Social Studies in Action: A Teaching Practices Library, K-12
This video library for K-12 teachers shows a variety of effective social studies lessons and techniques for use with students at all levels.
A video library for K-12 teachers; 29 half-hour and 3 one-hour video programs, library guide, and website.
The Social Studies in Action teaching practices library, professional development guide, and companion website bring to life the National Council for the Social Studies standards. Blending content and methodology, the video library documents 24 teachers and their students in K-12 classrooms across the country actively exploring the social studies. Lively, provocative, and educationally sound, these lessons are designed to inspire thoughtful conversations and reflections on teaching practices in the social studies.
The Social Studies in Action video library and professional development guide bring to life the National Council for the Social Studies standards. Blending content and methodology, the series documents 24 teachers and their students in K-12 classrooms across the country actively exploring the social studies.
Here are some examples of what you’ll see:
- In San Francisco, first graders create a model city and tackle the city’s problems.
- In Seattle, fourth graders studying stereotypes encourage publishers to include the Negro league in baseball history books.
- In Brookline, Massachusetts, 12th graders draw on theories from Plato, Hobbes, and Marx to debate individual rights versus societal needs.
Lively, provocative, and educationally sound, these lessons are designed to inspire thoughtful conversations and reflections.
Using the Videos and Website
Social Studies in Action can be used for individual or group professional development, viewed in real time. The Web guide was designed to help you get the most out of each video. The guide is also available in print form, which you can download from this site. Before watching, review the Video Summary and About the Class sections of the guide. After watching, you can follow the viewing activities listed in the guide, including a second viewing of selected segments. If you are working in a group, discuss the questions provided in the guide; if you are working alone, write down your responses for later reflection.
To help you get the most out of each video, the professional development guide is organized into six parts.
1. Video Summary
This section includes a short summary of the videotaped lesson, a brief overview of the class, and a list of themes and national standards addressed in the lesson. Use this information to determine which lessons will best meet your content and/or methodology needs.
2. About the Class
This section is divided into two parts: Classroom Profile and Lesson Background. The Classroom Profile establishes the larger context, including the school community, where the lesson fits within the course curriculum, and students’ prior knowledge. Information from teacher interviews provides details about the lesson goals and objectives. The Lesson Background highlights each lesson’s content and methodology. Read this section before viewing the video.
3. Watching the Video
This section is divided into four parts: Before You Watch, Watch the Video, Reflecting on the Video, and Looking Closer. Before You Watch poses several questions to activate your current knowledge through reflection, discussion, or both. Watch the Video asks you to take notes on points you find interesting, surprising, or especially important as you watch the video. Reflecting on the Video presents questions to structure your review of your notes. Finally, Looking Closer has you take a second look at specific teaching strategies within the video.
4. Connecting to Your Teaching
This section includes Reflecting on Your Practice, questions that connect the video to your own teaching; and Taking It Back to Your Classroom, practical ideas related to the lesson that you can implement in your class.
This section lists the National Council for the Social Studies themes and content standards that correlate to the lesson.
This section offers print and Web resources related to the lesson, for both teachers and their students.
Tips for Facilitators
The following facilitator tips can enhance the professional development experience:
- Review the Web or print guide prior to running a study group or workshop.
- Print and duplicate the Video Summary and About the Class sections of the guide; have all participants read prior to viewing the lesson.
- Use the suggested questions and continue with other questions that interest you and your colleagues.
- Allow enough time to wait for participants’ responses.
Integrating Standards and Practices
About the NCSS Themes
In 1993, the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) appointed a task force to develop social studies curriculum standards for K-12 teachers. At the same time, other educational organizations developed content standards in several disciplines that connect to social studies (e.g., history, geography, civics, economics).
Two years of work and contributions from hundreds of social studies educators led to the NCSS publication Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies. This K-12 framework outlines 10 themes to describe performance expectations at early, middle, and high school levels. The themes draw heavily on disciplines whose content and processes have a foundation in social studies.
