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Making Civics Real: A Workshop for Teachers

Controversial Public Policy Issues

In this 12th-grade law class at Champlin Park High School in Minnesota, JoEllen Ambrose engages students in a structured discussion of a highly controversial issue — racial profiling — and connects student learning both to their study of due process in constitutional law and police procedure in criminal law. Students begin by completing an opinion poll, which they discuss as a group. Students are then put into pairs in which they conduct research on the topic. Next, students participate in a debate in which each partnership argues both sides of the issue. A debriefing discussion completes the lesson. The methodologies highlighted in this lesson include role playing and structured academic controversy.

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Test Your Knowledge (Before Watching)

Controversial Public Policy Issues — Quiz

Take this quiz to test your knowledge about the topics discussed in this workshop.

The state and Federal government cannot deprive a citizen of their life, liberty, or property without due process of law, according to the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States. Even though citizens have this protection, the police must act to protect the lives and property of the citizens for whom they work. Which level of government passes and enforces most of our criminal laws? Where in the U.S. Constitution do these police powers come from?

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Making Civics Real: A Workshop for Teachers


Produced by State of the Art, Inc., in collaboration with the National Council for the Social Studies and the Center for Civic Education. 2003.
  • Closed Captioning
  • ISBN: 1-57680-679-0