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On March 24, 2019

Lesson Plan: AP Government Landmark Supreme Court Cases Review

The Significance of Marbury v. Madison

Author Cliff Sloan and Yale Law Professor Akhil Reed Amar explain the significance of the Supreme Court Case Marbury v. Madison.

Description

This lesson provides students with an opportunity to review the facts and holdings of, and connections between, the fifteen landmark Supreme Court cases selected for inclusion in the redesigned AP Government course (see list below). While the case selection is aligned with the Advanced Placement course, these landmark cases are suitable for use in any government course focusing on key Supreme Court decisions in United States legal history. Landmark Cases: Marbury v. Madision (1803); McCulloch v. Maryland (1819); Schenck v. United States (1919); Brown v. Board of Education (1954); Baker v. Carr (1961); Engel v. Vitale (1962); Gideon v. Wainwright (1963); Tinker v. Des Moines (1969); New York Times v. United States (1971); Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972); Roe v. Wade (1973); Shaw v. Reno (1993); United States v. Lopez (1995); Citizens United v. FEC (2010); McDonald v. Chicago (2010)

Procedures

  • Enhancing Knowledge & Connections:

    Students complete the Key Supreme Court Cases Overview Chart, using the video clips above and/or the more extensive lesson plans hyperlinked within the chart, to extend and enhance their understanding of each case and the connections between cases.

  • Reviewing Knowledge:

    Using the Key SCOTUS Cases Game Cards, students play any of the below games as directed, or a variation of your class's creation, in small groups (sized as works best for your particular classroom).

    NOTE: In order to enhance game play, the game cards contain a few cases in addition to those in the College Board's list of 15. As you wish, you can keep those extra cards, discard them, or replace them with cases of your selection. Each set of directions is repeated twice on the first sheet to facilitate creation of class sets of game cards. There are also five variations for review card gameplay in the C-SPAN AP Government Key Founding Documents Review lesson that can be adapted for these document cards!

    Variation One:

    • Shuffle the cards then deal them out facedown across your table
    • When it’s your turn, choose any two cards and turn them face up
    • State the Constitutional issue involved in each case, earning one point per case.
    • State the ruling of each case, earning one point per case.
    • State an AP-worthy comparison between either those two cases OR one of those cases and another relevant SCOTUS case for two additional points
    • The first player to 18 points wins!

    Variation Two:

    • Shuffle the cards and then deal out the top six face up
    • Organize the cases you’ve dealt in a manner that makes sense to you.
    • Send two members of your group as ambassadors to two other groups and leave the remaining group member(s) at your table to receive ambassadors from other groups
    • Explain the way you have grouped your cases to the ambassadors you’ve received
    • Welcome your ambassadors back to your table and have them explain how the groups they visited arranged the cases they drew.
    • Repeat Steps 1-5!

    Variation Three:

    • Shuffle the cards then deal them out three cards to each player. Place the remaining cards face down in one pile in the middle of the table.
    • Flip over the top card from the face-down deck
    • The first person to slap down one of the cards in his/her hand and articulate an AP-worthy comparison between that case and the case dealt in #2 earns one point and draws a card from the top of the stack to add to his/her hand.
    • Repeat steps 2 & 3
    • The first player to 5 points wins!

    Variation Four:

    • Shuffle the cards then deal out three cards to each player
    • Each player chooses one card and places it face down in front of the player to his/her left. Play then begins with the youngest player and then proceeds counterclockwise around the group.
    • For your turn, flip over the card you were passed. Earn one point for accurately stating the Constitutional issue involved in that case and one point for stating the ruling of that case. Earn two additional points for stating the facts and ruling of one of the two cases remaining in your hand and one point for articulating a comparison between that case and the case you were passed.
    • The first player to 15 points wins!

    Variation Five:

    • Shuffle the cards, deal out five to each player, and place the remaining cards face down in the middle of the table. Turn the top card of that pile face up.
    • Play begins with the youngest player and then proceeds counterclockwise around the group.
    • Choose a card from your hand and place it face up on top of the middle card, articulating an AP-worthy connection between the two.
    • If you can’t play, pass your turn. If every player passes in the same turn, flip over another card from the face-down pile.
    • The first player to get rid of all of the cards in his/her hand wins!
  • Reviewing Knowledge Virtually:

    The Key SCOTUS Cases VIRTUAL REVIEW Game Cards were designed as variations to the above games that could be printed out individually in student homes and played virtually, on their own initiative or as directed/facilitated by you, using a virtual collaboration platform like Zoom or FaceTime.

    There are also five variations for virtual review card gameplay in the C-SPAN AP Government Key Founding Documents Review lesson that can be adapted for these case cards!