Lessons in the Social Studies in Action library are linked to the following NCSS themes:
- Culture: Traditions, beliefs, and values of their own groups and society, as well as those of others
- Time, Continuity, and Change: The past, as well as stability and change over time
- People, Places, and Environments: Spatial concepts and relationships
- Individual Development and Identity: Personal identity and cultural contexts
- Individuals, Groups, and Institutions: Types of groups and institutions and their relationships to individuals
- Power, Authority, and Governance: Structure of specific governments and various types of government across time and cultures
- Production, Distribution, and Consumption: Decisions that peoples and governments make when limited resources exceed wants
- Science, Technology, and Society: Influence of science and technology over time on the lives of individuals and societies
- Global Connections: The increasing links of peoples and societies across the world in terms of economy, communication, technology, and other factors
- Civic Ideals and Practices: Ideals, beliefs, values, and practices associated with informed citizenship
Within Expectations of Excellence, the themes focus on content and methodology, with specific examples of effective instructional practice and what students should know and be able to do. Rich themes and powerful instruction can achieve the major purposes of social studies as described in this NCSS definition: “…to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.”
The Social Studies in Action video library is accompanied by an introductory video and one overview video for each grade band.
- Introduction to the Video Library
- A Standards Overview, K-5
- A Standards Overview, 6-8
- A Standards Overview, 9-12
The introductory video summarizes the content and teaching practices of the Social Studies in Action library and issues tapes, including clips from the classroom videos, reflections from teachers and the project’s advisors, and an introduction to the Web and print guide.
The segments capture the range of content and teaching practices shown in the collection. You’ll see examples of mock trials, simulations, cooperative learning, presentations, controversial issues, and more. You’ll see teachers engaging students in Supreme Court cases, controversial issues, historical change, geography, and the elements of citizenship. You will also see teachers developing their students’ understanding of how social studies connects to larger issues in the community and world. The physical classrooms themselves are rich examples of how teachers can maximize their space for teaching social studies concepts. Watch the introductory tape to quickly familiarize yourself with the entire collection and to help you decide which videos you want to watch.
Each overview video illustrates innovative and vibrant ways of connecting social studies lessons to the standards-based themes developed by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS). The overview videos show teachers across all grade levels using the most age-appropriate strategies to bring social studies to life for students.
Use these videos to:
- launch a professional development workshop;
- facilitate a discussion about social studies methodology; or
- show parents how standards connect to social studies lessons.
They are designed to help teachers find new and creative ways of implementing NCSS themes in social studies in all grade levels.
Individual Lesson Summaries
David Kitts introduces the concept of change over time by identifying similarities and differences between past and current farming practices. Based on children’s literature, his first-grade students draw time wheels to illustrate their understandings of events in agricultural history, while comparing the major changes in farming technology.
China Through Mapping
Mimi Norton uses mapping exercises and other activities to increase her second graders’ understanding and appreciation of China’s major natural landmarks. Students demonstrate their knowledge of China’s geography by constructing a large map and placing the major landmarks in the appropriate positions.
Leaders, Community, and Citizens
Cynthia Vaughn teaches her first graders about connections among citizens, community issues, and local and national leaders, by diagramming those connections on a class chart. Students also explore life in a fictional community through role-plays as its citizens and leaders addressing local problems and possible solutions.
Making Bread Together
Meylin Gonzalez created a fictional bread company to explain basic economic concepts to her kindergarten class. Through participation in the bread-making assembly line, students learn about production, marketing, and the distinction between needs and wants. They also learn about the importance of communication and cooperation in creating and selling a finished product.
Caring for the Community
Debbie Lerner uses her school’s remodeling project to teach her multi-age class about community resources. Students discuss the planning, funding, and execution of the construction, talk to the district superintendent, and plan their contributions to the remodeling project.
Celebrations of Light
During the winter, Eileen Mesmer teaches her kindergarten and first-grade class about seasonal holidays from various religious and ethnic traditions, and identifies both the social and scientific aspects of winter solstice. Students participate in group discussions and demonstrations, read stories about the topics, and make posters.
