ELECTIONS! Super Civics Election Challenges Lessons Grades K-6

We know that teaching elections might not be top on your list. Not to worry.  Our Super Civics teacher team has created quick grade-level lessons we call Election Challenges. Works with face to face, hybrid, and remote learning. Super Civics Election Challenges

New Super Civics Challenges


New Distance Learning Activities for elementary students

Civic learning activities that engage elementary students in exploring social studies in their homes and neighborhoods. Aligned with Minnesota Elementary Social Studies Standards but adaptable to other learning standards.


Minnesota Civic Education Survey

Take the voluntary Minnesota Civic Education Survey 2019. You won’t get a grade but you will see how you match up and what you might do to improve your students’ opportunities.

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Super Civics for MN K-8 teachers POSTPONED


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2020 Super Civics Summer Institute for MN K-8 teachers POSTPONED

June 22-24, 2020

9 am – 3 pm

Minnesota Judicial Center and Minnesota State Capitol

St. Paul, MN


More Information

Questions? jbloom@teachingcivics.org

New Minnesota Civics Test

In 2016, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law requiring Minnesota students in public schools to pass a civics test. Passing this test is not required for graduation. The test consists of 50 out of the 100 questions in the INS Naturalization Test. Students must pass 30 of the 50 questions selected by Learning Law and Democracy Foundation in consultation with civics teachers.

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Project Citizen State Showcase at the State Capitol CANCELED

Students will show what they know in this project-based-learning on solving public problems.

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Celebrate Magna Carta on Constitution Day!

A collection of lessons and supporting materials to teach Magna Carta! Take time this Constitution Day, September 17, to highlight enduring themes of liberty, freedom, self-government, and others.

Go to Lessons and Materials

US Senate Passes Cardin, Grassley Resolution Prioritizing Civics Education

Senate Passes Cardin, Grassley Resolution Prioritizing Civics Education

 Understanding the Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship is Essential to the Future Prosperity of Our Nation

 WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and  Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) lauded unanimous approval of their Senate Resolution (S. Res. 427) that calls for increased prioritization of civics education in American public schools. 

 The Cardin-Grassley resolution affirms that civic education is essential to the well-being of the constitutional government of the United States. It recognizes that comprehensive and formal instruction in civics and government would provide students a basis for understanding the rights and responsibilities of citizens in the constitutional government of the United States. It also encourages elementary and secondary schools to develop curricula with demonstrated effectiveness in fostering civic competence, civic responsibility, and a reasoned commitment to the fundamental values and principles underlying the constitutional government of the United States. The resolution also calls for all teachers of civics and government to have access to adequate opportunities to enrich teaching through professional development programs to enrich their teaching capacity.


“The health of our democracy depends on having well informed and involved citizens. Civics education is key to cultivating a generation of future leaders, who — with the lessons learned from our rich democratic history — will lead us to a bright future.” said Senator Cardin. “I thank my Senate colleagues for uniting in behind civics education and pledging to support our dedicated teachers and administrators.” 

 “Our Founding Fathers believed that an educated citizenry is essential to the preservation of liberty,” said Senator Grassley.  “It’s critical that each new generation of Americans develops a sound understanding of our nation’s founding principles and its founding document, the U.S. Constitution.  Representative government is a two-way street.  It requires elected officials who listen to their constituents and citizens who are informed and engaged to keep their representatives accountable.”  

The full text of the resolution can be found here.


MCSS 2020 Super Civics Workshop Powerpoint and Website Resources

MCSS Workshop, March 2, 2020

Super Civics Workshop Super Civics MCSS 2020 Slides

Super Civics Summer Institute Opportunity, Program Description, and Tool Box



Constitution Day Classroom Resources

Interesting Resources for Constitution Day! Technology-based lessons to energize your Constitution Day activities! Also, lessons for every grade level to help you meet the requirements of the federal law honoring the U.S. Constitution!


