Teaching the
Participation in Government Unit

The Participation in Government Unit can be taught in a two-week time frame or spread out over a number of weeks if it is necessary to teach the all of the mini-lessons. Teachers and librarians may teach all of the lessons or only ones that are required to meet each of the competencies.


We have all learned about the three branches of government that are responsible for making laws, enforcing laws, and interpreting laws. At times it can seem that those laws have no bearing upon our lives. When we hear about the Supreme Court ruling on cases, it very often has little impact on our individual lives. However, we must rethink this and realize that, indeed, those rulings can affect our lives. In this unit you will look at a Supreme Court case in a personal way. How did or will that case and decision impact your life?

The Task

Students will individually research a Supreme Court decision that could potentially affect them, consider the decision, and analyze the cultural impact and outcome of such a case and present a cogent argument for agreeing or disagreeing with the decision. Students will present their research as either a formal paper (preferred), well-produced documentary with appropriate attribution, or another teacher/librarian approved product
All products will have properly documented MLA citation

The Process

Before the unit is taught the teacher and librarian should administer a skills assessment such as Trails or Sails.

Mini-lessons on the skills required to complete this unit are based on the modeling and guided practice section of the unit. However, if a teacher prefers to spread out the lessons over a longer period of time, other topics may be chosen that would fit into the topic being studied at that time.

It is recommended that copies of the Search Strategy sheets be included each time a research project is begun. These will help to focus a student's thoughts and provide a checklist as s/he works through the process.

Depending on the length of the class period and the skills of the students, the mini-lessons can range from a couple of class periods to perhaps a week's instruction.