Standard 1: Demonstrate an understanding of the origins and purposes of government, law and the American political system.

General Information
Number: SS.7.CG.1
Title: Demonstrate an understanding of the origins and purposes of government, law and the American political system.
Type: Standard
Subject: Social Studies
Grade: 7
Strand: Civics and Government (Starting 2023-2024)

Related Benchmarks

This cluster includes the following benchmarks.

Related Access Points

This cluster includes the following access points.

Access Points

SS.7.CG.1.AP.1
Identify the influences of ancient Greece, ancient Rome and the Judeo-Christian tradition on America’s constitutional republic.
SS.7.CG.1.AP.2
Identify the principles of due process of law, equality of mankind, limited government, natural rights, and rule of law, in the founding documents.
SS.7.CG.1.AP.3
Identify the impact that the Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, English Bill of Rights and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense had on colonists’ views of the government.
SS.7.CG.1.AP.4
Identify how Montesquieu’s view of separation of powers and John Locke’s theories related to natural law and Locke’s social contract, influenced the Founding Fathers.
SS.7.CG.1.AP.5
Identify how British policies and responses to colonial concerns led to the writing of the Declaration of Independence.
SS.7.CG.1.AP.6
Identify the ideas and grievances set forth in the Declaration of Independence.
SS.7.CG.1.AP.7
Identify how the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation led to the writing of the U.S. Constitution.
SS.7.CG.1.AP.8
Identify the six goals and purposes highlighted in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.
SS.7.CG.1.AP.9
Identify how the U.S. Constitution limits the powers of the government through separation of powers, checks and balances, individual rights, rule of law and due process of law.
SS.7.CG.1.AP.10
Identify the viewpoints of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists regarding the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
SS.7.CG.1.AP.11
Identify the influence of rule of law on the development of legal, political, and governmental systems in the United States.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this topic.

Assessment

Assessment: Articles of Confederation:

This written assessment prompt may be used to assess student knowledge about the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and how that led to the creation of the U.S. Constitution. A rubric and sample response are provided. 

Type: Assessment

Lesson Plans

The Art of Beautiful Handwriting:

Students will discuss how handwriting conveys the importance of a phrase. They will create a sketch to capture the meaning of “We the People” using the fitting mediums of calligraphy and illuminated manuscripts in this integrated art and civics lesson plan. 

 

Type: Lesson Plan

Democracy at Work: Federal, State, and Local Elections - Intro to Voting and Elections:

In this lesson, students will learn about the origins of democratic institutions in the United States and how voting and elections play a crucial role in supporting a constitutional republic and affecting the lives of citizens.

Type: Lesson Plan

Language of Liberty: The Declaration of Independence:

In this lesson, students will learn the basic rules for effective paraphrasing. Students will read an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence and paraphrase several key sentences to develop their paraphrasing skills and deepen their knowledge of this foundational document. Students will also use reference materials to determine the appropriate definitions of advanced vocabulary within the Declaration of Independence excerpt. Finally, students will answer text-dependent questions to deepen their analysis of the essential rights outlined in this foundational document.

Type: Lesson Plan

Let Us Continue:

In this lesson plan, students will read excerpts from President Lyndon Johnson’s “Let Us Continue” speech. Johnson delivered this speech to a joint session of Congress on November 27, 1963, just days after being sworn into office due to the death of President John F. Kennedy. Students will study excerpts from the speech, analyzing and comparing two central ideas and their supporting evidence. During the lesson, students will collaborate on their analysis, write observations based on their evidence, and answer text-dependent and standards-based questions.

Type: Lesson Plan

Greek and Roman Influences on American Government:

In this lesson plan, students will read and analyze documents relating to the systems of government created by the ancient Greek city-state of Athens, the Roman Republic, and the United States. They will evaluate and compare the systems to determine how they influenced the American constitutional republican form of government.

Type: Lesson Plan

Separation of Powers & Checks and Balances :

In this lesson plan, students will learn about separation of powers and checks and balances in the U.S. Constitution while completing guided notes that accompany a teacher-presented slideshow.  Students will then show what they know by engaging in a simulation activity and completing an exit ticket.