Explorers in North America
Rob Cuddi teaches fifth graders about the impact of explorers in North America, in relation to history, economics, and the environment. Students work in groups to research a particular explorer, write his or her epitaph, create short skits about the explorer, and make posters.
Osvaldo Rubio introduces his fourth-grade class to the history of California missions. Specifically, he presents the effects of social, political, and cultural factors; and the consequences of Spanish peoples interacting with Native Americans. The class discusses cultural ethics and responsibility, and students make art and multimedia presentations.
State Government and the Role of the Citizen
Diane Kerr teaches her fourth-graders the functions of the three branches of government and the process through which a bill becomes a law. Students make and present posters and flipbooks to demonstrate their understandings of the state Supreme Court, the system of checks and balances, and the budget. After a discussion about an important local issue, the class writes letters to the district representative, proposing a new bill.
Using Primary Sources
Kathleen Waffle uses colonial-era primary sources to teach her fifth-graders about life when the colonies began to experience economic growth. Based on two primary sources from the time period, students use a graphic organizer to analyze specific trades and the master-apprentice relationship, and to compare current business practices to those of colonial times.
Making a Difference Through Giving
Darlene Jones-Inge helps fourth graders find ways to become better citizens by making realistic contributions to the world, the country, and their community. The class defines community and the importance of voting, and identifies major societal problems. In groups, the students then list gifts they want to give to the world, vote on a gift that the class will later work on, and make posters.
Libby Sinclair’s fourth- and fifth-grade students investigate stereotypes through discussion and examples in literature. Working in groups, they then research an example of a historical omission, and write to publishers, sharing their knowledge to persuade them to include the information in later publications.
Explorations in Archeology and History
Gwen Larsen introduces her sixth graders to connections among their family histories, the human family, and the development of civilizations. She explains how archeologists investigate artifacts, including noting physical details, asking questions, and exploring oral traditions. In groups, students then examine and write about artifacts. Later, each student brings an heirloom from home to share with the class.
Exploring Geography Through African History
Lisa Farrow teaches her seventh graders about the role of geography in African history. After researching and constructing timelines, maps, and posters, students identify how Africa’s geography affects its economics and history. Students also compare trading patterns, languages, and religions of various African empires.
The Amistad Case
Gary Fisher places the Amistad slave ship case at the center of his lesson about the U.S. Supreme Court and the evolution of African American rights. His eighth graders work in groups to research, construct, and present arguments for both sides in a role-play of the Amistad case trial. The lesson addresses issues of morality, justice, law, communication, and cultural differences.
Population and Resource Distribution
Becky Forristal emphasizes the relationship between population and resource distribution through a simulation exercise in which each student is assigned a world region. Her seventh graders work in small groups to distribute resources and tackle global issues, such as immigration, war, and standards of living.
Landmark Supreme Court Cases
Wendy Ewbank guides her seventh- and eighth-grade students through two simulation exercises to examine the nature of individual rights and the U.S. Supreme Court’s role in sustaining them. Students debate whether burning the American flag should be protected under the First Amendment and conduct a mock press conference in which they play key figures from historical landmark cases.
The Middle East Conflict
Justin Zimmerman introduces his sixth graders to the Middle East through the region’s geography, history, economy, and religions. Using hypothetical situations and a study of current events, students gain a basic understanding of the current conflict and confront the challenges of devising fair solutions.
Public Opinion and the Vietnam War
Liz Morrison’s ninth graders explore the controversy of the Vietnam War by investigating primary sources. After making predictions about opinion polls, students examine factual data, news clips, song lyrics, and articles from the time period. Based on this research, they analyze how much public opinion influenced U.S. government policy during the war.
Migration From Latin America
Mavis Weir teaches her 10th graders about migration through group research on six Latin American countries. Each group uses primary and secondary sources to create a multi-faceted product that illustrates its assigned country’s economic, political, and social living conditions and possible reasons for migration to the United States.
Wendell Brooks focuses on the U.S. founding principle of democracy to illuminate how competing ideologies drive world events. His ninth graders work in groups to research and present the impact of a major political ideology between World War I and today.
