social studies

The Constitution

8/17-8/18 <---Political definitions

8/18 <---Forms of government

8/18-8/21 <--Social Contract readings/questions

9/11 Remembrance 

My recollections of 9/11 <---Click link [9/11]

9/11 Real life timeline <---Click link [9/11]

A brief history of what happened on 9/11 <---Click link [9/11]

Text analysis

Select one of following articles of the U.S. Constitution and provide a 200 word overview of the purpose and powers listed within that article. Due by the end of class Monday 9/25.

Text of the U.S. Constitution

Article 1 <--Click link              

Article 2 <--Click link

Article 3 <--Click link

Article 4 <--Click link

Article 5 <--Click link

Article 6 <--Click link

Article 7 is the Ratification section

Literature review
Select 1 of the 4 essays written by constitutional scholars and write a one page (no more, no less) summary and review of the essay. Your work must be done electronically and submitted via Google doc or email no later than by the end of class Monday 9/25.

To access the essays click on the link that says "About the Constitution" and you will see 4 different articles. Beeman, Calabresi, Rosen & Rubenstein, and Post & Siegel are the authors.
Your review must include each of the following: 

(a) brief summary of the author's main idea

(b) an identification of the portions of the U.S. Constitution the author referenced

(b) Your critical opinion of the author's perspectives using specific citations from the essay

Scholarly analyses about the U.S. Constitution <--Click link

Bill of Rights task [Modern controversies]

Amendment 1                          Amendment 6

Amendment 2                          Amendment 7

Amendment 3                          Amendment 8

Amendment 4                          Amendment 9

Amendment 5                          Amendment 10

Landmark U.S. Supreme Court Cases

Essential list of 51 landmark cases <--Click link

Landmark cases Part 2 <---Click on link

Oyez site <--Click link <--Click link

Freedom of speech in 2017: Do we still have it?

WFU panel discussion on NFL protests <--Click link

Based on the articles's presentation of the WFU panel discussion and your personal opinion of the 1st Amendment's Freedom of Speech doctrine. Answer the following question.

Other recent news on the subject:

Source #1 <--Click

Source #2 <--Click

Source #3 <--Click 

Source #4 <--Click 

Task-Based on the resources above provide a well supported written response to the question below that can also be verbally defended in class. 

Question:What should be or not be consequences for kneeling or sitting during the national anthem or pledge of allegiance? How does the 1st Amendment protect or not protect Americans in this situation? 

Two SCOTUS case comparisons vis a vis the 2nd Amendment and the 14th Amendment:


Obergefell v. Hodges [Door side]

Link 1 <--Click 

Link 2 <--Click 

District of Columbia v. Heller [Window side]

Link 1 <--Click

Link 2 <--Click

Apply the following question to each case analysis:

Why was the case decision correct or incorrect? [cite authors' perspectives].

Eminent Domain and the 5th Amendment

Kelo v New London

Facts of the case <--Click link

Analysis of the case <--Click 

Effects of the case <--Click link

Based on what the 5th Amendment says about Eminent Domain and what was determined and litigated in the Kelo case is why was the decision just and was this the real intent of the 5th Amendment? [Students will share a text a verbal representation of their thoughts.]

8th Amendment Controversies: Cruel and Unusual Punishment?

Site 1 <--Click link     Site 2 <--Click link

Site 3 <--Click link     Site 4 <--Click link

Site 5 <--Click link     Site 6 <--Click link

Is this someone who should receive death? <--Click

The case of George Stinney <--Click 

Based on the perspectives above answer and be prepared to discuss the following:

Why is capital punishment (death sentence) appropriate or not appropriate for cases not involving murder? 

The Controversy of Roe v. Wade (1973)

Site 1 <--Click link    Site 2 <--Click link 

Site 3 <--Click link    Site 4 <--Click link

Site 5 <--Click link    Site 6 <--Click link

Site 7 <--Click link    Site 8 <--Click link

The Court's ruling in the Roe case hinged on the plaintiff's claim laws banning abortion violated the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution which says the following: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Task due for submission and discussion on 10/30/17-

Based on the text of the 4th Amendment and your analysis of the sources provided above create a legitimate, defensible argument for both sides in this case. Questions to consider: Is abortion a civil right protected by the US Constitution? Do unborn children, especially those who could survive outside the womb, also possess rights protected by the US Constitution?

Local gov't, law enforcement & the 8th Amendment

The New Asylums <--Click link

Based on the issues, dilemmas, treatment, and "punishments" of the individuals shown in the video answer the following prompt based on direct evidence and the text of the 8th Amendment:

How is the incarceration of people with mental health problems in compliance or in conflict with the 8th Amendment to the US Constitution? How is their incarceration a valid protection for citizens?

The US Legislative Branch: Congress


Class starter: 
"Congress has a split personality. On the one hand, it is a lawmaking institution and makes policy for the entire nation. In this capacity, all the members are expected to set aside their personal ambitions and perhaps even the concerns of their constituencies. Yet Congress is also a representative assembly, made up of 535 elected officials who serve as links between their constituents and the National Government. The dual roles of making laws and responding to constituents' demands forces members to balance national concerns against the specific interests of their States or districts."

                        --James Burns, et al, Gov't by the People

What did the author mean by the above statement?


