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Stand Up! Civil Disobedience Research Project and Informational Writing

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Stand Up! Common Core Aligned Civil Disobedience Research supports the conceptual modules of civil disobedience, passive rebellion, and perseverance.

This research project is appropriate for all high school grade levels and can be used as a stand-alone, research project/informational writing activity or as an extension research-based activity focusing of the themes present in the following: Huckleberry Finn, Antigone, or Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience.”

The need to conduct research and to produce and consume media is embedded into every aspect of today’s curriculum. Research and media are embedded throughout the Standards rather than treated in a separate section.

The Common Core State Learning Standards state “to be ready for college, workforce training, and life in a technological society, students need the ability to gather, comprehend, evaluate, synthesize, and report on information and ideas, to conduct original research in order to answer questions or solve problems.”

The Stand Up! Civil Disobedience Research Project provides your students with the opportunity to engage in activities that reinforce inquiry-based research skills, such as the Common Core Learning Standards defined above.

Stand Up! includes an informational writing prompt for assessment. Students will be given the opportunity to analyze a topic, select a stance, present relevant content for support based on the synthesis of their researched information.

Students will begin this project with a presearch activity comparing the song Revolution by The Beatles to Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience.

After forming their own definitions of civil disobedience, students will research both historical models of civil disobedience and modern day examples using a Civil Disobedience Symbaloo Webmix that includes over 52 bookmarked digital resources.

Students will be provided with handouts on source citation, taking notes, effective keyword searching, and a Research Questions handout that provides students with structure during the note-taking process.

The project concludes with an informational writing prompt. Students will write an essay defining civil disobedience while also explaining through their specific, research-based evidence whether their chosen subject was justified in his/her act of protest or civil disobedience. Did the end justify the means?


The Stand Up! Civil Disobedience Research Project provides practice and application of the following Common Core ELA standards and Literacy in Social Studies/History:


Key Ideas and Details

Students read closely to determine what the digital resource text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it;

Students will cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text;

In the project assessment, students determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.


Integration of Knowledge and Ideas


Students will integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.


Research to Build and Present Knowledge

Students will conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation;

Students will gather relevant information from multiple digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism;

Students will draw evidence from digital resource informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.



Common Core Literacy in Social Studies and History

Key Ideas and Details

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.3 Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.9 Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea



The Stand Up! Civil Disobedience Research packet bundle includes over 45 pages of resources including the following:

Teacher Notes and Pacing Guide

Revolution by The Beatles - song lyrics and audio/video links

Handout comparing Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience to Lennon’s lyrics in Revolution

Access to 52 Digital Resources providing textual evidence of both historical and modern day Civil Disobedience including Rosa Parks, Dorothy Day, Malala Yousafzai, Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela, and Woody Guthrie and many, many more!

Civil Disobedience Chart to introduce students to possible topics

Citation Guide, Examples, and Source Citation Student Handouts

Effective Keyword Searching handout with examples

Notetaking Tips Handout

Notetaking Handout Template and Citation Sheet

Teacher’s Toolbox links for additional research apps to use with students who have their own devices

Research Questions handouts relevant to the Civil Disobedience topic

Research-Based Informational Writing Topic Sheet with Requirements

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Stand Up!  Civil Disobedience Research Project and Informa
Stand Up!  Civil Disobedience Research Project and Informa
Stand Up!  Civil Disobedience Research Project and Informa
Stand Up!  Civil Disobedience Research Project and Informa