Realistic Simulations Involving Civil Discourse and Complex Decision-Making
Civil Discourse and Difficult Decisions is a national initiative of the federal courts that brings high school and college students into federal courthouses for legal proceedings stemming from situations in which law-abiding young people can find themselves. These court hearings (not mock trials) are realistic simulations that showcase jury deliberations in which all students participate, using civil discourse skills. Teachers can get started by downloading the simulations agenda and complete activity package. The website presents an activity that teachers can use with any case in the educational resources section. In the activity, Elonis v. US is the landmark case. It is the first time that the US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving the constitutionality of prosecuting potential threats in a social media context. This First Amendment activity applies the landmark Supreme Court case to a teen conflict posted on Facebook. Along with the agenda and activity, the website presents a video in which federal judges share insights on civility when dealing with difficult and often emotional issues in the law and in life.
The Bill of Rights Institute rewards students who rise to the challenge of tackling some of the most compelling questions of our time. This year’s We the Students Essay Contest challenges students to tell what civil discourse means to them.
The Civics Renewal Network is a consortium of nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations committed to strengthening civic life in the United States by increasing the quality of civics education in the nation’s schools and improving accessibility to high-quality, no-cost learning materials. On the organization’s website, teachers will find resources from these organizations, searchable by subject, grade, resource type, standards, and teaching strategy.
The Comparative Constitutions Project (CCP) launched Constitutein collaboration with Google Ideas in 2013. Accessible in English, Spanish, and Arabic, Constitute is an online environment to read, search, and compare the world’s constitutions.