Current Event Civics Lessons
The Filibuster and American Authoritarianism 2021
The change in power in the Senate has once again displayed the importance of the filibuster in the implementation of new laws. Currently the democrats are concerned that they won’t be able to implement the programs they want in place because the filibuster exist. This is nothing new and both parties depending on their status in the senate have used the filibuster to their advantage. When those in the majority cannot forward their agenda, the question always comes up, “Should we abolish the filibuster?” Should the minority have this much control in a country where majority rules? This lesson discusses that important question along with other subjects such as the history of the filibuster, the reasons on both sides of the filibuster argument, and how the filibuster currently could have an affect on the American democracy as we know it.
The lesson consists of:
PowerPoint Presentation (88 slides)
Quiz (Multiple choice and essay questions.)
There is a racial problem between people of color and white people in the United States. This is especially evident between white and black people and goes back as far as 400 years with slavery. The killing of unarmed Black men by police in 2020 brought attention to this issue into the forefront over the summer and resulted in multiple protest across the country in support of endng the racism within police departments against black people. While it was good to see the multiracial make up of the protest to defeat racism in America there are still many out there who promote and support activities that encourage racist acts against black people. Many of the supporters use denial or excuses to justify their actions. What are these excuses and denials? This lesson plan discusses these issues and more. The plan includes:
There is no doubt that the increase in automation in our society has and will have an important effect on the employment situation for millions of Americans. It is predicted that the result of this increase will result in the loss of millions of jobs in the United States causing many people to fall into a financial crisis. The question for many economist and social scientist is what will we do with all these people who are unemployed with nothing to do as well as being in financial distress? Recently it has been proposed by many leaders in the technology field (that may be responsible for this job loss through automation) that there be a universal basic income to support all Americans. This income would be a monthly payment with few if any restrictions to help counteract the effects of unemployment caused by automation. This idea has even entered the 2020 presidential race as a policy position by one of the candidates. The idea of universal income is not new however and was proposed in the 60’s by Martin Luther King Jr. In another form it has also been proposed by many African American leaders as reparations for slavery. The question here is why is it gaining traction now? The lesson plan explores the concept of universal basic income and this exact question of why it is gaining in support now?
The plan includes:
45 PowerPoint Slide
32 question quiz
Fast Food Advertising To Minority Children
In 2019 an article was published by several news organizations which highlighted the way fast food companies advertise to teens. The articles reported that researchers found black and Hispanic teens saw twice as many ads for junk food than white teens. Fast food, candy, sugary drinks and unhealthy snacks accounted for 86 percent of food ad spending on black-targeted TV programming, and 82 percent of ad spending on Spanish-language TV, the researchers found. Of the nearly $11 billion spent in total TV advertising in 2017, $1.1 billion was for advertising in black- and Spanish-language TV programming, according to the report. This lesson covers this issue by looking at things like advertising, health, and solutions to this issue by teens and their parents.
This plan includes:
Quiz with and without answers.
The 2018 mid-term election represented what was called a “blue wave" in politics. That blue wave resulted in a change of control in the House of Representatives from republicans to democrats. Along with this blue wave came an increase in the number of women in the house of representatives,. For many people the fact that more women were elected to congress represent a change in how congress will operate.
Many believe that congress will work better with more women in office. It has often been said that women are more bipartisan in nature as well as morality driven in their ideas and legislation. Included in this assessment would also be the fact that women may be more supportive of issues relating to Civil Rights in the United States. While it is obvious that women of color in congress would be supportive of issues related to racial discrimination this is not necessarily the case with white women in congress. Exactly what affect will more women in congress have on this issue related to racial discrimination in the United States? This lesson plans explores this question and allows the student to make a determination so as to answer this question.
Included in this lesson plan/activity:
Quiz…multiple choice and essay questions
Early this year several teachers in the Atlanta school district were sentenced to jail for falsifying tests results. While what they did was illegal some believe the sentence was too harsh for the crime. Many point to the fact that bankers who were primarily responsible for the financial hardship of millions were never convicted of anything. The actions with the two types of crimes are examples of why our justice system seems to be unfair......Read More!
