Middle School Social Studies / 8th Grade

Writing for Change

Why is the Constitution still so controversial?

Students research and learn about the three branches of government – and how they check and balance each other – as they answer the question: Why are we still arguing about the Constitution?  They read and analyze texts by Plato, Hobbes, Rousseau, Jefferson and Madison, the country’s founding documents, and the various controversies and compromises that led to the writing of the Constitution. Students apply their expertise to a landmark Supreme Court case and discuss how the case represents the tension between protecting individual liberty and the common good.  To conclude the unit, students write a persuasive letter to an elected official to present an argument for making an important change.  

Unit length: 4-5 weeks (23-25 hours)

"I see connections everywhere, like I watch TV and I realize that I know about the Supreme Court case that created Miranda rights."

Jamal, Student
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