Economic Dilemmas and Solutions
In preparation for their final exam, Steve Page’s 12th graders review economic terms by analyzing a series of realistic economic and social problems. In groups, students research and develop solutions, which they present through posters and skits.
Tim Rockey’s 12th graders investigate controversial laws to evaluate legal interpretations of gender discrimination. In groups, students debate controversial gender discrimination laws and gender-based distinctions. Each group produces a poster stating when it believes gender-based distinctions are accurate and discrimination is reasonable.
The Individual in Society
In an in-depth study of five philosophers, Brian Poon asks his 12th graders to examine the role of the individual in creating a just society. Using the case of a fictional society on the brink of civil war, students develop solutions based on the ideology of one of the five philosophers.
The complete guide to the video library is available here for download in PDF. You will need a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader to read these files. You can download it for free from Adobe.
Explorations in Archeology and History
Exploring Geography Through African History
The Amistad Case
Population and Resource Distribution
Landmark Supreme Court Cases
The Middle East Conflict
Copyright © 2002 WGBH Educational Foundation
The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the nation’s largest professional organization for social studies educators, collaborated with WGBH Educational Foundation and Annenberg Media to create a product that would support reflection and discussion about excellent social studies teaching. Social Studies in Action: A Teaching Practices Library is the result.
Each video lesson is keyed to the NCSS curriculum standards, Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies. NCSS recognizes the library as an important tool for social studies educators–teachers entering the field, those new in teaching, as well as experienced educators–as video overviews, issues, lessons and web-based support stimulate viewer discussion and reflection about excellence in professional practice.
Mary A. McFarland, Writer
Dr. McFarland is a social studies education consultant with experience as an elementary, secondary, and university educator; and as social studies director, K-12, and director of professional development in the Parkway School District in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. From 1989-90, she served as president of the National Council for the Social Studies. She has consulted or presented in 27 states, Canada, Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Latvia on topics such as planning, instruction, and assessment in social studies; civic education; scope and sequence; critical thinking, reading, and writing in social studies; and trends and issues in education. She has written professional articles, web-based curriculum, and is the current co-author of an elementary social studies series for grades K-8.
Additional Editorial Content:
Program 1 Introduction to the Video Library
This program presents the purpose of the Social Studies in Action video library. It introduces all the components of the library, explains the goals of NCSS, and presents examples of classroom lessons throughout the library. This program also addresses a variety of ways in which the library can be used for enhancing the curriculum, teacher reflection, and best practices for teaching.
Program 2 A Standards Overview, K-5
This program includes K–5 classroom examples from across the country that define and illustrate the 10 NCSS thematic strands and present a variety of ways that they can be integrated into the K–5 curriculum. The primary grades begin to lay the foundation and groundwork for big ideas and concepts in social studies, such as a sense of place, time, community, and justice.
Program 3 Historical Change
David Kitts is a first–grade teacher on the Santo Domingo Indian Reservation in New Mexico. In his bilingual classroom, Native American students are studying the history of farming through a lesson that compares farming in eighteenth–century New England to current–day practices in the Midwest. The lesson uses literature and the study of various farming tools and products to illuminate the changes that have taken place in the industry over time and in different parts of the country. The lesson includes group activity and discussion.
Program 4 China Through Mapping
Mimi Norton teaches second grade at Solano Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona. In this lesson, students learn about China's position on the globe and the location of important landmarks within the country. As a class, students create a giant map of China on the floor. Working in teams, students complete mapping tasks at classroom stations, focusing on the five themes of geography. As a culminating activity, students solve an interactive detective mystery created by Ms. Norton and work in small groups to solve problems based on their mastery of the map of China.
Program 5 Leaders, Community, and Citizens
Cynthia Vaughn teaches first grade at the Rooftop Alternative School in San Francisco, California. The objective of Ms. Vaughn's lesson is to help her students differentiate between the titles and roles of elected officials at city, state, and country levels. After a class discussion outlining the various roles of these elected officials, students work in pairs to complete a chart, matching specific names with job titles and buildings, and then discuss their work with the whole class. Then, the students build their own fictitious community and explore and present the issues facing the town.
