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By frazerfrazer4
On July 21, 2020

Lesson Plan: Increasing Civic Education

Open Phones: Tom from Indiana

Telephone lines and social media were open for viewer comments on the question, "Is more civics education needed in the U.S.?" Patrick Riccards also spoke by phone about a new poll on Americans' knowledge of civics and U.S. history.


Education is a part of our lives and has always been left to the states to decide what is covered, when it is covered, and how it is covered. Currently ten out of the fifty states do not require any civics course to graduate, ten states that require a year long course, Washington D.C. requires community service while half of the states offer potential credit. States are in charge of education based on the 10th amendment, but currently there is a movement to increase civic education- but what are the benefits of increasing civic education and are any of these benefits a reason to increase or mandate that all students learn about civics? This lesson explores this topic and has students using information to be able to discuss why civics education is important.


  • A/B writing. Write the following three statements on the board. Instruct students to choose the statement with which they most agree and then free write for two minutes explaining why they support that statement. Allow several students, at least one for each statement, to share their thinking with the class.

    1. All students should know how the government is structured.
    2. Community service should be required.
    3. Civics is not as important as literacy and math.
  • Step 2:

    After the warm-up, students should watch the following video clip that discusses a teacher’s perspective of a decline of social studies and civic education. Students should take notes on the handout.

    Handout: Why is Civics Important? (Google Slides)

    Video Clip 1: Open Phone: Tom from Indiana (3:54)

    Hold a discussion with students about the following question:

    1. According to the caller, why was there a decline in social studies? Do you agree or disagree?

    2. Should civics courses be mandated for all students to take? Why or Why not?
  • Step 3:

    Students will watch the following video clips discussing the importance of civic education. While students watch the videos they should complete the Video Notes (Google Slide)

    For each clip students should answer the following questions:

    • Why is Civics important?

    • How can we support Civic Education?
  • Step 4:

    Students will use the information gathered from the video clips to answer the following question. Students can demonstrate their knowledge by providing a written response or engage in a class discussion.

    • Why is civics important and how can we support civic education?
  • Extension Activities:

    1. Socratic Circle based on News Articles- Have students read the articles below on Civic Education. Have students participate in a Socratic Circle using evidence from the articles and the videos and background essays.

    2. Online Discussion Board- Allow students to share their thoughts about why civic education is important and what they hope to learn in a civics course.

    3. Create a Survey- Develop a survey that asks five questions about content learned in civics, they can use the Woodrow Wilson Institute questions as a guide. Using those questions, perform a survey that gauges the public’s knowledge of civics. After performing the survey, write a summary of the results explaining and comparing their results to the Woodrow Wilson Institute.


Additional Resources


  • 10th Amendment
  • Civic Participation
  • Civics
  • Community Service
  • Curriculum
  • Federalism


EducationFederalism and State Issues


High School