The Center for Civic Education offers a selection free lessons for K-12 students that teach about the Constitution: http://www.civiced.org/resources/curriculum/constitution-day-and-citizenship-day

One lesson, “Constitution Day Scavenger Hunt with 60-Second Civics” uses one minute audio programs that focus on the Framers of the Constitution. 60-Second Civics is a daily podcast that provides a quick and convenient way for listeners to learn about our nation’s government, the Constitution, and our history. The podcast explores themes related to civics and government, the constitutional issues behind the headlines, and the people and ideas that formed our nation’s history and government. https://teachingcivics.org/lesson/constitution-day-scavenger-hunt-with-60-second-civics-the-framers-of-the-constitution/


From The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia


Register your class to discuss a relevant constitutional question with another classroom somewhere else in the United States. The National Constitution Center facilitates these civil dialogues by providing instructional materials, pairing classrooms, connecting them with an expert moderator, and setting up video conferencing sessions.

Exchanges provide a platform for uniting students of different backgrounds and perspectives, increasing students’ constitutional knowledge while cultivating habits for civil dialogue.  

Lots of other resources including the Interactive Constitution: https://teachingcivics.org/lesson/interactive-constitution/ and Seize the Vote Game: https://teachingcivics.org/lesson/seize-the-vote/


Constitutional Rights Foundation

Mr. Madison Needs Some Help (Upper Elem. – Middle School)

Why was the Constitution necessary? In this FREE unit from CRF’s Adventures in Law and History, students explore the meaning of the Preamble, meet James Madison and help him put together the Bill of Rights, and learn much more in interactive lessons.



Captain Kirk Preamble https://teachingcivics.org/lesson/captain-kirk-preamble/

Captain Kirk, reads the preamble from the US constitution. Enough said.


Civics 101

Civics 101 is the podcast refresher course on the basics of how the U.S. government works. Each episode explores topics through interviews with experts and teachers. The hosts ask questions and stitch them together into narrative stories.

Listen to this podcast for the story of how the U.S. Constitution came to be: https://teachingcivics.org/lesson/civics-101-founding-documents-the-constitution/


TeachingCivics.org from Learning Law and Democracy Foundation

For more lessons, search http://teachingcivics.org/ insert “Constitution” in the Find Lessons bar.

Constitution Day

For Constitution Day lessons, type in “Constitution” in Find Lessons bar!

The real history of the NRA and gun control in America – Short Video

In the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre, legislators have returned to the debate over gun rights. Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at UCLA and author of ”Gun Fight,” breaks down the myths surrounding the Second Amendment and the history of gun control in the U.S. (December 19, 2012)  The real history of the NRA and gun control in America-Short Video

New game from iCivics

Can jury duty be fun? In We the Jury, it is. In the latest game from iCivics, you decide a tough case and discover what jurors do once they leave the jury box and head to the deliberation room.

We the People State Showcase and Competition Dec. 6

At the State Capitol, participation expenses supported through Legacy Grant, and announcing new pilot program for elementary and middle school students!  Find out more!

Last-minute presidential election guide – top five links worth sharing‏

From ProCon.org  Top five links includes Presidential Candidate  Match Quiz, Candidate Summary Chart, and other important resources for the final days!

Teaching Electoral College

As focus turns to the Electoral College in the last week of the too-close-to-call campaign, explore these lessons on this news-breaking topic:

  • PBS NewsHour includes student handouts and online electoral college interactive map.


  • From iCivics: Students will learn the distinctions between the popular vote and the Electoral College, and exercise their critical reasoning skills to analyze the differences between the presidential and congressional elections.




Lessons for Minnesota Constitutional Amendments

Minnesota voters face two constitutional amendment questions: marriage and voter ID. New lessons tackle these controversial topics.

Minnesota Marriage Amendment 

Minnesota Voter ID Amendment

New voter photo ID laws: Preventing fraud or discriminating?

Expanding Voting Rights

iCivics Voter Rights

Voter ID, Voting Requirements, and Vote Counting

Advancing civic learning

Opportunity to voice your thoughts. . .

From the US Department of Education :

At a White House event this past January, the Obama Administration released its Road Map for civic learning, “Advancing Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy.”  The Road Map outlines nine steps ED is undertaking to increase civic learning and engagement across our country.

The Civic Learning and Engagement Initiative is requesting feedback from you on how ED should implement 4 of the 9 steps and define “civic learning and engagement”. We encourage educators, practitioners, students, researchers, and any other interested parties to submit thoughtful opinions, ideas, suggestions and comments. Please submit all comments by November 30th to civiclearning@ed.gov or post them on directly on the blog.

We envision a nationwide commitment to preparing all students for citizenship as informed, engaged and responsible members of our society.



Looking for lessons on Presidential Debates and Elections?