Type: Lesson Plan

Enlightenment Thinkers Chart:

In this lesson, students will complete an interactive chart during a PowerPoint used to identify and highlight the impact of significant Enlightenment thinkers (Locke, Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Rousseau) on modern U.S. government. Students will then complete a one-pager activity to demonstrate their understanding. 

 

Type: Lesson Plan

America's Founding Principles:

In this lesson, students will use the think-pair-share method to learn the definitions and meaning of each of our founding principles of government. Working in pairs, students will read a scenario describing each founding principle. Based on their interpretation, they will create their own definition. Then, they will share their response with their partner and come up with a modified definition. During the activity, the teacher will facilitate the learning process by offering clarification and other assistance as needed. At the conclusion of the activity, the teacher will lead a class discussion where the whole class will come up with a thorough, correct meaning for each founding principle.

Type: Lesson Plan

Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists:

In this lesson plan, students will learn about the viewpoints of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists regarding ratification of the U.S. Constitution while completing guided notes that accompany a teacher-presented slideshow.  Students will then show what they know by completing and submitting a short written response to a provided prompt.

Type: Lesson Plan

Articles of Confederation:

In this lesson plan, students will learn about the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation while completing guided notes that accompany a teacher-presented slideshow.  Students will then show what they know by discussing the topic and sharing their responses.

Type: Lesson Plan

An Introduction to the U.S. Constitution:

In this lesson plan, students will learn about the U.S. Constitution, with an emphasis on the Preamble, while completing guided notes that accompany a teacher-presented slideshow.  Students will then show what they know by completing and submitting an exit ticket.

 

Type: Lesson Plan

Enlightenment Ideas and the Founding:

In this lesson plan, students will trace the influence of Enlightenment ideas, specifically those of Montesquieu and John Locke, on the Founders while completing guided notes that accompany a teacher-presented slideshow. Students will then show what they know by completing and submitting a short written response to a provided prompt.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Declaration of Independence:

In this lesson plan, students will analyze the ideas and grievances set forth in the Declaration of Independence while completing guided notes that accompany a teacher-presented slideshow.  Students will then show what they know by rephrasing excerpts from the Declaration in their own words.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Road to Independence:

In this lesson plan, students will learn how British policies and colonial reactions led to the Declaration of Independence while completing guided notes that accompany a teacher-presented slideshow.  Students will then show what they know by creating a timeline.

Type: Lesson Plan

Exploring Rule of Law:

In this lesson plan, students will learn to define the rule of law and explore its key principles while completing guided notes that accompany a teacher-presented slideshow. Students will then show what they know by completing and submitting a short written response to a provided prompt.

Type: Lesson Plan

Key Documents That Influenced American Colonists:

In this lesson plan, students will trace the impact of documents like Magna Carta, the Mayflower Compact, the English Bill of Rights, and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense on colonial Americans while completing guided notes that accompany a teacher-presented slideshow. Students will then show what they know by completing and submitting a short written response to a provided prompt.

Type: Lesson Plan

America’s Founding Principles :

In this lesson plan, students will trace the principles underlying America’s founding ideas on laws and government while completing guided notes that accompany a teacher-presented slideshow. Students will then show what they know by completing and submitting a short written response to a provided prompt.

Type: Lesson Plan

Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists Philosophical Chairs :

This lesson is called “Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists Philosophical Chairs.” Philosophical Chairs is an activity that helps students to gain a deeper understanding of an issue by using text-based evidence to support a claim. This activity should follow an introductory lesson on the Federalists and Anti-Federalists.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Influence of Ancient Rome:

In this lesson plan, students will analyze the influences of ancient Rome on America’s modern constitutional republic while completing guided notes that accompany a teacher-presented slideshow. Students will then show what they know by completing and submitting a short written response to a provided prompt.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Influence of Ancient Greece:

In this lesson plan, students will analyze the influences of Ancient Greek democracy on America’s modern constitutional republic while completing guided notes that accompany a teacher-presented slideshow. Students will then show what they know by completing and submitting a short written response to a provided prompt.

