Classroom Civics Activities

Classroom

Federal courts are benefiting from the work of Rebecca Fanning, the national outreach officer at the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. These are Fanning's recommended "Top Ten" uscourts.gov courtroom, or classroom-ready, resources:

  1. First Amendment and Social Media (courtroom program) -- Audience: High School Students. Format: Scripted Trial and Jury Deliberations (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/get-involved/constitution-activities/first-amendment/social-media-student-speech.aspx)

  2. Teen House Party Search (courtroom program) -- Audience: High School Students. Format: Scripted Trial and Open-Floor Jury Deliberations (http://teachingcivics.org/lesson/teen-house-party-search-and-seizure/). See also Passengers and Police Stops (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/get-involved/constitution-activities/fourth-amendment/rights-police-stops.aspx); Teen Police Car Chase (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/get-involved/constitution-activities/fourth-amendment/teen-police-car-chase.aspx); and Wiretaps and Cell Phone Surveillance (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/get-involved/constitution-activities/fourth-amendment/wiretaps-cell-phone-surveillance.aspx)

  3. Texting While Driving (courtroom program) -- Audience: High School Students. Format: Scripted Trial and Open-Floor Jury Deliberations (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/get-involved/federal-court-activities/texting-while-driving.aspx)

  4. Miranda and Teens: Out of the Classroom and Into a Civics Lesson at the Mall (lawyer- facilitated courtroom program) -- Audience: High School Teachers. Format: Presentation; Discussion; Activities; Handouts; Teen Scenario; Court Simulation; Q/A Session with a Judge (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/get-involved/constitution-activities/fifth-amendment/miranda-and-teens.aspx). See also Miranda and Criminals (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/get-involved/constitution-activities/fifth-amendment/miranda-criminal-defense.aspx)

  5. Teens and Bankruptcy Court (courtroom program) -- Audience: High School Students. Format: Video and discussion of four relatable scenarios of teens on the brink (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/get-involved/federal-court-activities/staying-out-bankruptcy-court.aspx)

  6. Constitution Day and Citizenship Day (and Naturalization Ceremonies) (courtroom or classroom program) -- All Audiences: Elementary through Adult. Formats: Video: America, the Beautiful Mosaic (4:55 minutes) (http://www.uscourts.gov/Multimedia/Videos.aspx?video_url=http://www.uscourts.gov/video/source/EducationalResources/outreach_wtp-beautiful-mosaic_low.f4v&video_image=/uscourts/video/EducationalResources/WTP_The_Beautiful_Mosaic_preview.jpg&video_id=wtp_bm), Activities: In-Court Participation in a Naturalization Ceremony.

  7. Heritage Months (Black History Women's History, Hispanic Heritage. Coming: Asian Pacific Heritage and Native American Heritage) -- Audience: Middle School through Adults. Formats: Video(s): Pathways to the Bench (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/get-inspired/pathways-to-the-bench.aspx), Court/Class Activities: Landmark Cases, Handouts, Discussions and Re-enactments.

  8. The Role of the Courts and the Rule of Law: When You Find Yourself in the Minority -- Audience: High School. Formats: Video: Impartial Judiciary (http://www.uscourts.gov/Multimedia/Videos.aspx?video_url=http://www.uscourts.gov/video/source/EducationalResources/outreach_cs-impartialjudiciary_low.f4v&video_image=/uscourts/video/EducationalResources/CS_Impartial_Judiciary_preview.jpg&video_id=cs_ij); Court/Class Activities: Summary of Landmark Cases and Discussion Questions (http://www.uscourts.gov/EducationalResources/ConstitutionResources/LegalLandmarks.aspx).

  9. Jury Service: The People's Verdict -- Audience: High School and Adults. Formats: Handout: Summaries of Jury-Related Landmark Cases: e.g., Batson v. Kentucky; J.E.B. v. Alabama.; Video: Jury Service (http://www.uscourts.gov/Multimedia/Videos.aspx?video_url=http://www.uscourts.gov/video/source/EducationalResources/outreach_cs-jury-service_low.f4v&video_image=/uscourts/video/EducationalResources/CS_Jury_Service_preview.jpg&video_id=cs_js); Video: Supreme Court Justices Discuss Jury Service with High School Students (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/get-informed/supreme-court/supreme-court-dialog.aspx); Court/Class Activities: Discussion of Videos and Jury-Related Landmark Cases.

  10. The Bill of Rights in Your Life -- Audience: All Audiences. Formats: Video(s): Pathways to the Bench (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/get-inspired/pathways-to-the-bench.aspx); What the First Ten Amendments Mean to Me; Quiz: Bill of Rights Bowl (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/get-inspired/games/BillofRightsQuiz_copy1.aspx); Court/Class Activities: Springboard for Discussion, Landmark Cases: Teens Go to Court for Your Rights (http://www.uscourts.gov/EducationalResources/ConstitutionResources/LegalLandmarks/LandmarkSupremeCourtCasesAboutStudents.aspx).

The Administrative Office has also put together great classroom or extended court visit activities that demonstrate the importance of the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial before an impartial jury of one's peers:

  1. Batson v. Kentucky -- Race and Jury Selection (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/facts-and-case-summary-batson-v-kentucky).

  2. J.E.B. v. Alabama -- Gender and Jury Selection (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/facts-and-case-summary-jeb-v-alabama).

  3. Carey v. Musladin -- Free Speech vs. Fair Trial (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/carey-v-musladin).

  4. Gideon v. Wainright -- Right to an Attorney (http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/gideon-v-wainwright).

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