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Win the White House

ICivics is great for U.S. History Teachers!
Below are links to some great lessons. “Print-and-go lesson plans make civic learning fun, relevant, and easy.”

FOUNDATIONS OF GOVERNMENTStudents will examine the purpose, forms, and limitations on government. They will learn about key philosophers like John Locke and explore practical examples of government functions. Students will complete this unit with an understanding of different forms of government, key influences on American democratic principles, and distinguishing features of governments around the world.

  1. Why Government?
  2. The Sovereign State
  3. Who Rules?
  4. Limiting Government
  5. Rule of Law

ROAD TO THE CONSTITUTION: How did we go from thirteen British colonies to the United States of America? Explore the major hardships of life under British rule, how the colonists decided to break away, and how they set a path for a new and independent government.

  1. Columbus to the Colonies
  2. Colonial Influences
  3. Hey, King: Get off our Backs
  4. We’re Free… Let’s Grow

THE CONSTITUTIONStudents will learn how our Constitution was created and what some of its key characteristics are. They will also explore key amendments to the Constitution and their application in protecting citizens’ rights.

  1. Volunteer Activity for Constitution Day
  2. Supreme Decision
  3. Anatomy of the Constitution
  4. You’ve Got Rights
  5. Do I Have a Right
  6. Bill of Rights Edition
  7. The Constitution: Rules for Running a Country
  8. Three Branches
  9. Separation of Powers: What’s for Lunch?
  10. The “Federal” in Federalism
  11. Power Play
  12. Student Expression
  13. Constitution Day Lesson Plan

THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCHStudents will learn about the structure, function, and powers of the legislative branch of government. They will explore the legislative process, as well as the influence of citizens and political parties.
Check out this quick video about the Legislative Branch on YouTube!


THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH: Students will learn about the executive branch, including the unique role and powers of the president and the function of executive departments and agencies. They will explore key facets of foreign policy and the president’s role in it.
Check out this quick video on the Executive Branch on YouTube!
THE JUDICIAL BRANCHStudents will learn about the federal and state courts and what they do. They will explore the courts’ role in fairly settling disputes and administering justice, and the unique role of the U.S. Supreme Court in interpreting the U.S. Constitution.
Check out this quick video on the Judicial Branch on YouTube!

A GROWING NATION: Being the new kid on the block wasn’t enough for the United States. Early Americans wanted their nation to be bigger, too. (And probably badder.) They succeeded–but at a cost. In this unit, students learn how the United States began to grow as soon as it became a nation, and they examine the effect of this growth on societies already established in North America. (** This unit groups together lessons that are also found in the Geography Library and Road to the Constitution units. You can still find those lessons in their original locations.)

We’re Free… Let’s Grow!With the end of the Revolutionary War, America’s geographical size doubled… but how should new territory be added to the United States? Learn about the issues raised by this American “first” and the challenges the nation faced with its new Northwest Territory.

Louisiana Purchase (1803) In this map-based lesson, students learn the historic importance of the Mississippi River and why the U.S. was determined to maintain access. They find out how the United States acquired the land that made up the Louisiana Purchase—and just how little anyone knew about that land before handing over the purchase price!

Manifest Destiny In this lesson, students get an introduction to the concept of Manifest Destiny. Even before the phrase “Manifest Destiny” was first used in 1845, many Americans believed the U.S. was destined to grow. Students learn what this philosophy looked and sounded like in the 19th century and preview United States expansion. This lesson is intended to serve as an introduction to further study of American expansion.


STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Students explore the concept of federalism in this unit, from the powers held by the federal government to the powers reserved for the states. This unit also teaches students the structures and functions of state and local government and about the officials that serve as representatives in different capacities. Students learn about the state and local governments’ impact on their lives and property.
CITIZENSHIP & PARTICIPATION: Students will learn what it means to be a U.S. citizen and how citizenship is obtained. They will compare and contrast personal and political rights with social responsibilities and personal duties. Students will explore global citizenship, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens in other countries. They will also learn about community engagement by selecting a problem of their own and creating a plan to solve it.
POLITICS AND PUBLIC POLICY: This unit is designed to provide students with an introduction to the electoral processes of the American political system. Students will develop a strong foundation that will inform them of their choices and encourage civic involvement. The Politics and Public Policy unit guides students to a deep understanding of concepts and processes through simulations, presentations, vocabulary-building activities and a mock election.
MEDIA AND INFLUENCE: This unit is designed to teach students about sources of influence on our society and our government. Students learn how the media and interest groups influence discussions that take place in the “public sphere” and ultimately influence the government. They also identify and apply the seven types of propaganda to see how messages are designed to influence us individually.  The unit challenges students to take a critical look at all these sources of constructed messages through simulations, vocabulary-building activities, and real world applications.
CIVIL RIGHTS: The Civil Rights unit covers the early days of the expansion of slavery in the United States through the momentous 1950s and 60s and into the modern Civil Rights Movement. Use primary documents, readings, activities and more to introduce your students to key concepts, events, and individuals of this facet of American history.
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: Students learn about the complex interactions that exist in our globalized world. They examine the evolution of diplomacy and international interdependence by looking at recent and historical global events.
GOVERNMENT & THE MARKET: In this unit, students learn about the relationship between the government and the economy. Starting with the basics of the market economy, students learn about government regulations on our market economy, where the government gets its money and what the government spends it on, and how banks and lending influence our economic system. Each lesson is a basic overview of a very broad topic and includes activities designed to show students how these topics impact their own lives.
LANDMARK LIBRARY: This library of mini-lessons targets a variety of landmark cases from the United States Supreme Court. Each mini-lesson includes a one-page reading and a one-page activity, and is appropriate for a variety of uses. Unlike the iCivics lesson plans, these mini-lessons are designed for students to complete independently without the need for teacher direction. However, they also make great teacher-directed lessons or even class conversation-starters, and multiple mini-lessons can be combined to make a longer lesson.
INFLUENCE LIBRARY: This library of mini-lessons targets the people, ideas, and events that influenced the development of America’s government. Each mini-lesson includes a one-page reading and a one-page activity, and is appropriate for a variety of uses. Unlike the iCivics lesson plans, these mini-lessons are designed for students to complete independently without the need for teacher direction. However, they also make great teacher-directed lessons or even class conversation-starters, and multiple mini-lessons can be combined to make a longer lesson.
GEOGRAPHY LIBRARY: This library of mini-lessons targets the maps and events that influenced the development of America’s territory. Each mini-lesson includes a one-page reading, one-page review, map activity, and is appropriate for a variety of uses. These mini-lessons also come with PowerPoint files that help teachers show and tell more about the topics at hand.
COUNTY SOLUTIONS: County Solutions is a nine-step process for creating an action plan to resolve a community issue. In this series of lessons, students learn about current events, the role of local government, and the variety of outreach methods available to average citizens working to influence public policy.
PERSUASIVE WRITING: In this language arts unit, students learn how to “argue on paper” using a fictional case about a school dress code rule against band t-shirts. The lessons take them through the process of writing two persuasive essays: one supporting the rule and one opposing it. After the essays, we suggest having your class play the game Supreme Decision to see how these arguments relate to issues of freedom of speech in schools. Supreme Decision is an excellent fit with the language arts classroom because it requires reading comprehension and higher-order thinking skills in the application of rules and evaluation of arguments.
BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF AMERICA: A series of nine guided activities developed especially for the Boys & Girls Club covering topics ranging from the rights and responsibilities of citizenship to organizing a campaign to make change in their community to the workings of the three branches of government.