Type: Lesson Plan

Federalists and Anti-Federalists:

Students will read for understanding to learn about the key differences between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists.  Students will then analyze primary document quotations from each of the sides and determine if each quote was from a Federalist or Anti-Federalist writer.  Finally, students will create a haiku poem to demonstrate learning about one of the sides.  

Type: Lesson Plan

Rule of Law in the United States of America:

In this lesson plan students will identify characteristics of rule of law and decide if rule of law is present or lacking in certain situations and to trace the development of the concept of rule of law in different historical settings. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Breaking Up with Britain:

In this lesson plan, students will learn about the Declaration of Independence. The teacher will lead a discussion, breaking down the document into four sections and introducing challenging vocabulary. Student groups will use inferencing skills to complete cloze notes with terms given in a word bank.

Type: Lesson Plan

Colonial Concerns:

In this lesson plan, students will learn about the "Road to Revolution" -- British policies and the colonists' responses to those -- through brainstorming and note-taking. Students will review by playing Bingo and then write to show what they have learned.

Type: Lesson Plan

Founding Principles:

In this lesson plan, students will learn about the governing principles that can be traced through America’s founding documents. Students will work independently or with a shoulder partner to demonstrate an understanding of the founding principles by completing a vocabulary Card Sort activity and a Primary Source Matching activity. There are six multiple choice questions on the Primary Source Matching activity to assess student understanding.

 

Type: Lesson Plan

America's Roman Roots:

In this lesson plan, students will view and anaylze an image of Cicero giving an address to the Roman Senators using teacher led questions. Students will divide into groups to research the influences that Rome had on the creation of America’s constitutional republic. Finally, students will share their findings to the class through short presentations.

Type: Lesson Plan

Federalists v. Anti-Federalists:

In this lesson, students will read about the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, including excerpts from primary sources, and complete a graphic organizer comparing their beliefs about the structure of the U.S. government and the U.S. Constitution.

Type: Lesson Plan

We the People: What the Founders Established:

In this lesson plan, students will study the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. They will learn about its purpose and examine what the Founders hoped to establish and preserve for their own generation as well as future generations of Americans. Students will apply their knowledge of vocabulary skills to determine the connotative and denotative meanings of selected words used in the Preamble. Students will also practice their paraphrasing skills by paraphrasing the Preamble. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Quiz Game! Limited Government:

Students will be engaged in a review game as they take notes about how the U.S. Constitution limits the powers of government through separation of powers, checks and balances, individual rights, rule of law and due process of law. Students will fill in a graphic organizer to assist them in keeping their notetaking organized.

Type: Lesson Plan

Deconstructing the Preamble:

In this lesson plan, students will begin by participating in a visual discovery.  Students will then take notes about, discuss, and deconstruct the Preamble.  Then, to check their knowledge, students will answer questions about the different parts of the Preamble.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Preamble and the People:

In this lesson plan, teachers will assist students in exploring the vocabulary of the Preamble, the goals and purpose of U.S. government, and people’s power in the constitutional system.

Type: Lesson Plan

U.S. Constitution:

In this lesson plan, students will describe the limits on federal power provided in the U.S. Constitution through separation of powers, checks and balances, individual rights, rule of law and due process of law.

Type: Lesson Plan

If At First You Don't Succeed... :

In this lesson plan, students will read a brief synopsis of the Articles of Confederation, identify weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation, create their own suggestions for changes, and then see what the U.S. Constitution did to alter the Articles of Confederation.

Type: Lesson Plan

Articles of Confederation:

In this lesson plan, students will identify the weaknesses of the government under the Articles of Confederation and the impact of those weaknesses on the early political life of the United States.

Type: Lesson Plan

Federalists and Anti-Federalists:

In this lesson plan, students will identify the viewpoints of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists in regards to ratification of the US Constitution and recognize the reasons the Anti-Federalists insisted on including a Bill of Rights.

Type: Lesson Plan

Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation:

Students will be able to analyze images to determine which weakness in the Articles of Confederation is being represented, why that specific item was present in the Articles of Confederation, and what possible problems could occur because that weakness was included. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Goals & Purposes of the Preamble:

In this lesson plan, students will identify the goals and purposes of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, explain how the Preamble serves to introduce the U.S. Constitution and interpret the various meanings of “We the People.” 

