Topic outline

  • General

    Introduction to the debates and work we will be carrying out across this half term

    CLick here for the overview powerpoint on the important factors governing how successfully a President can perform

    Click here for the President mind map and strengths and weaknesses of the Constitution

  • Topic 1

    What limits the roles and functions of a President?

    Click here for the presentation we will use in the lesson on Friday 15th June

    Click here for the worksheet to help you prepare for your own presentations on the strength of each of your Presidents

    H/W Can you link to these key parts of the roles and functions of a President when you examine how effectively your President worked.

    • Topic 2

      Homework for Friday 13th July 2012. We are holding a mock Congressional Debate so please come prepared with the speeches below and your judgements on why it was so difficult to pass Anti-lynching legislation

      Activity: Anti-Lynching Campaign in the 1920s and 1930s - Blots of shame

      Click here for an overview of the Background

      1. Students will participate in a simulation debating game that enacts a hypothetical Senate debate about the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill of the 1920s and further attempts to reform the system in the 1930s.
      2.  Have students use the Debating Game Document Worksheet and The Senate and the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill excerpts as reference tools for the game. Since the Dyer Bill died before it was actually debated on the floor of the Senate, students will be able to engage the primary source material as "Senators" in the Sixty-Seventh Congress preparing to debate the bill, rather than students of history constrained by the actual course of events. Because the Senate debate would have occurred at the end of the anti-lynching campaign, few, if any, available primary sources are excluded from this activity. The teacher in this situation has an obligation to make it clear to students what actually happened in the Senate before the game begins and to debrief the students after the game ends.
      3. Before students begin to analyse excerpts from documents written by participants in the anti-lynching campaign, teachers may need to provide the students with some background information about the historical origins of the Fourtheenth Amendent to the U.S. Constitution, the Supreme Court's evoling interpretation of the equal protection clause and the history of the NAACP.
      4. Students should also study the documents on what became of lynchings in the 1930s - this will help in the debate to explain why it was so difficult to reform even in the 1930s
      5. Each student will be assigned a document written by one of the participants in the anti-lynching campaign (See Combined Documents to Accompany the Debating Game)

      The students will have to write a brief summary (approximately two or three paragraphs) of the document that includes a short biographical sketch of the document's author.

      1. President Warren G. Harding - Jack Bodell
      2. Attorney General H.M. Daughtery - Sam Mortimer
      3. Guy D. Goff, Assistant Attorney General - Armaan Bhatti
      4. James Weldon Johnson, NAACP Secretary  - Jonathan Shapiro
      5. Walter White, NAACP Assistant Secretary - Michael Pitan
      6. Moorfield Storey, NAACP President - Ayush Varma
      7. Senator William Borah (R) - Elliott Smith
      8. Senator James W. Wadsworth, Jr. (R) - Anand Maniar
      9. Congressman Burton French (R) - David Burke
      10. Congressman Meyer London (Socialist) - Andy Leddington
      11. Congressman Edgar Ellis (R) - Ahmed Gokal
      12. Congressman Andrew J. Volstead (R) - Josh Curtis
      13. Congressman John Sandlin (D) - Chris HB
      14. Congressman Thomas Bell (D) - Dominic Toon
      15. Congressman Patrick Drewry (D) - Adam Groves
      16. Governor Robert Carey (R-Wyoming) - Hugh Medcalf
      17. Legal Representatives (Republican) - Puneet Panesar - use all resources as an overview
      18. Legal Representatives (Democrat)- James Sackey use all resources as an overview
      19. Legal Representatives (Socialist)- Johnny Ashton - use all resources as an overview
      20. Legal Representatives (Independent)- Jay Patel - use all resources as an overview
      21. Supreme Court Judge - Oli Capper
      • The teacher will have the students present their document summaries to the class. The teacher needs to make sure everyone takes notes on what their classmates are saying since they will need a good set of class notes in order to complete the rest of the simulation game. After the students finished presenting their document summaries, each student will assume the role of a Senator preparing to debate the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill on the floor of the United States Senate
      • The teacher will divide the class by state and political affiliations so it mirrors the composition of the Senate in 1922. The teacher should give the students an opportunity in class to elect a majority and minority leader as well as caucus with the other Senators from their party in order to plan a strategy for the floor debate.
      • The teacher will have the students write speeches for the Senate floor debate. The suggested length is three to four double-spaced, typed pages, but could vary depending on the age and ability level of the students.
      • Since the students will need a few days to get their speeches written, the teacher will want to provide the students with feedback about their speeches before the floor debate, and students may need to revise their speeches based on the teacher feedback, the teacher should focus class activities or lectures on other aspects of American life in the 1920s during this interim period.
      • When the floor debate begins, the students will be required to deliver an abridged version of their speeches. The majority or minority leader will be responsible for making sure that the debate runs smoothly and stays within the required time limits. The students will have the chance to query each other as long as they stay within the parameters of acceptable parliamentary procedure.
      • In order to make sure all students stay actively engaged in the activity and are held accountable for the information being presented, the teacher should encourage all students to take notes during the debate and incorporate some questions about the anti-lynching campaign into their overview of the debate.
      • Topic 3

