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Six Goals of the United States Constitution Preamble

“…establish justice…” “…promote the general welfare….” “…secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…”  

By connecting the goals of the federal government to primary source visual representations, this simple civics lesson will help students to remember and think more deeply about the goals set out by the Preamble to the United States Constitution.

Restricting Immigration to the US

This lesson uses the 21st century “travel ban,” ruled constitutional in 2018, as an entry point to explore previous shifts in US immigration policy. More specifically, students will use primary sources to examine social contexts of three specific immigration laws (Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Immigration Acts of 1921 & 1924, and Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952) in order to understand who was banned or excluded from the US and why.

Civil Rights & Disability: 1990 ADA, IDEA, & the Juvenile Justice System Today

Kelley McDermott, History teacher in a Massachusetts Department of Youth Services facility developed this lesson to attract her 8th grade students interest in research and public policy. Historically, students with disabilities are disproportionally caught up in the juvenile justice system. The lesson employs many strategies and tools for accessibility from Emerging America's Accessing Inquiry course. These include a focus vocabulary analysis and Universal Design for Learning plan.

Literacy in Practice Standards Are the Entry Point for Elementary Social Studies

Published on Mon, 05/20/2019

How can we teach students the most vital skills to function as citizens? Since the early 19th century, preparation for civic life has been the central reason for public schools. As part of a multi-year effort to reinvigorate the civic mission of schools, in 2016 the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) added “readiness for civic life” to its core definition of what it means to be educated in the state. http://www.doe.mass.edu/ccr/

In or Out: Race and Disability as Legal Barriers to Immigration

Who gets accepted as a citizen or as an immigrant?  Who is considered a desirable immigrant? Students will work in small groups to examine a primary source text and image set about immigrants at the turn of the 20th century.  They will use the sources to develop a deeper understanding of the hurdles and discrimination many immigrant groups faced. In addition to learning about race-based entry policies, students will observe that many types of disabilities were considered undesirable and would keep an immigrant out.

American Revolution and U.S. Constitution

The following set of resources from the Library of Congress was prepared for Special Education in Institutional Settings (SEIS). The set presents primary source documents and images on two main units of study: The American Revolution and the U.S. Constitution. There are abundant resources on the American Revolution and U.S. Constitution. Therefore, this set recommends a careful selection of the most engaging. Teachers and students can focus on the most valuable sources from the era for use in classroom or research settings.

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