Type: Lesson Plan

It Came from Where?:

In this lesson plan, students will discover that our country’s founding principles can be traced back to earlier documents read by our Founders. Students will interpret excerpts from the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights and identify the important ideas contained within.

Type: Lesson Plan

Influential Documents: Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, English Bill of Rights and Common Sense:

In this lesson plan, students will identify the impact the Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, English Bill of Rights and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense had on colonists’ views of government.

Type: Lesson Plan

Enlightenment Thinkers: Montesquieu and Locke:

In this lesson plan, students will identify important Enlightenment thinkers that influenced how the Founders created the final plan for the United States government.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Declaration of Independence: Matching Grievances:

In this lesson plan, students will review and match the colonists' grievances as they expressed them in the Declaration of Independence.  Students will match the original wording of these grievances with simplified versions and then link each grievance to the natural rights of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Constitutional Controversy:

In this lesson, students will compare the viewpoints of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists regarding ratification of the U.S. Constitution and including a bill of rights. Students will collaborate to analyze the ideas about the U.S. Constitution put forth by the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists' ideas about the need for a bill of rights.

Type: Lesson Plan

Original Student Tutorials

The Influence of Ancient Greece: Part 3:

Compare and contrast the political systems and democratic principles that developed in ancient Greece with those of the modern United States.

This is Part 3 in a 3-part interactive tutorial series. Click below to explore the other tutorials in the series.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Influence of Ancient Greece: Part 2:

Compare and contrast the political systems and democratic principles that developed in ancient Greece with those of the modern United States.

This is Part 2 in a 3-part series. Click below to explore the other tutorials in the series.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Influence of Ancient Greece: Part 1 :

In Part 1 of this interactive tutorial series, you'll learn about direct democracy as it developed in ancient Athens, Greece.  In Parts 2 and 3, you'll compare and contrast the political systems and democratic principles that developed in Greece with those of the modern United States. 

This is Part 1 in a 3-part series. Click below to explore the other tutorials in the series.  

Type: Original Student Tutorial

All About Impeachment: Part 2:

In Part 2 of this interactive tutorial series, learn about the impeachment process detailed in the U.S. Constitution, including what it is, who can be impeached, why someone would be impeached, and some famous examples of impeachment in action.   

This is Part 2 in a two-part series. Click HERE to open Part 1.

 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

All About Impeachment: Part 1:

In Part 1 of this interactive tutorial series, learn about the impeachment process detailed in the U.S. Constitution, including what it is, who can be impeached, why someone would be impeached, and a bit about the process.  

 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Judicial Review: Brought to You by Marbury v. Madison:

In this interactive tutorial, learn about the famous Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison, which established the principle of judicial review.  You'll examine the details of the case and its important legacy in American history.  

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Federal Government: The Three Branches in Action :

In this interactive tutorial, you'll examine the powers and workings of the three branches of our federal government.  You'll learn what Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court really do.  Enjoy!

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Understanding Rule of Law:

In this interactive tutorial, learn about one of the most important principles in American democracy: rule of law.  You'll explore this important concept and learn about its application to a famous Supreme Court decision: United States v. Nixon.  

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Three Branches: Check Yourself!:

Explore the three branches of the U.S. federal government with a special emphasis on the checks and balances that allow our government to achieve a proper separation of powers in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Great Debate: Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists:

In this interactive tutorial, you'll compare the viewpoints of the two groups on opposite sides of the great debate over ratifying the U.S. Constitution: Federalists and Anti-Federalists.  

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Britain vs. America: What Led to the Declaration of Independence:

Learn why Great Britain and her 13 American colonies split between 1763 and 1776 with this interactive tutorial. At the end of this time span, Britain and America were at war, and the Declaration of Independence had announced the United States of America as a brand new nation, no longer colonies of Britain.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Analyzing the Declaration of Independence :

In this interactive tutorial, you'll learn how to analyze the ideas, grievances (complaints), and language found in the Declaration of Independence, one of the most important documents in the history of the United States.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Understanding the Preamble :

Analyze the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution -- line by line, word by word -- in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

From Confederation to Constitution:

Learn about the Articles of Confederation, our nation’s first written constitution, in this interactive tutorial.  You'll identify its major weaknesses and their consequences and explain the reasons why America's Founders replaced the Articles of Confederation with the government we still use today, the U.S. Constitution.  

