Participants in this session will analyze several classic law-related lessons and strategies that present 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

The Sixties


Law Related Education as delinquency prevention; bonding with the law; promoting law-abiding behavior.
Linda-- Take a Stand Activity
Human Continuum Activity from Street Law and C-Span Take a Stand

Late 60s,
Early 70s

Proud Mary

1968: Harvard Social Studies Project: New Social Studies Movement that attempted to
transform the social studies curriculum nationwide. Inquiry-based learning using a series of pamphlets -- known as the Public Issue Series. One well known teaching strategy called the Public Issues Discussion is still considered "classic."

For example, in a pamphlet on the American Revolution, students read selections from the Colonial perspective and the British perspective then encouraged to evaluate positions and make value judgments. Reading traditional textbooks and answering
end the chapter questions were abandoned in favor of multiple perspectives and higher order thinking
(A retrospective analysis of the Harvard Social Studies Project).

More on
the 70s

Stayin' Alive

Given the music of this era, the U.S. was indeed overtaken by space aliens and students are asked to ponder which rights they most value; requires students to think about the relative importance of the guarantees of the Bill of Rights by having them select five that they would surrender. The lesson was enhanced by the use of an outside resource person—i.e., a local attorney. 

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-- and certainly continue to be just as powerful today:  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 (Michigan)

Elton John
1976: the Bicentennial of the Nation and the #2 song in 1976. This was also the year that Apple began donating computers to schools. But I was still about videos-- a certain one from a Harvard political scientist who said that the role of government is protect our natural rights by introducing us to Shiver, Gobble, Snore.

Webquests to follow a decade or so later. Not to mention Justice O'Connor's project,
The Go-Go 80s
Billie Jean

This era saw the roll out of lots of civic ed programs for the celebration of the Bicentennial of the Constitution: We the People in all 50 states along with CELD's annual
Summer Institutes on Constitutional principles and issues.

Many other organizations provided teachers with a wealth of lessons on the Constitution, among them in Colorado, the First Amendment Congress and another classic lesson, "Limits to First Amendment Rights." Claim Your Powers
new updated version.

2002 Bruce
The Rising

With the new millenia, came even more active citizenship projects-- among them
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. Indeed, Aurora Central HS students first proposed a version of the Dream Act long before President Obama took office.
The same controversial issue-- was also taught using the SAC discussion model from the Deliberating in a Democracy Project.

In 2003, the Civic Mission of the Schools was released. Most notable were the
"promising practices."

Do you use them? Are there new "classics"