Links to ideas for teaching the upcoming Presidential Debates. Use a scorecard or bingo game! Read More »

Too Late to Apologize: A Declaration

Popular, entertaining video that depicts the Founding Fathers as they perform “Too Late to Apologize: A Declaration  


iCivics launches new game!

 “Win the White House” allows players to run for president from the primaries through Election Day. As part of the Politics and Public Policy curriculum unit, Win the White House teaches students about the electoral process, the role of the Electoral College, and the influence of media in shaping public opinion.  Players have to make choices about their party, platform, vice president, and where to fundraise, poll, and spend their campaign dollars on appearances and advertisements as they strive for their 270 electoral votes.  http://www.icivics.org/games/win-white-house on November 7.

Supreme Court Teaching Resources

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Supreme Court of the United States began the 2011-12 Term on Monday, October 3.  Street Law, Inc. is celebrating the beginning of the new term with Supreme Court Week, featuring:

  • Applications for the 2012 Supreme Court Summer Institute


  • Updated lessons and case studies
  • A resource list including articles, videos, apps, and great web sites



Cases lining up to ask Supreme Court to clarify Second Amendment rights

A funny thing has happened in the three years since gun-rights activists won their biggest victory at the Supreme Court.

They’ve been on a losing streak in the lower courts.

From the Washington Post


We the People Update Washington, DC Institute REGISTRATION CLOSED

We the People/Update goes to Washington!


Sunday, June 26 (starting around 5 pm) to
Wednesday, June 29 (ending around noon)




Special Highlights!
Monday, June 27,

8:30-11:30            United States Supreme Court

We will be guests at the court, with reserved seating for the hand down of the important Supreme Court decisions, followed by a conversation in the Lawyers’ Lounge, tour, and (fingers crossed) a meeting with Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg. This exciting opportunity has been arranged by Amy Bergquist, former Minneapolis teacher, now clerk to Justice Ginsburg!

Tuesday, June 28,

9:00- 12:30 Newseum
Tour and interactive workshop, “Making Change: The First Amendment and the Civil Rights Movement”

7:00 pm                 Adam Liptak,
Supreme Court Correspondent for the New York Times


Wednesday, June 29

Docent-led tour of the Library of Congress



Registration fee and Scholarship
A registration fee of $100 is required to reserve your spot. This fee includes the Washington Institute and the one-day August 3 Update Workshop. Participants will be given a $100 scholarship to cover the fee at the completion of the June Institute.


The Washington Court Hotel on Capitol Hill!
A great, convenient hotel, with a room rate of $179 per night, includes taxes!

Once you have been notified that your registration has been accepted, you will receive housing instructions. To receive the reduced rate, you must make reservations by June 7, 2011.


Grant Support from the Center for Civic Education and the Education Minnesota Foundation
Participants will receive a minimum of $450 per person to help support airfare and hotel. This is in addition to the $100 scholarship to cover the registration fee provided by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the Legacy Fund.

Follow Up Workshop
A one-day Update is being planned for August 3, 2011, 8:30-4:00, that will include our most popular Update features including case studies, legislative update, and lunch with the Judges!

There will be no additional costs for participants who attend the Washington Institute. To register for the  August workshop only, click here.

Please complete the  form and pay the registration fee. Participants will be selected first come, first serve. For a limited time, $100 scholarships are available!

Planning Team
Joan Beaver
Filiz Yargici
Jennifer Bloom







NAEP Civics Test Points to Crisis

Only a tiny percentage of American students achieved superior performance in civics on the 2010 NAEP test known as the “nation’s report card.”

From the Washington Post


You can view a sample of the questions for each grade here; http://nationsreportcard.gov/civics_2010/sample_quest.asp

Updated Lesson: Islamist Terrorism: From 1945 to the Death of bin Laden

On May 1, 2011, President Barak Obama announced to the nation and the world that Osama bin Laden, the head of the Al Qaeda terrorism network implicated in the 9-11 attacks on the United States and scores of other terrorist acts around the world, had been killed by U.S. special forces in Pakistan.

This momentous event marks an end to one chapter in America’s continued struggle with international terrorism and is a fitting time for students across the country to reflect on the historical, contemporary, and legal issues related to the subject.