        The Constitution WebQuest
        An Internet WebQuest on The Constitution

        created by Dennis Hando
        Wilkes University

        Introduction | The Task | The Process & Resources | Conclusion | HyperText Dictionary


        Picture this: You are a Supreme Court justice appointed to interpret the constitution. Or that you are a historian who must catalog the important features of the constitutional convention. Or perhaps you must search the constitution to find what important clues it may hold to helping our government be as efficient as possible.

        Based upon what each of you learned, You may think that the constitution is just an old boring document. However it protects all the freedoms you enjoy today and dictates why and how our government will change our lives. Yet how can we find out what parts of the constitution really affect our everyday lives. How can it change to meet the new needs of government. Where do we look for information?

        This is particularly true when we use the Internet for our research because many people post their personal opinions or only know a sliver of the whole story. In the following WebQuest, you will use the power of teamwork and the abundant resources on the Internet to learn all about The Constitution. Each person on your team will learn one piece of the puzzle and then you will come together to get a better understanding of the topic.

        The Quest

        How does the constitution effect our everyday lives?
        How can it change to meet modern needs?

        The Process and Resources

        In this WebQuest you will be working together with a group of students in class. Each group will answer the Task or Quest(ion). As a member of the group you will explore Webpages from people all over the world who care about The Constitution. Because these are real Webpages we're tapping into, not things made just for schools, the reading level might challenge you. Feel free to use the online Webster dictionary or one in your classroom.

        You'll begin with everyone in your group getting some background before dividing into roles where people on your team become experts on one part of the topic.

        Phase 1 - Background: Something for Everyone

        Use the Internet information linked below to answer the basic questions of who? what? where? when? why? and how? Be creative in exploring the information so that you answer these questions as fully and insightfully as you can.

        Phase 2 - Looking Deeper from Different Perspectives


        1. Individuals or pairs from your larger WebQuest team will explore one of the roles below.

        2. Read through the files linked to your group. If you print out the files, underline the passages that you feel are the most important. If you look at the files on the computer, copy sections you feel are important by dragging the mouse across the passage and copying / pasting it into a word processor or other writing software.

        3. Note: Remember to write down or copy/paste the URL of the file you take the passage from so you can quickly go back to it if you need to to prove your point.

        4. Be prepared to focus what you've learned into one main opinion that answers the Big Quest(ion) or Task based on what you have learned from the links for your role.

        Supreme Court Judge

        Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Supreme Court Judge:

        1. How and why does the constitution provide for the independance of the Supreme Court?
        • Constitution Society- THe page is dedicated to understanding what is and what is not constitutional.
        • The Constitution Center- This site is the official website of the Museum of the Constitution. Varies links allow for you to purchase constitutional stuff or research articles.
        • Constitution Facts - This site offers many fascinating facts about the Constitution and the Supreme Court

        Constitutional Lawyer

        Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Constitutional Lawyer:

        1. How does the constitution address our personal freedoms and our rights to free speech? Are we truly free to say ANYTHING we want?

