Elementary

The Great Debate: Five Famous Supreme Court Cases

This lesson introduces students to the judicial branch and the Constitution, and engages students in creating a debate. First, the teacher has students review one of four landmark Supreme Courts cases on the animated Courts in the Classroom web site. Then students write a persuasive essay on a topic related to the case, drawing on arguments used on the website. Finally students conduct a debate on their topic, which is recorded as a podcast.

Middle School

The President, the Chief Justice, and the Cherokee Nation

This lesson examines the power of judicial review, its application in the case of Worchester v. Georgia, and legal rights of the Cherokee Indians in the 1830s. First, the teacher reviews "Checks and Balances" on the Courts in the Classroom web site. Then students read and discuss "The President, the Chief Justice, and the Cherokee Nation" an article providing more information on judicial review and the Worcester case. Finally, in an activity, students write a letter to President Andrew Jackson.

Background Reading for Teachers: Indian Removal: The Cherokees, Jackson, and the "Trail of Tears"

High School

The Brown Decision What Does it Mean Today?

This lesson examines the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education and how the U.S. Supreme Court interprets its meaning today. First, the teacher reviews "Fourteenth Amendment--Brown" on the Courts in the Classroom web site, which provides an overview of equal protection and the Brown case. Students read and discuss "The Brown Decision: What Does it Mean Today?" an article providing more information on the history and law of the case. Finally, in an activity, students examine a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision interpreting the meaning of Brown today and write an op/ed piece giving their views on the decision.

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