Program 6 Making Bread Together
Meylin Gonzalez is a kindergarten teacher in Tampa, Florida. Ms. Gonzalez uses this lesson to introduce her students to several economic concepts, including production and cooperation. Using a children's book as a guide, Ms. Gonzalez reviews with her students how people work cooperatively on an assembly line to make a product. The students then experience the concepts of production and distribution through an activity in which they create an assembly line in the classroom and prepare hand–made bread.
Program 7 Caring for the Community
Debbie Lerner teaches grades 1–3 at Red Bridge Elementary School in Kansas City, Missouri. Red Bridge incorporates a personalized learning curriculum in which students stay in the same classroom for all three grade levels. Ms. Lerner's lesson focuses on the concept of community and explores how her students can help make a difference in each other's lives. Students review the concept of resources and interview their superintendent to understand how decisions are made that affect the school budget. Students then work in groups to brainstorm and create flyers to help prepare for their school's upcoming remodeling.
Program 8 Celebrations of Light
Eileen Mesmer teaches a combined kindergarten and first–grade class in Salem, Massachusetts, a diverse community outside Boston. Ms. Mesmer asks her students to explore the many ways the holidays are celebrated and to find commonalities among the various celebrations. Ms. Mesmer reads to the students from "The Winter Solstice," using it to help students understand the greater theme of community. Through math, writing, and drawing stations located throughout the classroom, students interact with the content in a variety of ways and through diverse learning styles.
Program 9 Explorers in North America
Rob Cuddi, a fifth–grade teacher at Winthrop Middle School in Winthrop, Massachusetts, has been teaching for almost 30 years and has recently taken an active role in restructuring the social studies curriculum to accommodate both state and national standards. Mr. Cuddi's lesson introduces the theme of exploration in North America, posing three essential questions: How have people in history affected our lives today?; How do the human and physical systems of the Earth interact?; and What role do economies play in the foundation of our history?
Program 10 California Missions
Osvaldo Rubio is a bilingual fourth–grade social studies teacher at Sherman Oaks Community Charter School in San Jose, California. Mr. Rubio's geography lesson focuses on the location and movement of California missions. In groups, students create artistic, oral, written, and other more sophisticated audio–visual presentations. Some students use the Internet to download images, while others use a digital camera and editing software to create their own presentations in the form of an I–Movie.
Program 11 State Government and the Role of the Citizen
Diane Kerr is a fourth–grade teacher at Butcher Greene Elementary School in the ethnically diverse community of Grandview, Missouri, a few miles outside Kansas City. Ms. Kerr presents a lesson on the state of Missouri and its three branches of government. Students work in groups and create posters that represent the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. The students also voice their concerns about what can be done to improve their lives. As a class, they then work to understand the process of how a bill becomes a law.
Program 12 Using Primary Sources
Kathleen Waffle teaches fifth grade at John Muir Elementary School in San Bruno, California, a working–class suburb of San Francisco. In a unit on Colonial America, students examine an eighteenth–century business through a case study of a successful silversmith who lived in Colonial Williamsburg. In small groups, students use primary source documents (advertisements) and artifacts to identify the business strategies used by the silversmith. They then translate a historic contract between a master and an apprentice and examine how colonial apprenticeships compare with present–day job pursuits.
Program 13 Making a Difference Through Giving
Darlene Jones–Inge is a fourth–grade teacher at O'Hearn Elementary School located in Boston's inner city. Ms. Jones–Inge, a teacher for 10 years, presents a complex lesson that focuses on the theme of giving. Ms. Jones–Inge has students work in teams to determine a meaningful service project addressing the needs within their school, community, country, or world. Through thoughtful voting and collaborative decision making, students must determine the goal and scale of their project.
Program 14 Understanding Stereotypes
Libby Sinclair is a fourth– and fifth–grade teacher at Alternative Elementary School #2 in Seattle, Washington. In her lesson, Ms. Sinclair asks her students to define the term "stereotype" from a variety of perspectives. At the beginning of the lesson, Ms. Sinclair has students brainstorm individually and in groups to understand how stereotypes have affected their lives and their learning. After recognizing that the contribution of Negro baseball leagues has been omitted from the history of baseball, students thoughtfully plan and execute a letter campaign to contact text publishers.
