Waterloo Elementary School (Columbia, MD). Waterloo Elementary School’s social studies curriculum actively engages students by interacting with a variety of resources and demonstrating learnings through various performance-based assessments. The students explore a variety of social studies curriculum topics (e.g., Money Matters, Project Citizenship, Changing Communities, and Mapping Our World.) The culminating project occurs in 5th grade in an activity, Simulated Congressional Hearings (SCH). Throughout the year, 5th graders study four units of instruction: The American Revolution, Building a New Nation, Challenges of a New Nation, and We the People. SCH provides an opportunity for students to work collaboratively as they simulate participation in hearings associated with interpretations relating to the Constitution. Students assume the role of constitutional experts on topics they have been learning. Students appear before a panel of civic volunteers and justify their interpretations of Constitutional influences during debates focusing on current event topics. Student groups are evaluated on: understanding, constitutional application, reasoning, supporting evidence, responsiveness, and participation.
Hume-Fogg Academic High School (Nashville, TN). The Social Studies department of Hume-Fogg Academic (HFA) High School promotes literacy, communication, problem-solving, and the development of engaged citizens. All juniors must take Honors or AP United States History and all seniors take AP U.S. Government and AP Microeconomics. Additionally, students may select from electives (e.g., AP Comparative Government, Contemporary Issues, and African American History). In AP Government, all eligible seniors complete the registration process and register to vote. As a result, the school has the top percentage of registered voters of all high schools in Davidson County. In addition, students volunteer in political campaigns for candidates and ballot issues. Despite the perception that most American high school students have only recently shed civic apathy for activism, HFA students have long enjoyed the reputation of being both informed and engaged.
Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy (Wilmington, CA). Challenge Los Angeles is a 7-week competition in which students from LAUSD high schools select an issue and develop solutions to complex problems facing their communities. HTPA students formed Harbor 4 Hunger, focusing on promoting healthy eating habits and free food resources. Students connect food donors with local charities running food pantries; create emergency food boxes for local schools; and participate and run food tabling services at local markets and businesses and food drives at local schools. The activity is designed to promote civic responsibility, leadership skills, teamwork, and discussion with local experts.
Doral Academy of Technology (Doral, FL). The seventh grade civics curriculum develops a student’s understanding of the foundations of our constitutional democracy and the fundamental principles and values upon which they were founded. Students participate in a Civic Political Fair, taking surveys to determine political scale awareness. DAT offers elective courses in law studies. Students learn how the American justice system works from a civil and criminal perspective that includes mock trials and speech and debate. Middle school students can serve as jurors, critique student attorneys for a mock trial, and shadow high school students while they prepare for a district-wide Mock Trial Competition. In the competition, DAT students present four full trials, opening statements, and closing arguments. They prepare witnesses, authenticate documents, and engage in direct and cross-examinations.
Additionally, this past election season middle school students participated in a mock election where they voted on the Florida ballot.
John P. Woods Elementary School (Fort Smith, AR). Woods Elementary holds yearly student council officer elections. Students prepare campaign materials and present speeches before the student body votes using computer kiosks. After officers are elected, students in each class run for representatives, creating marketing materials and giving speeches. Throughout the year, the student council participates in community civic activities, such as holding drives for the Wounded Warrior Project, Hamilton House, and the Humane Society.
In addition, during Constitution day students and community members share literature about how the country was founded. Fifth grade students participate in a Flag Etiquette program provided by the William O. Darby Chapter of Military Officers Association of America. Then students from this assembly are chosen to raise and lower the campus flag every day.