2012 Sustainability Institute for Educators
Course(s) US Government
Sustainability is incorporated as a concept in is the introductory unit on types of
government, our founding documents, and federalism.
Number of
Sustainability concepts incorporated into
Class Period (minutes) 52
days to
larger unit (approximately 6 days)
complete
Sustainability as a concept involves the interactions between the environment,
society, and the economy. None of these functions independently of the other two, all
affect one another. If we want to have an environment, economy, and society that is
sustainable and successful for future generations, we need to understand the impact
each has on one another. We as citizens need to understand these interactions so
that we can implore our elected officials to make decisions in a sustainable fashion. In
my government classroom I seek to educate my students on the importance of citizen
participation in their democracy. When incorporating sustainability into the social
studies curriculum it is important to take a holistic approach; weaving the concept of
Purpose Statement &
sustainability into the curriculum from day one. Leaving sustainability as a separate
rationale
stand-alone unit in a social studies curriculum would detract from the importance of
citizens demanding their government enact policies and practices that promote
sustainability in our economy, society and environment. Students need to understand
the impact they can have on the environment, society and the economy with their
actions as active citizens who not only vote but participate in their democracy in
various ways. Some examples would be attending meetings of local governance, or
organizations which promote sustainability in the community, running for political
office or assisting in a campaign, or donating time to a local charity.
Topic
• Students/citizens need to know and understand our form of government, and the
historical foundations of that government.
• Students need know and be able to understand and how sustainable ideas are and
can be promoted through citizen awareness and participation.
Sustainability • Students need to understand where we came from and why a democracy is the
Concepts & Themes optimal form of government for maintaining Sustainability; while also understanding
the challenges faced by our and other governments around the world. Being able to
compare and contrast our form of government with others around the world students
will gain a greater understanding of how citizen participation has an impact on
sustainability.
Learning outcomes or
Learning indicators.
2011 Model Curriculum
Topic- Basic Principles of the U.S. Constitution
Ohio Standard
Principles related to representative democracy are reflected in the articles and
Addressed
amendments of the U.S. Constitution and provide structure for the government of the
United States.
Content Statement- 5. As the supreme law of the land, the U.S. Constitution
incorporates basic principles that help define the government of the United States as
a federal republic including its structure, powers and relationship with the governed
6. The Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers framed the national debate
over the basic principles of government encompassed by the Constitution of the
United States.
Topic - Structure and Functions of the Federal Government
Three branches compose the basic structure of the federal government. Public policy
is created through the making of laws, the execution of the laws and the adjudication
of disputes under the laws.
Content Statement- 14. Law and public policy are created and implemented by three
branches of government; each functions with its own set of powers and
responsibilities.
Topic- Role of the People
The government of the United States protects the freedoms of its people and
provides opportunities for citizens to participate in the political process.
Content Statement- 16. In the United States, people have rights that protect them
from undue governmental interference. Rights carry responsibilities that help define
how people use their rights and that require respect for the rights of others.
National Standards
Addressed
Formative
None
assessments
Materials needed:
1. Textbook
2. Copies of “Government Simulations and Debates” Activity 1B
p.4
3. Smart board slides
4. Guided Reading 1-3 p.3
Objectives:
Daily unit
Day 1
outline/schedule
1. TSW (The Students Will) determine the similarities and
differences between the different forms of government that
were introduced yesterday – Autocracy, Oligarchy, and
Democracy.
2. TSW identify the general purposes of government.
3. TSW compare the advantages and disadvantages of different
types of government
4. TSW understand that we are members of ecological and social
communities where decisions made by society for economic and
political reasons impact the greater environment. Also, the
abundance, availability and condition of natural resources affect
economic and political decisions.
Activities:
1. Give student groups Activity Sheet 1B “Government Simulations
and Debates” p. 4 to complete. Groups will be discussing their
ideas on the purpose of government with examples (step 2) and
they will try to come up with 3 distinct types of governments
with a short description of each. Students will use information
from other student groups and prior knowledge to fill in step 3.
Students should come up with responses that approximate
oligarchy, autocracy and democracy.
2. Using smart notes, introduce the concept of sustainability using
the Venn and circle diagrams. Give students definition of
sustainability
3. Distribute “Guided Reading” 1-3 p. 3 for home work. This
activity is an advanced organizer that allows students to explore
the attributes of the three types of government- oligarchy,
autocracy, and democracy.
Assessments:
1. Group discussion
2. Homework GR 1-3
3. Activity 1 B
Materials needed:
1. Bell work
2. Textbook
3. GR 1-3
4. Smart board slides
Objectives:
Day 2
1. TSW determine the similarities and differences between the
different forms of government that were introduced yesterday –
Autocracy, Oligarchy, and Democracy.
2. TSW compare and contrast the governmental powers in the
American form of Representative Democracy with the
governmental powers in of an autocracy and an oligarchy.
3. TSW understand that we are members of ecological and social
communities where decisions made by society for economic and
political reasons impact the greater environment.
4. TSW develop oral communication skills.
Activities:
1. Create a bell work assignment that asks students to reflect on
the concept of sustainability.
2. Continue discussion of Sustainability by presenting information
with smart board slides on how the plastics industry has
impacted our society economically, socially (politically &
culturally), and environmentally.