        Constitutional Historian

        Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Constitutional Historian:

        1. How did the Founding Fathers come to agree on the Constitution despite many differences of opinion.


        Joseph Robinson is a student a Jackie Robinson High School.  He recently received a full four-year scholarship to Harvard University.  He is very active in his community, tutoring at an after school recreation center, and every Thanksgiving he serves food to the homeless.  Joe is also the starting quarterback, and point guard for the Red Raiders.  One afternoon Joe found his father's licensed .357 revolvers in his father's secret hiding place.  Joe decided to take his father's revolver to the roof of their home to show his best friend Paul.  Both Joe and Paul have no training using a handgun.  All of a sudden the gun discharged hitting Joe in his chest.  Paul ran for help and called EMS. After months of rehabilitation and physical therapy Joe lost his senior season at quarterback and point guard.  Both Paul and Joe learned a valuable lesson from playing with guns.  Joe and Paul decided to start a campaign against guns and the harmful consequences of handguns.  They called their grassroots organization TEENS AGAINST GUNS.  With TEENS against guns Paul and Jack began to research why Americans are fascinated with gun?  Both Joe and Paul took positions regarding the current debate on the Second Amendment should be eradicated from the Constitution.  


        On other hand, violence plagues our communities and causes grief among our loved ones, we as a civilize society must decide whether guns have a place in our society.  Therefore we must evaluate whether the Second Amendment should still exist as part of our Constitution.  Your task is to take a position whether such laws as the Second Amendment should be prevalent today in our society.  You should defend your position with facts from both sides of the argument.


        Students Will Be Able To:

        1.      Define and articulate the Second Amendment and why the Framers of the Constitution instituted it as part of the Bill of Rights.

        2.      Identify and articulate the position of elected officials on Gun Control and the Eradication of the Second Amendment.

        a.       Presidential Candidates

        b.      Senatorial Candidates

        c.       Governor

        d.      Mayor


        3.    Identify and articulate the position of organizations that are part of the Gun Control issue

        4.       Investigate whether citizens in industrial and non-industrial countries have the right to bear arms and compare their findings to here in the United States.

        5.      Compare the level of violence with guns in these countries to the United States and contrast using statistics.


          Phase 3 - Debating, Discussing, and Reaching Consensus

          You have all learned about a different aspects of The Constitution. Now group members come back to the larger WebQuest team with expertise gained by searching from one perspective. You must all now answer the Task / Quest(ion) as a group. Each of you will bring a certain viewpoint to the answer: some of you will agree and others disagree. Use information, pictures, movies, facts, opinions, etc. from the Webpages you explored to convince your teammates that your viewpoint is important and should be part of your team's answer to the Task / Quest(ion). Your WebQuest team should write out an answer that everyone on the team can live with.

          Phase 4 - Real World Feedback

          You and your teammates have learned a lot by dividing up into different roles. Now's the time to put your learning into a letter you'll send out for real world feedback. Together you will write a letter that contains opinions, information, and perspectives that you've gained. Here's the process:

          1. Begin your letter with a statement of who you are and why you are writing your message to this particular person or organization.

          2. Give background information that shows you understand the topic.


          3. Each person in your group should write a paragraph that gives two good reasons supporting the group's opinion. Make sure to be specific in both the information (like where you got it from on the Web) and the reasoning (why the information proves your group's point).

          4. Have each person on the team proofread the message. Use correct letter format and make sure you have correctly addressed the email message. Use the link below to make contact. Send your message and make sure your teacher gets a copy.

          Your Contact is: Dennis Hando


          How does it feel to really play the role of these different members of our government. Did you find that it was easy to discover the important sections of the constitution? It's the same for understanding a topic as broad or complex as The Constitution: when you only know part of the picture, you only know part of the picture. Now you all know a lot more. Nice work. You should be proud of yourselves! How can you use what you've learned to see beyond the black and white of a topic and into the grayer areas? What other parts of The Constitution could still be explored? Remember, learning never stops.
          • Topic 4

            • Topic 5

              • Topic 6

                • Topic 7

                  • Topic 8

                    • Topic 9

                      • Topic 10