Discussions questions Section 4.1

(1) What is the role of Congress (as a unified body) in a democracy? pp. 128-131

(2) What are the roles of individual members of Congress? Which roles are most important if any and why? pp. 130-132

(3) How do terms and sessions of Congress work? pp. 133-134

(4) How are members of Congress compensated? What are views on their specific compensation packages? pp. 134-136

Email one of your local members of Congress

Senator Thom Tillis <--Click link

Senator Richard Burr <--Click link

Representative Virginia Foxx <--Click link


Overview of Congress 4.2

(1) How is representation in the House of Representatives "apportioned"? pp. 137-138

(2) What have several controversies related to the reapportionment of Congress districts been? pp. 138-141

(3) What are the basic qualifications of members of the House and why are they in place? pp. 141-143

(4) What are the basic qualifications of members of the Senate and why are they in place? pp. 143-146

Assessment prompts 1-3 on p. 146


Expressed Powers of Congress 4.3

(1) What are the major differences between expressed, delegated, inherent, and implied powers? pp. 147-148

(2) Why do you believe the "Commerce Powers" was delegated to Congress and what are the limits on this power? pp. 149-150

(3) Which is most important "money power" and which is the least important? Explain. pp. 150-152

(4) How might domestic Congressional powers to regulate things such as copyrights/patents, postal services, US territories, naturalization, and weights and measures bog down those areas? pp. 154-156

(5) Why is it important for Congress to have a say in foreign policy and military action? pp. 157-158


Implied Powers 4.4

(1) Why do you believe the Founding Fathers decided to include the Necessary and Proper Clause (aka the Elastic Clause) in the US Constitution? pp. 159-160

(2) Which Constitutional perspective is BEST strict or liberal (loose) constructionist? pp. 160-162

(3) Which power is more important and why: (a) Investigation; (b) Impeachment; (c) Amendment? pp. 163-168


Congressional organization and Committees 4.5

(1) Based on the statements of Congressman Sherrod Brown why was he so awestruck? pp. 170-171

(2) What are at 3 least duties, powers, and responsibilities of the House Speaker? pp. 171-173

(3) What is the purpose of State of the Union message delivered before Congress at least once a year? pp. 172-173

(4) In what ways do Congressional presiding officers and party officers provide leadership in Congress? pp. 173-176

(5a) What is the purpose of Congressional committees, who leads them, how is leadership established, and what are criticisms of the "seniority rule"? pp. 176-177

(5b) Describe the functions of the five (5) types of Congressional committees? Which one is most important? pp. 177-181

AP GOPO Congress Review resources

Item 1 <---Click link              Item 3 <---Click link

Item 2 <---Click link              Item 4 <---Click link

                         Item 5 <---Click link

The so-called 4th Branch of the US Government:
The Federal Bureaucracy

3-day task: Individual Presentation (Google slides or Prezi)
Due by Friday 11/17 (in lieu of a traditional quiz)

Item 1 <---Click link      Item 6 <---Click link

Item 2 <---Click link      Item 7 <---Click link

Item 3 <---Click link      Item 8 <---Click link

Item 4 <---Click link      Item 9 <---Click link

Item 5 <---Click link      Item 10 <---Click link

                         Item 11 <---Click link

                         Item 12 <---Click link

Using the resources above and/or any others you find as well as your textbook create a presentation you will share with the class that does the following:

(a) Describes and explains what the US Federal bureaucracy is in general.

(b) Select a specific federal bureaucratic agency (i.e. FDA, FCC, FTC, FDIC, EPA, etc.)

(c) Explains how it is helpful and/or harmful to the civil rights of US citizens, US corporations, state and local governments, and good order of the United States.

(d) Explains why this "4th Branch" of government should be expanded or reigned in.

EQ-How do political parties, interest groups/PACs, and the Media effect U.S. Policy? [12/13/17-12/15/17]

Task: Students will create and share a presentation related to a specific current U.S. policy. Students' work should reflect their research using viewpoints expressed by known political parties, interest groups/PACs, and specific media organizations. Students' analyses of these viewpoints must be evident in their work. The following minimum requirements must be included in the presentation. Students may use Prezi, Google slides or PowerPoint for this task.

Minimum requirements of this task must include:

(a) A clear and specific current U.S. policy

(b) Clear and specific viewpoints of at least one American political party, one interest group/PAC, and one media organization (one can use more than one of the aforementioned but more is not always better).

(c) A clear consideration of alternate viewpoints on the policy you stated

(d) A clear statement of the importance of the policy to the United States

(e) A clear assessment of how the outcome of the implementation of the will effect different groups within the United States

(f) A clear assessment of how the political party, interest group/PAC, and media organization has/is effecting the formulation and implementation of the policy in the United States.

These presentations shall be shared Monday (12/18) and Tuesday (12/19).

EQ-How does the United States use its role in the UN [United Nations] to forward its foreign policy objectives and maintain national security? [1/3/17-1/5/17]

Task: Students will create and share a presentation related to a specific current/historical U.S. foreign policy objective and/or national security threat to the United States. Students' work should reflect their research using content related to a specific US foreign policy objective and/or national security threat to the US that was dealt with in the United Nations, handled/guided/directed by the American Ambassador to the UN and the specific outcome(s) of the situation and its long term impact(s). Students' analyses of these viewpoints must be evident in their work. The following minimum requirements must be included in the presentation. Students may use Prezi, Google slides or PowerPoint for this task.

Minimum requirements of this task must include:

(a) What is the UN (United Nations)? Why was the UN created? What is the stated purpose of the UN?

(b) How did the issue you selected become so centrally important that it needed to be dealt with by the UN?

(c) What is your assessment of the US Ambassador and the US's decision-making process regarding the issue you selected?

(d)  A clear consideration of alternate viewpoints on the policy you stated from other countries and the validity of their claims.

(e) What were perceptions of the US Ambassador's actions by foreign countries?

(f) What is the role of the US regarding the UN in your opinion? How and why should that role change or remain the same?

Students will share their presentations Monday (1/8/17) and (1/9/17) Tuesday. 

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