Program 15 A Standards Overview, 6-8
Lessons from grade 6–8 classrooms illustrate how the NCSS standards and themes can be integrated into the middle school curriculum. Middle school teachers explore a number of expectations and outcomes in their lessons and build on the fundamentals established in the elementary grades. Themes of civics, political science, and history begin to take on more meaning as the content in these lessons connects to students' lives.
Program 16 Explorations in Archeology and History
Gwen Larsen teaches sixth–grade social studies at Harbor School in Boston, Massachusetts. In her introductory lesson, Ms. Larsen guides students through an exploration of their family histories, leading to their place in the larger human family and the development of civilizations. Ms. Larsen's students work in groups to differentiate between fossils and artifacts. The lesson concludes with student presentations of their own family heirlooms.
Program 17 Exploring Geography Through African History
Lisa Farrow is a seventh–grade world cultures teacher at Shiloh Middle School in a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland. Ms. Farrow's lesson provides her students with an understanding of African history and geography. After creating a personal timeline, the students create a historical timeline of Africa, focusing on the Bantu migrations, the rise of Islam, the West African trading empires, the Turkish empire, the slave trade, and European colonialism. Students take an active role in group work as they create maps and captions that define each period. Ms. Farrow concentrates on the importance of the trading empires and their connection to Africa's history as a whole.
Program 18 The Amistad Case
Gary Fisher is a teacher at Timilty Middle School in the urban community of Roxbury, Massachusetts, part of the greater Boston area. In his eighth–grade U.S. history class, Mr. Fisher examines the history of African American slavery through a dramatic mock trial based on the Amistad case in 1839. Serving as the defense, prosecution, judges, and other historical characters in the trial, students develop their cases and present them in a formal court setting created in their classroom. In his class, Mr. Fisher collaborates with the Spanish teacher who provides special support for second–language learners.
Program 19 Population and Resource Distribution
Becky Forristal teaches seventh–grade economics at Rockwood Valley Middle School, 20 miles outside St. Louis, Missouri. Her lesson focuses on a population simulation that explores world economics, demonstrating the inequalities in land, food, energy, and wealth distribution in the world today. Using a global map on the classroom floor, students are able to visualize how resources are distributed in both wealthy and under–developed nations of the world.
Program 20 Landmark Supreme Court Cases
Wendy Ewbank teaches seventh and eighth grade at Madrona School in Bellevue, Washington. In a civics lesson on landmark Supreme Court cases, the students focus on the tension between the rights of the individual and the good of society. In the lesson, students work in groups, presenting various cases to the class in the form of a press conference. Key issues include the right to privacy, equal protection, and the First Amendment. On day two, students hold a town meeting to discuss whether the burning of the American flag is protected under the right to freedom of speech. Ms. Ewbank provides clear rubrics, which help students understand the expectations and goals for the lesson.
Program 21 The Middle East Conflict
Justin Zimmerman is a sixth-grade teacher at Magnolia School in Joppa, Maryland, about 30 miles north of Baltimore. Mr. Zimmerman explores the claims to land in the Middle East from three major religions — Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. After learning about the geography of the area, the students begin to explore the region's political unrest and discuss the controversy over control of the land of Israel. Through this lesson, the students begin to make connections that relate their own lives to the political and religious struggle.
Program 22 A Standards Overview, 9-12
This program shows a variety of complex topics from high school lessons, illustrating how the NCSS standards and themes can be integrated into teaching in grades 9–12. Teachers will be able to see how the curriculum can be expanded to address complex issues and content in meaningful ways and become much more sophisticated in exploring all areas of social studies.
