claim Your Powers” and “Visitor from Outer Space.”

Lori Mable, Cherry Creek Schools • Linda Start, Michigan Center for Civic Education
Jackie Johnson, CELD



Law Related Education as delinquency prevention
i.e., bonding with the law; promoting law-abiding behavior.

• Take a Stand Activity
/Human Continuum Activity (Street Law)
C-Span Take a Stand
• The Mindwalk; No Vehicles in the Park

The Sixties



1968: Harvard Social Studies Project begins the New Social Studies Movement
Inquiry-based curriculum using a series of pamphlets -- known as the Public Issue Series. Public Issues Discussion still considered "classic."

American Revolution lesson students read selections from the Patriots' perspective and the Loyalists' perspective; evaluate positions and make value judgments.

Reading traditional textbooks and answering end of chapter questions abandoned in favor of multiple perspectives and higher order thinking.
A retrospective analysis of the Harvard Social Studies Project

Late 60s,
Early 70s



This era also brought to the field a number of “classic” LRE strategies and lessons which, by co-teaching with an attorney or other resource people, were powerful learning strategies-- i.e., Moot Courts, Mock Trials, Pro Se Courts.

For a chart with directions for all of these active learning strategies, see Street Law.
A Visitor from Outer Space.

More on
the 70s

1976: the Bicentennial of the Nation-- also the year that Apple began donating computers to schools. Some of us taught the social contract this way: Shiver, Gobble and Snore,
(and Lesson plan to accompany the short video)


Many new civic ed programs/curricula for the celebration of the Bicentennial of the Constitution (1987). Congress funded the We the People Program in all 50 states
CELD's annual Summer Institutes on Constitutional principles and issues.

First Amendment Congress (Colorado) and another classic lesson, "Limits to First Amendment Rights." Claim Your Powers
; new updated version.

Go-Go 80s

With the new millenia-- more active citizenship projects.
Project Citizen
--in which Colorado students researched and introduced policies about issues they cared about to leaders at the state, local and school district level.

Aurora Central HS students first proposed a version of the Dream Act long before President Obama took office and other student-led policies

The SAC discussion model from the Deliberating in a Democracy Project: Educating Non Citizens; more strateigies for teaching controversial issues.

Webquests; then Justice O'Connor gets into Civic Ed: I-Civics
2003, the Civic Mission of the Schools was released; and promising practices.


• Do you use any of these "classic" lessons and strategies?
• Are there new "classics?"