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Three Branches of Government:

Learn how to identify the three branches of the federal government as established by the Constitution of the United States.  In this interactive tutorial, you will also learn to identify the structure and function of each branch of government. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Enlightenment Ideas and the Founders:

Learn how Enlightenment ideas like separation of powers, natural law, and the social contract influenced the Founders and their design of the United States government in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Colonists: What Were They Thinking?:

Learn how several famous documents influenced the views of American colonists when they sought their independence from Great Britain and formed their own government. In this interactive tutorial, you'll learn about the Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, the Mayflower Compact, and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

How Are Laws Made?:

In this interactive tutorial, learn how a bill becomes a law. You will see how bills (ideas for laws) are passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, and you'll learn how all three branches of government play a role in determining the laws of our land.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Project

Teaching Idea: Road to Revolution Talk Show :

Students will create a talk show or podcast that explains the grievances of the colonists and the British policies and events that led to the American Revolution. 

Type: Project

Teaching Ideas

Grade 7 Civics Family Guide: Standard 1:

This Grade 7 Civics Family Guide provides some ideas and activities to support civics education when at home, out and about, and in the community. The activities provided align to the civics learning benchmarks within Standard 1 at this grade level.

Type: Teaching Idea

One Pager Assessment: Articles of Confederation:

In this assessment idea, students will complete a planning and review sheet and then create a One Pager that identifies strengths and weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and explains repercussions of those strengths and weaknesses. A rubric and prep sheet (with answer key) are included.

Type: Teaching Idea

One Pager Assessment: Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists:

In this assessment idea, students create a One Pager that identifies the beliefs of the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists and how those beliefs shaped the U.S Constitution. A rubric and prep sheet (with answer key) are included. 

Type: Teaching Idea

Middle School Source Analysis: Rhetorical Appeals in the Declaration of Independence:

In this activity, designed for use in the debate classroom, students will use prior knowledge of ethos, logos, and pathos to analyze the grievances in the Declaration of Independence and classify the rhetorical appeals in each.

 

Type: Teaching Idea

Middle School Debate: Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists:

Students will participate in a debate using the arguments of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists. This could be a verbal, silent, or alley debate. One group will represent the Federalists and be given information relating to their arguments. The other group will act as the Anti-Federalists and be given information relating to their arguments. Provide students time to prepare their arguments either individually or as a team, then commence the debate.

Type: Teaching Idea

The Great Mini Debate: American Ideas (Middle School):

Students will debate which foundational ideas found in American documents are most important in the Great Mini Debate. Students will use evidence from the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble and the Bill of Rights to support their arguments. The Great Mini Debate Cheat Sheet will prompt beginning debaters as to what should go in each speech of the debate.

Type: Teaching Idea

Video/Audio/Animations

Portraits in Patriotism - Lily Tang Williams: Secondary School:

Lily Tang Williams was born in communist China during Mao Zedong’s rule. She witnessed Mao’s Cultural Revolution first hand as she was growing up. She was a member of the Young Pioneers and the Red Guard, but yearned to come to the United States to learn about and live in a democracy. In 1988, she was able to come to the United States for schooling and was granted asylum status.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Portraits in Patriotism - Luis Martínez Fernández: Middle - High School:

Luis Martínez-Fernández was born at the beginning of the Cuban Revolution. Dr. Martínez-Fernández immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 2 years old after the Bay of Pigs Invasion. His family moved to Lima, Peru after his father was offered employment there. Dr. Martínez-Fernández’s family left Peru after the President of Peru was ousted from power. The new government in Peru concerned Dr. Martínez-Fernández’s father and the family moved to Puerto Rico where they become U.S. Citizens. Dr. Martínez-Fernández moved to the U.S. after graduation from The University of Puerto Rico. He is a Professor of History, an author, and is civically engaged through his nationally syndicated column.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this topic.

Original Student Tutorials

The Influence of Ancient Greece: Part 3:

Compare and contrast the political systems and democratic principles that developed in ancient Greece with those of the modern United States.

