Our Courts – Interactive Lessons on US Civics

This resource is no longer available. July, 2019. 

Our Courts is a web-based resource designed to teach students about US Civics and the US Supreme Court. Our Courts was developed by a partnership of Georgetown and Arizona State universities to carry out Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s vision for improving civics education.

Our Courts offers teachers very thorough lesson plans about the Supreme Court and the Constitution. All of the lesson plans are available as PDF downloads. You can browse the lesson plans or search by state social studies standards and or grade level.

As good as the lesson plans on Our Courts are, they aren’t the highlight of the site. The highlight of Our Courts is the educational games offered on the site. There are three games, Argument Wars, Do I Have a Right, and Supreme Decision offered on Our Courts. These games are not your typical “drill it and kill it” game. These games require students to read background materials, analyze arguments, and make their own arguments. In Argument Wars students act as lawyers trying either side of five landmark Supreme Court cases. In Do I Have a Right students manage a law firm specializing in Constitutional Law. Supreme Decision has students playing the role of clerk to a Supreme Court justice. Our Courts offers comprehensive guides for teachers who want to use the games in their classrooms.

Applications for EducationAs I mentioned above, the great thing about the Our Courts games is that they require students to actually analyze information rather than just memorizing information. The games could easily lend themselves to being the catalyst for classroom discussions about Supreme Court cases and Constitutional rights.
Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
EL Civics – Civics Lessons for ESL Students
Connecting Social Studies and Art Through Video
Bill of Rights Rap


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