American Government / Civics Constitutional Issues Research Paper Project

American Government / Civics Constitutional Issues Research Paper Project
American Government / Civics Constitutional Issues Research Paper Project
American Government / Civics Constitutional Issues Research Paper Project
American Government / Civics Constitutional Issues Research Paper Project
American Government / Civics Constitutional Issues Research Paper Project
American Government / Civics Constitutional Issues Research Paper Project
American Government / Civics Constitutional Issues Research Paper Project
American Government / Civics Constitutional Issues Research Paper Project
Grade Levels
Common Core Standards
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5 MB|61 + 14 PPT slides
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Product Description
Culminate your American Government / Civics course with this highly scaffolded research paper that lets you or your students choose a hotly debated Constitutional issue! It's like three projects in one!

Everything is included, from brainstorm to final edit, for your students to research and argue whether or not to change the Constitution to:

- Abolish the Electoral College
- End the 14th Amendment's granting of birthright citizenship
- Allow naturalized citizens the right to become President


By the end of this project, your students will be able to:
- Locate, annotate, analyze, and cite high-quality sources
- Apply Constitutional provisions to modern issues
- Develop a carefully decided position and support it with organized argument and compelling evidence
- Demonstrate mastery of content and college-ready critical thinking skills through an extended formal argumentative essay

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Greatness is deeply exploring a controversial issue in order to develop, articulate, and persuade a thoughtful, supported position.

The Constitution, created with enormous foresight and enlightened values, has been able to withstand enormous social changes in its 200+ year existence. It’s astounding how few changes have been made and how few issues really are at the current forefront of debate over whether or not an official change is due again.

Facilitate your students on their quest through the compelling constitutional issue of their choice as they research, decide, and defend their position in a formal research paper that answers the overarching question, “Is it time for a 28th Amendment?”

You will set each of your students up for success in this no-prep project, regardless of ability, with all the highly scaffolded graphic organizers, skill sheets, and supplemental sources included at each step of the way.

Empower your students to be the self-guided questioners, researchers, and writers!

Included in this compete research project unit:

Teacher Materials
- Project-At-A-Glance sheet and 2 pages of detailed daily lesson plans from initial brainstorming to submission

Student Materials
- Project Check Off- break and track the entire project into 6 manageable steps
- Concept Definition- build a growing nuanced definition throughout the research process to “amendment,” “electoral college,” “president,” “citizenship”
- Going to the Source- closely read and analyze the U.S. Constitution’s language and Founding Father’s rationales
- Evolving Position- record and organize “For” and “Against” arguments
- Research Kick Off- brainstorm search keywords and sources
- News Media Source Research- thoroughly analyze and evaluate each source found
- Essay Body Outline- develop and organized body paragraphs
- Introduction & Conclusion Rough Draft- craft strong opening and closing paragraphs
- Reflection and Rubrics- connect performance to standards (comes in CCSS-aligned & generic)

Additional Resources
- 7 Skill Sheets: Annotating a Text, News Media Source Analysis, Finding Appropriate Sources, Google News vs. Proquest, Citation Annotated, Sample MLA Formatting, Peer / Self Edit Sheet
- Editable supplemental PPT with links to 8 news articles, editorials, and government resources for EACH of the 3 issues to start and guide students in their research

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Tips from my Classroom
I use this to meet state, school, and department requirements that students conduct a college-level research paper. We dedicate the last three weeks of my American Government / Civics course to diving into these issues. I give students the freedom to pick which of the three topics they want to research and argue.

By providing so much scaffolding with various handouts, tools, and sources, it's easy to cater to all ability levels, allowing even below-grade level students success in this challenging project!

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Note to Homeschoolers

Though the included teacher lesson plans are written to fully support a traditional classroom teacher, this resource is also a great fit for your teenage homeschooler:

- the independent inquiry of this project is driven more by critical thinking, reading, and writing skills than any one set of state-specific, grade-specific content standards
- a wide age and ability range can easily access sources at their reading levels, making it perfect for a multi-grade group
- your student’s voice is central to each step of this project, through talking out their learning, maximizing the one-on-one
- each stage of the research process can be completed independently and isn't solely reliant on group or whole-class work
- all utilized sources are free and easily obtainable; either included or accessible online (links provided)
- this project is independent of a textbook, though one could be used for greater background knowledge

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Want more American Government / Civics resources?
3 Branches Unit contrast how the federal government works in theory and in practice
Judicial Branch & Bill of Rights Unit determine exactly how our rights translates into daily American life
Citizenship Test & Op-Ed Project make citizens out of your students with this semester-long project
Political Service Project make community members out of your students with this semester-long project

Want the whole semester AND save big?
American Government / Civics MEGA Bundle get the whole course at once!
Total Pages
61 + 14 PPT slides
Answer Key
Included with rubric
Teaching Duration
3 Weeks
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$12.00
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