Now available from Constitutional Rights Foundation is a free, updated, and downloadable lesson titled “Islamist Terrorism: From 1945 to the Death of bin Laden.” The lesson provides a historical background of the development of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups set in the context of bin Laden’s life and death. Also included are a directed discussion and an interactive activity in which students weigh a variety of U.S. policy options.

Also available are additional resources on the site  America Responds to Terrorism . It contains 20 lessons and extensive research links on a range of topics related to the subject and appropriate for a variety of classrooms and courses.

Rock the Vote & the National Education Association Announce Democracy Day!

Forty years ago, educators and students worked together to lower the voting age to 18. In doing so, they amended the Constitution and empowered millions of American citizens to have a say in our democracy. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the passage of the 26th Amendment, Rock the Vote – in partnership with the National Education Association (both members of the CMS Steering Committee) – is launching the first annual Democracy Day (democracyday.com ).

Starting on March 23rd and running through the end of the school year, educators across the country are celebrating Democracy Day in their classrooms with Rock the Vote’s Democracy Class program. Democracy Class is a 45-minute, non-partisan lesson plan geared towards high school students that teaches them the history of voting rights, walks them through the voter registration process, and engages them in a mock election.

And to add to the celebration, there is a contest for educators and students who participate to win prizes like iPod Touches, gift cards and concert tickets!

If you are interested in partnering with Rock the Vote  to bring Democracy Day to your schools please contact Chrissy Faessen 202-719-9941 or chrissy@rockthevote.com.  Educators can sign up at www.democracyday.com.

Comment on First Draft of MN Social Studies Standards by March 14

The first draft of the revised standards was posted online on Feb. 25. Members of the public are invited to view the draft and make comments. We encourage you to review the draft and submit comments. Public comments will be taken into consideration when the standards revision committee reconvenes on March 22, and it is very important to get a well-rounded view of public opinion. View the draft and make comments on the MDE website. Scroll down to “Minnesota Revised Social Studies Standards First Draft” on the main page.

Legislator for a Day POSTPONED!

June 21, 2011


Minnesota State Capitol

Due to the anticipated special legislative session before July 1 and the election to the Minnesota Senate of Mary Jo McGuire, our lead faculty for this workshop, we are postponing this opportunity to late summer or early fall.  Sign up to “Get Connected” to receive updates.

Build your knowledge of the legislative process, public policy, and critical issues facing Minnesotans–and your classroom for the day is the Minnesota State Capitol!

Hear from legislators and experience their decision making processes. How do they prioritize, whom do they listen to? What role do special interest groups, political parties, constituents, and their personal conscience play in this process? What are the rules of the game? Zero in on current topics of interest to students. Engage in interactive strategies that teach about the legislative branch. Explore materials that will inspire your students to get involved in our democracy!

Free materials and Parking!

CEU credits available

$25 refundable registration fee (returned to you at the end of the day!)

email jbloom@teachingcivics.org for more information.

Project Citizen Summer Institutes-registration deadline soon!

The early registration deadline for the 2011 Project Citizen Summer Institutes is quickly approaching! Once again the Center for Civic Education is offering five national institutes in locations across the country during June and July. The application is available on CCE  website at www.civiced.org/PCinstitutes.  The early decision application deadline is March 1, 2011. The final application deadline is April 8, 2011. Let your Minnesota Project Citizen Coordinator know if you are applying: email Mary Jo McGuire at mjomcguire@gmail.com.  Please contact Jalees Khalid (khalid@civiced.org) if you have any questions.

New Lesson on presidential powers for Ronald Reagan’s Birthday

Ronald Reagan Lesson
On the occasion of the one-hundredth anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, the Center for Civic Education and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation have collaborated to produce “Ronald Reagan and Executive Power,” a high school level lesson that examines the use of presidential powers during the Reagan presidency. The lesson explores Article II of the Constitution and discusses how President Reagan exercised his authority concerning war powers, domestic policy, and foreign policy.
You can download the lesson at http://new.civiced.org/resources/curriculum/reagan

A column about Supreme Court of the United States histories that made me smile

Hope you enjoy it too!

Mark A. Graber, “The Supreme Court Justices’ Guide to the Supreme Court”


Declaration of Independence You Tube Video

This might be a useful online video resource for teachers:

This is an excerpt from a July 1997 CBS News Sunday Morning broadcast (the episode shown after it was announced that longtime host Charles Kuralt had died two days before). In this 1976 clip during the bicentennial, Kuralt briefly tells the story of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.