    Virtual Variation One

    • Each of you shuffles your set of cards then deals them out facedown in front of you
    • When it’s your turn, choose any two cards and turn them face up. Your first card may not be one you’ve chosen in a previous turn.
    • State the Constitutional issue involved in each case, earning one point per case.
    • State the ruling of each case, earning one point per case.
    • State an AP-worthy comparison between either those two cases OR one of those cases and another relevant SCOTUS case for two additional points
    • The first player to 18 points wins!

    Virtual Variation Two

    • One of you, serving as the dealer, shuffles the cards and then deals out the top six face up so that everyone can see them
    • The first player to yell “Certiorari!” and articulate a connection between three of the face-up cases receives three points.
    • The next player(s) to yell “Concurring!” and assert connection between three cases (one or two of three originally articulated may be repeated, but not all three as one set) receive(s) two points
    • When no other connections can be identified, the dealer repeats step 1
    • The first player to 12 points wins!

    Virtual Variation Three

    • Each of you shuffles your set of the cards then deals out three cards to yourself. Place your remaining cards face down in one pile in front of you that’s visible to everyone else
    • One of you flips over the top card from your face-down deck.
    • After the top card has been revealed, the first person to slap down one of the cards in his/her hand (which CANNOT be the same card!) and articulate an AP-worthy comparison between that case and the case dealt in #2 earns one point and draws a card from the top of the stack to add to his/her hand.
    • Repeat steps 2 & 3, taking turns flipping over your top card.
    • The first player to 5 points wins!

    Virtual Variation Four

    • Each of you shuffles your set of cards then deals out three to yourself (do not reveal them to your opponents)
    • Each player chooses one card and places it face down. Play then begins with the youngest player and then proceeds in age order
    • For your turn, identify an opponent, flip over the card you placed face down, The identified opponent earns one point for accurately stating the Constitutional issue involved in that case and one point for stating the ruling of that case. He/she earns two additional points for stating the facts and ruling of one of the two cases remaining in his/her hand and one point for articulating a comparison between that case and the case you revealed.
    • The first player to 15 points wins!

    Virtual Variation Five

    • One of you, serving as the dealer, shuffles your set of cards, deals out four cards to each player (in some manner that can be seen by everyone), places the remaining cards face down in a stack, and flips over the top card from that stack.
    • Play begins with the oldest player and proceeds in reverse age order
    • For your turn, choose a card from your hand and have the dealer place it face up on top of the revealed card from the stack, articulating an AP-worthy connection between the two.
    • If you can’t play, pass your turn. If every player passes in the same turn, the dealer flips over another card from the face-down pile.
    • The first player to get rid of all of the cards in his/her hand wins
  • Extending Knowledge:

    Students engage in one or more of the below activities, either working individually or in groups, to reflect their understanding of the cases.

    • MIND MAP IT: Create a mind map or similar infographic detailing the key facts of your selected case and key provisions of the ruling.

    • AMI-CRUSHING IT: For your selected case, determine two groups that might reasonably have filed amicus briefs supporting each side. Write a short explanation for each of the four indicating why you feel they would have been on that side, what you believe the gist of their argument would have been, and a hashtag they might have used to try to build social media support for their position..

    • MEANING IN THE MEME-ING: Create two memes for your selected case that convey main ideas, along with two opportune hashtags that for each might be used when posting that meme on social media.

    • CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT: Choose a famous person whom, in your view, would be an active proponent of the ideas/ruling in your selected case because of the way those the case might apply to his/her life. Print a picture of your celebrity with a thought bubble indicating and explaining your rationale.

    • PRESS PLAY: Create either a Netflix queue or a song playlist to accompany your selected case. Your list should have 6-8 entries, each an actual film/TV show or song (depending on which option you choose) that, in your view, connects to a significant theme or component of your case, accompanied by an explanation of that connection.

    • ADVERTISE YOUR UNDERSTANDING: Create a one-page (8½x11) color magazine ad “promoting” your selected case. Your ad should contain a tagline and a picture, and should clearly communicate 6-8 main ideas from the facts and ruling of your case.
  • Communicating Knowledge:

    Students respond to:

  • Kahoot!ing Knowledge

    This 35-question Kahoot contains excerpts from each of the 15 key SCOTUS cases and 9 founding documents for students to identify. It can be played in class, over Zoom via a shared screen, or independently by students.

Additional Resources

Vocabulary

  • 1st Amendment
  • Civil Liberties
  • Concurring Opinion
  • Constitution
  • Dissenting Opinion
  • Federalism
  • Judicial Review
  • Landmark Case
  • Majority Opinion
  • Precedent
  • Ruling
  • Stare Decisis
  • Supreme Court

Topics

AP U.S. Government Key TermsCivil Rights & Civil LibertiesFederalism and State IssuesGun Rights & Firearm LegislationSupreme Court Cases

Grades

High School