Program 23 Public Opinion and the Vietnam War
Liz Morrison is a ninth–grade American history teacher at Parkway South High School in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. In a lesson on the Vietnam War, Ms. Morrison explores how public opinion was shaped by key events. Students create a timeline and work in groups to discover how public opinion changed from approval to disapproval. The students view television footage from this period and listen to popular music that reflects both sides of public opinion. Ms. Morrison helps her students make connections from the Vietnam War to their world today.
Program 24 Migration From Latin America
Mavis Weir teaches 10th–grade history at Casa Grande High School in Petaluma, California. In this lesson, students explore the various reasons people emigrate from their homeland. The class is broken up into six separate groups, each representing a different Latin American country with its own set of resources. Using both primary and secondary sources, students examine the economic, political, and environmental circumstances that cause people to emigrate. Each group presents their findings through a variety of creative presentations that include theatrical skits, artwork, and music.
Program 25 Competing Ideologies
Wendell Brooks is a teacher at the diverse Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California. Mr. Brooks' ninth–grade history class focuses on a variety of political ideologies present during the period of World War I. His class includes lively discussion on capitalism, communism, totalitarianism, and Nazism, as portrayed by leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini. In his lesson, Mr. Brooks incorporates a Socratic discussion into his lesson, as well as group activities and presentations.
Program 26 Economic Dilemmas and Solutions
Steven Page is a 12th–grade economics teacher at Vivian Gaither Senior High School in Tampa, Florida. In this lesson, students review and interpret the government's role in the economy. Working in groups, students examine economic dilemmas, including the implications of human cloning, year–round schooling, and drug legalization. Students then reach consensus on a "proper" economic decision and present their findings in the form of a skit, followed by a group discussion.
Program 27 Gender-Based Distinctions
Tim Rockey teaches 12th–grade American government and politics at Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Mr. Rockey reviews the concept of civil rights, with a focus on women's rights. Students evaluate the "reasonableness" standard as set by the court and come to understand where the court has drawn the line for gender–based decisions. They explore the following questions: Can public taverns cater only to men? Can females be excluded from contact sports? And can a state military college exclude women? After examining Supreme Court cases, students render a judgment as to the validity of the standard of equal rights.
Program 28 The Individual in Society
Brian Poon is a teacher at Brookline High School in metropolitan Boston, Massachusetts. Mr. Poon's 12th–grade philosophy lesson focuses on the role of the individual in society. Based on readings by various philosophers, including Reinhold Niebuhr, Thomas Hobbes, Mao Zedong, Martha Nussbaum, and Plato, students apply the philosophers' viewpoints to solve the dilemmas of a fictitious nation called "Fenway." They then participate in a dynamic class discussion about how to integrate the best philosophical ideas to address Fenway's problems.
Program 29 Issues in Social Studies: Groups, Projects, and Presentations
This program examines how social studies teachers in any grade level can use groups, projects, and presentations to help students become actively involved in their learning. Topics range from structuring groups to creating scoring guides and rubrics. Through examples of cooperative learning, decision making, and problem solving, teachers can examine how to use groups, projects, and presentations to promote powerful learning.
Program 30 Issues in Social Studies: Unity and Diversity
This program examines how social studies teachers in any grade level can embrace both unity and diversity in their classrooms. Topics range from exploring democratic values to building awareness of student diversity. Through examples of students connecting with one another and embracing the different cultures within their community, teachers can reflect on how to best address issues of unity and diversity in their classroom.
Program 31 Issues in Social Studies: Dealing With Controversial Issues
This program examines how social studies teachers in any grade level can encourage open and informed discussions with their students while dealing with controversial issues. Topics range from stereotypes and gender–based discrimination to the conflict in the Middle East. Through clearly identifying issues, listening to multiple perspectives, and formulating personal positions, teachers can explore a variety of strategies that can be used to teach challenging issues such as these in their own classrooms.
Program 32 Issues in Social Studies: Creating Effective Citizens
This program explores how social studies teachers in any grade level can help their students develop the democratic values that will make them effective and responsible citizens. Teachers are shown helping students see their community in a broader sense and inspiring them to think about ways they can make a difference. The classroom lessons emphasize how civic processes work, how to discuss issues from multiple perspectives, and how teachers can inspire their students to take social action.