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On April 21, 2020

Lesson Plan: AP Government: Argumentative Essay Practice

The Federalist Papers

Boston College professor Mary Sarah Bilder gives a brief overview backgrounding the Federalist Papers


This is intended as an end-of-course review activity for practice with the argumentative essay format included on the AP United States Government and Politics exam since the 2018 redesign. Eleven practice prompts are provided. NOTE: These prompts are aligned with the modified 2020 AP Exam, so they do not ask for the final "respond to an opposing or alternate perspective using refutation, concession, or rebuttal" found on the traditional prompt, though that could easily be added in as desired by the instructor. As well, the prompts only reflect content from Units 1-3 to align with the abridged exam.



    • Review the provided Argumentative Essay Prompts in either an individual or jigsaw format.
    • Write a thesis statement for your selected prompt(s) and identify the selection you would make from the provided list and the second piece of evidence you would choose.
    • If there are prompts for which you struggle to develop a thesis, or items on the bulleted lists with which you are not conversant, use the hyperlinked C-SPAN Classroom resources to extend your understanding of the required founding documents and SCOTUS cases that you found challenging.

    • Chose one or more of the provided Argumentative Essay Prompts, as assigned, and use the planning and exploration you did above to write a full essay in response to your designated prompt(s) in 25 or fewer minutes, since that's the time limit you'll face on the AP Exam!
    • Exchange essays with a classmate and evaluate each others' work.