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Designed for immediate use in middle and high school classrooms, these lessons -- which adhere to national learning standards -- contain comprehensive instructions for classroom implementation, downloadable student handouts, links to relevant and dynamic online resources, and suggestions for cross-curricular extensions. Feel free to adapt the lesson plans to meet your students' needs and your own curricular goals.

Balancing Federal and State Authority A Look at the Fourteenth Amendment
Grade level: 9-12

Subject Area: Civics/Government, U.S. History, Law

What are the arguments in favor of a weak national government that gives more power to states versus a strong national government that holds more power than state governments? What is federalism? How has the Supreme Court further defined the balance of power under federalism? How is federalism evident today? These questions are answered in this lesson and the optional extension activities.

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Grade level: 9-12

Subject Area: Civics/Government, United States History, Law, Economics

Why were the promises made by the post-Civil War amendments so important? Students will analyze and compare important Supreme Court decisions involving the Fourteenth Amendment and civil rights. Students will also study how the Court applied the Fourteenth Amendment to questions involving the liberty of contract and protections for working people.

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With Liberty and Justice for All The Power and Importance of Precedent in the Decisions of the Supreme Court
Grade level: 9-12

Subject Area: Civics/Government, United States History, Law

Students will struggle with the same challenges faced by the Supreme Court -- how to balance the rights of individuals to exercise their civil liberties and the needs and goals of others in society. Students will reflect on their own ideas of liberty, and learn how to define and identify civil liberties. Through a historic case study involving the Pledge of Allegiance, they will analyze First Amendment rights in light of laws passed to increase citizenship, knowledge of our country, and patriotism.

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Grade level: 9-12

Subject Area: Government, United States History, Practical Law

What is precedent and why do courts think it is so important? In this lesson, students will examine the role of precedent in Supreme Court decisions -- why precedents are usually followed and what justices take into consideration when they overturn precedents. Students will analyze the case of Dickerson v. United States (2000), which most Court watchers predicted Chief Justice William Rehnquist would use to overturn the precedents established in Miranda v. Arizona (1966).

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