This is Part 3 in a 3-part interactive tutorial series. Click below to explore the other tutorials in the series.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Influence of Ancient Greece: Part 2:

Compare and contrast the political systems and democratic principles that developed in ancient Greece with those of the modern United States.

This is Part 2 in a 3-part series. Click below to explore the other tutorials in the series.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Influence of Ancient Greece: Part 1 :

In Part 1 of this interactive tutorial series, you'll learn about direct democracy as it developed in ancient Athens, Greece.  In Parts 2 and 3, you'll compare and contrast the political systems and democratic principles that developed in Greece with those of the modern United States. 

This is Part 1 in a 3-part series. Click below to explore the other tutorials in the series.  

Type: Original Student Tutorial

All About Impeachment: Part 2:

In Part 2 of this interactive tutorial series, learn about the impeachment process detailed in the U.S. Constitution, including what it is, who can be impeached, why someone would be impeached, and some famous examples of impeachment in action.   

This is Part 2 in a two-part series. Click HERE to open Part 1.

 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

All About Impeachment: Part 1:

In Part 1 of this interactive tutorial series, learn about the impeachment process detailed in the U.S. Constitution, including what it is, who can be impeached, why someone would be impeached, and a bit about the process.  

 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Judicial Review: Brought to You by Marbury v. Madison:

In this interactive tutorial, learn about the famous Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison, which established the principle of judicial review.  You'll examine the details of the case and its important legacy in American history.  

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Federal Government: The Three Branches in Action :

In this interactive tutorial, you'll examine the powers and workings of the three branches of our federal government.  You'll learn what Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court really do.  Enjoy!

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Understanding Rule of Law:

In this interactive tutorial, learn about one of the most important principles in American democracy: rule of law.  You'll explore this important concept and learn about its application to a famous Supreme Court decision: United States v. Nixon.  

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Three Branches: Check Yourself!:

Explore the three branches of the U.S. federal government with a special emphasis on the checks and balances that allow our government to achieve a proper separation of powers in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Great Debate: Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists:

In this interactive tutorial, you'll compare the viewpoints of the two groups on opposite sides of the great debate over ratifying the U.S. Constitution: Federalists and Anti-Federalists.  

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Britain vs. America: What Led to the Declaration of Independence:

Learn why Great Britain and her 13 American colonies split between 1763 and 1776 with this interactive tutorial. At the end of this time span, Britain and America were at war, and the Declaration of Independence had announced the United States of America as a brand new nation, no longer colonies of Britain.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Analyzing the Declaration of Independence :

In this interactive tutorial, you'll learn how to analyze the ideas, grievances (complaints), and language found in the Declaration of Independence, one of the most important documents in the history of the United States.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Understanding the Preamble :

Analyze the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution -- line by line, word by word -- in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

From Confederation to Constitution:

Learn about the Articles of Confederation, our nation’s first written constitution, in this interactive tutorial.  You'll identify its major weaknesses and their consequences and explain the reasons why America's Founders replaced the Articles of Confederation with the government we still use today, the U.S. Constitution.  

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Three Branches of Government:

Learn how to identify the three branches of the federal government as established by the Constitution of the United States.  In this interactive tutorial, you will also learn to identify the structure and function of each branch of government. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Enlightenment Ideas and the Founders:

Learn how Enlightenment ideas like separation of powers, natural law, and the social contract influenced the Founders and their design of the United States government in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Colonists: What Were They Thinking?:

Learn how several famous documents influenced the views of American colonists when they sought their independence from Great Britain and formed their own government. In this interactive tutorial, you'll learn about the Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, the Mayflower Compact, and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

How Are Laws Made?:

In this interactive tutorial, learn how a bill becomes a law. You will see how bills (ideas for laws) are passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, and you'll learn how all three branches of government play a role in determining the laws of our land.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this topic.

Teaching Idea

Grade 7 Civics Family Guide: Standard 1:

This Grade 7 Civics Family Guide provides some ideas and activities to support civics education when at home, out and about, and in the community. The activities provided align to the civics learning benchmarks within Standard 1 at this grade level.

Type: Teaching Idea