CAP for Government Lesson Plans Overview (Middle School)
Lesson 1: What is an Effective Citizen?
This lesson introduces the Civic Action Project (CAP). To help students understand CAP’s rationale, students first discuss why civics is a required course. Then they brainstorm the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and actions of informed and effective citizens. Finally, students are introduced to the CAP assignment of addressing a problem or issue through informed civic actions.
Lesson 2: Introducing the CAP Website (Homework Assignment)
In this homework assignment, students are challenged to complete a scavenger hunt that will familiarize them with featured online resources designed to help them with developing their CAP projects. Students will then apply what they learn to complete Project Proposal in next lesson.
Lesson 3: Exploring Issues, Problems, and Policy
This lesson provides students with an understanding of the concept of cause and effect. Students will apply this concept to specific examples. Next, students will read and discuss a short article defining policy to understand the connection between problems and policy. Finally, students will analyze policy scenarios to understand how policy can be part of the solution or sometimes even be part of the problem.
Lesson 4: Civic Action A: Proposal
In this lesson, students are introduced to the Project Proposal Planner and challenged to convince a classroom audience that the problem, issue, or policy they want to address is important. First students will convene in their civic action groups. Next they will review their “Picture the Problem” charts to draft and add their group’s CAP issue statement. Finally, groups will apply the results of their “Picture the Problem” and Citizenship Brainstorm charts to complete their Project Proposal Planner before submitting for teacher approval.
Lesson 5: Policy Implications
This lesson provides students with further background about the connections between problems, policy, and civic actions. First, students explore how policy can be linked to problems. Finally, they receive their CAP assignment and become familiar with the CAP Proposal.
This lesson introduces students to the art of persuasion. First, they read about and discuss the three types of persuasion: appeal to reason (logos), appeal to emotion (pathos), and appeal to ethics (ethos). Then students prepare two-minute persuasive talks on why their CAP issue is important. Finally, in their CAP groups, students present their talk to the class for feedback.
Lesson: Analyzing Homelessness Policies (Optional)
This lesson provides students with an additional opportunity to practice analyzing policy. First, as a whole group, they evaluate a criminalization of homelessness policy using GRADE. Then in small groups, they are given policies that address the criminalization of homelessness and they evaluate each.
Lesson: Civic Action B: Thinking It Through (Homework)
In this lesson, students continue to narrow the focus of their CAP projects by drafting three important questions about their problem or issue. First, students convene in their civic action groups to reflect on results and challenges of their first civic actions. Next, they brainstorm three guiding questions that they want to address with their civic actions. Finally, each group works together to apply the results of discussion and feedback to their Thinking It Through Planner.
Lesson: The Mayor's Speech (Optional)
As students continue to work on their CAP projects, this lesson reminds them of the importance of thinking about cost and benefits as they seek solutions to problems. In this two-day activity, students become a Crime-Free Schools Task Force appointed by the mayor of a hypothetical community of Glen Hills to choose a school safety plan that makes the best use of funds. In Day One, students listen to a reading of the mayor’s speech before they break into groups to read and analyze five Crime-Free Schools plans. In Day Two, students meet again to review and select plans to address school safety and crime. Note: Effective law enforcement requires the cooperation of all the communities it serves. The school community is no exception. This lesson helps students place issues of law enforcement and public safety in the context of their own lives and that of the school.