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Civics - Unit 2

Choosing to Participate 

Introduction: Unit Overview

The Call to Action Questions provided in this unit are tied to the course’s Enduring Understandings and provide a good place to start. Through case studies of civic action, students consider how they will become powerful civic actors. 


  • How can young people promote the common good working through government or in the community?
  • What knowledge, skills, and dispositions (intentions to act) does a young person need in order to be a powerful civic actor in our democracy and communities? 


  • Individuals in a democracy have many rights that allow them to exercise their power, but these rights are limited, and some individuals’ rights are more limited than others’. 
  • Individuals choose the issues they wish to influence, as well as the strategies they will use to influence those issues.
Lesson 1: Eighth-Graders’ Power and Ways to Participate
Part 1: Reflecting on Key Ideas

1) I want you to think about what we have learned in Civics.  Think about key ideas and how what you learned might be useful in the Civics Summative Assessment. Think about the concepts of power, participation, rights, responsibilities, government, and community

2) Open the Case Studies of Success handout and consider the three case studies and decide if the action described in each case study was successful.  Think about why it is important to how we evaluate success in civic action?  Answer the 3 Discussion Questions for each of the Case Studies of Success:

Discussion Questions:

#1 What did the hunger strike accomplish? 
#2 What have protests against Native Americans mascots accomplished? 
#3 What did protests against police violence accomplish?
  • Was this action successful?
  • Why do you think it was/was not successful? 

Note: One of the case studies deals with the murder of Laquan McDonald and the events that followed. You may have strong emotions related to the murder of Laquan and other cases of racial violence, which is understandable and must be respected.

Part 2: Introducing the Call to Action

1) If I told you that a member of Congress issued a Call to Action to all young people, what would that mean to you? What if I told you the person wrote the Call to Action when he was dying and asked that it be published on the day of his funeral?  

2) Open and read the A Call to Action from Congressman John R. Lewis visual and be able to share your opinions. 

Discussion Questions:

  • What do you think Congressman Lewis meant by “good trouble, necessary trouble”? 
  • Do you agree with Mr. Lewis’s view of voting? Why or why not?
  • What is Mr. Lewis calling on your generation to do? 
  • Does this Call to Action motivate you to act? 

3) Point out that Congressman Lewis’s call to action is broad and inspirational. Open the Call to Election - Election Year & Non-Election Year handout and discuss openly within your groups. 

Closure & Assessment: In seven groups, open the Discussion Readings - Call to Action handout.  Present your findings and ways to improve the common good through a call to action.