In April of 2015 the news media focused heavy on the riot that happened in Baltimore Maryland. The riot took place amid the controversy of the killing of an African American man by police during an arrest. The media coverage would give the impression that the riot was typical of the type of protest which followed the death of Freddie Gray however based on the facts it was not. There were nine days of peaceful protest following the death of Freddie Gray. During the peaceful protest a separate incident of violence occurred for about 24 hours. For the most part the protest were peaceful and we think this should have got more coverage than that one day of violence considering how tolerant......Read More
Can Superheroes Help Improve Reading skills and Current Event Awareness
Every year it seems that the summer movie season contains a blockbuster centered on a comic book superhero. These movies attract millions of fans many of whom first started their relationship with these characters through comic books. While too many comic books appear to be a form of entertainment for children containing simple text and pictures…to others they serve an important role in the education process. Research exist to support the fact that comic books can enhance both reading skills and awareness of current events in it readers. This is especially true in the case of children/students. According to Dr. Claudia McVicker of Southern Illinois University comic books can increase inference skills...Read
In April of 2015 Jerry Brown the Governor of California issues water restrictions for the State of California. The restrictions call for a 25% reduction by all users in the state except farmers. Farmers are exempt because they are already under water restrictions. Trying to find a solution to this problem is going to be difficult and will require sacrifice. The use of water by agriculture and the bottle water industry is being scrutinized during this crisis.....Read more and Pract the Facts!
Our lesson plan on this topic is a great way to
introduce your student to the issues of water scarcity worldwide as well as in
the United States. To view the California Water Restriction lesson plan click here.
There are indications that the efforts by people lobbying for an increase in the minimum wage are starting to reap rewards. As a long opponent of the increase, McDonalds’s recently announced that they are increasing the minimum wage in their company stores. They are not the first, with many states, as well as other large retailers, already making the change. However this issue is far from over. With respect to McDonald’s there is still the challenge of getting its franchisees to make the change. The President is lobbying for an increase in the federal minimum wage to.........Read more and begin to Pract The Facts,
Our lesson plan on this issue is a good way for parents and teachers to introduce student to an issue that could have an important affect on their lives. The lesson plan consists of a lesson plan outline (which includes discussion questions, key words, and references), a PowerPoint presentation with videos, and quiz. To view the lesson plan click here.
In March of 2015 members of the Oklahoma chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity were caught on video singing a chant that was demeaning to African Americans. The racist overtones of the chant contained the use of the N word as well as referencing the lynching of black men. This act put the fraternity in the national spotlight.....read more.
Ferguson Missouri By the Numbers. Why data is important.
(Data such as this can tell you a lot about a city.)
Sometimes if you analyze the numbers you can tell a lot about the people the data is about. Demographic data is statistical data about populations and the groups within that population. The shooting of an unarmed young black man in Ferguson Mo. was an unfortunate tragedy for not just his family but for all young black men living in the United States. An incident like this opens up the discussion to problems we have in this country which can be analyzed using demographic data........Read More and Pract The Facts!
Practical Learning Online Activity Book
Pract The Facts™
Critical Analysis of Current Event Civics Activities in Today’s Media
11 supplemental civics activities in critical thinking and fact checking for 10th grade and above.
“Young people who recalled experiencing more high-quality civic education practices in schools were more likely to vote, to form political opinions, to know campaign issues, and to know general facts about the US political system,” said Peter Levine, director of CIRCLE. (THE CENTER FOR INFORMATION & RESEARCH ON CIVIC LEARNING AND ENGAGEMENT)
The course is designed to teach students how to critically seek out, analyze, and fact check information related to current event civic issues in the media. By doing these activities it is hoped the student will develop the skills to determine the validity and accuracy of the information they get from the media on civic related issues. Using articles and quotes from a variety of sources the student will discover how things such as omission, fake news, brand awareness, and point of view can affect how information is delivered via print, television, and social media. Subjects covered in the course include issues both locally and nationally with respect to race, politics, education, health care and more. The students will be evaluated using essay writing, classroom participation, discussion questions and math problems. It is also hoped that they will develop the ability to determine how they will react to the issue with respect to their life objectives and their community.
You Can Help Fulfill An Important Need
“Teaching civics is only partly the job of the schools. Other providers of such teaching—newspapers, unions, membership organizations and community groups— aren’t taking up the slack. People are sorting themselves into more politically and ideologically homogenous communities than they used to, he says. And the gap between the haves and the have-nots when it comes to opportunities for civic engagement is bad and getting worse.” (From Flunking Civics: Why America's Kids Know So Little)
Chapter 1. How Do I Pract The Facts
Chapter 2. Primary and Secondary Resources
Chapter 3. What Divides Us
Chapter 4. Points of View
Chapter 5. Know the Other Side
Chapter 6. Omission
Chapter 7. What is Beautiful is Good
Chapter 8. What’s in a Brand
Chapter 9. What’s in a Headline
Chapter 10. Fake News
Each chapter of the book includes the following assignments:
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