3. Go over yesterday’s homework “Guided Reading Activity 1-3”
which highlights the differences between the three types of
government. Smart board slides review this information.
4. Have students discuss the benefits and draw backs of each type
of government.
5. Homework -- Students will be asked to predict the impact the
rule of law under each type government will have on
maintaining a Sustainable society for current and future
generations in essay format. Students will also be asked to
justify how they came to those conclusions using their
understanding of the different types of government and the
idea of sustainability.
Assessments:
1. Group discussion
2. Homework GR 1-3
3. Essay on sustainability and different forms of government.
Materials needed:
1. Bell work
2. Textbook
3. Worksheet “Characteristics and Soil of a Democracy”
Objectives:
Day 3
1. TSW compare and contrast the powers included in the American
form of Representative Democracy in relation to powers
included in the other forms of government.
2. TSW examine the difference between a Democracy and a
Republic.
3. TSW determine which form of government, a Democracy or a
Republic would be best suited to maintain a sustainable society.
4. TSW analyze the “soils and characteristics of democracy” and
relate them to today’s lifestyle and be able to recognize
sustainable concepts throughout.
5. TSW develop team building skills.
6. TSW develop oral communication skills.
Activities:
1. Bell work – Have students write the pledge of allegiance
2. Quickly discuss the difference between a Republic and a
Democracy, and how the definition of a Democracy has evolved
over the past 200 years. Emphasize the wording in the “Pledge
of Allegiance” and relate the definitions of each to today’s
Republican and Democratic parties.
3. Ask students which a republic or a democracy is best suited to a
sustainable society and why.
4. Pose question to students – In a Representative Democracy
(republic) what is the most important factor (piece of the
puzzle) given the challenges of maintaining a sustainable
society?
5. To introduce the concept of the soil and characteristics of a
Democracy the teacher can begin by talking about the
“characteristics” of a mother, father, teacher etc. and with the
“soil” of democracy the teacher can discuss what a plant needs
to grow. After emphasize that democracy can be like both of
these things it has many characteristics and needs a certain
“environment” to succeed or grow.
6. Put students into groups and have them match up the
definitions for the soil and characteristics with the terms.
Students will also be determining if it is a characteristic or a soil
of democracy.
7. Once all groups think they have the right order pass out a
completed guide on the characteristics and soil of democracy.
8. After matching up the correct terms and definitions lead
students in a discussion on which characteristics and soil best
promote a sustainable society. This should be a confirmation of
#4.
Assessments:
1. Completed analysis worksheet by each group
Materials needed:
1. Packet “Deciphering the Declaration of Independence”
2. Directions for Dear George letter
3. Sample letter projected on Smart board or overhead
Day 4 & 5
Objectives:
1. TSW analyze the Declaration of Independence explain what it
means in modern English.
2. TSW determine the purpose of the Declaration of
Independence.
3. TSW recognize sustainable concepts within the goals and ideals
embodied in the DOI
4. TSW develop oral communication skills.
5. TSW develop written communication skills.
Activities:
1. Begin class by quickly finishing any groups from yesterday
2. Ask students to recognize sustainable concepts and ideas
present throughout the Declaration. What are they and how do
they promote sustainable societies? As student may have
trouble finding sustainable ideas, ask them to predict why this is
so, what could be the cause.
3. Introduce Dear George letter to students. Students will work on
converting the DOI into a break up letter to a boyfriend or
girlfriend named George or Britain. (If another name is suitable
that’s okay) This assignment will demonstrate student’s higher
order thinking skills through synthesizing the information.
4. Go over directions. Be sure to emphasize the three parts of the
letter, 1. Introduction, 2. Complaints, 3. Conclusion
5. Show student a sample of what a letter might look like. DO NOT
give them a copy.
6. Have students work on letters in class, checking their progress.
7. Tell student’s letters will be worked on Monday in class and
rough drafts will be checked by teacher. Due Wednesday.
Encourage students to be creative and type letters to earn
bonus at teachers’ discretion.
8. Day 5 – work on letter. Teachers check rough drafts.
Assessments:
1. Class discussion on sustainable ideas within the DOI
2. Completed letter
Materials needed:
1. Venn diagram hand out
Objectives:
Day 6
1. TSW discover the concept of federalism as used in the United
Sates Constitution.
2. TSW define, compare, and contrast delegated, concurrent, and
reserved powers.
3. TSW predict and explain the effect federalism has on
maintaining a sustainable society.
Activities:
1. Bell work: Thomas Jefferson quote on Federalism. “The true
theory of our constitution is surely the wisest & best, that the
states are independent as to everything within themselves, &
2.
3.
4.
5.
united as to everything respecting foreign nations. Let the
general government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and
let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations,
except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the
better, the more they are left free to manage themselves, and
our general government may be reduced to a very simple
organization, & a very inexpensive one; a few plain duties to be
performed by a few servants.” Thomas Jefferson --- August 13,
1800
Pass out Venn diagram on Federalism and have students fill in
definitions and examples of each type of powers together as
teacher fills in diagram on an overhead.
Emphasize how the Constitution uses Federalism, where the
idea came from, and why it has worked so well for over 200
years.
Begin discussion with students about the effects Federalism may
have on maintaining and promoting a sustainable society.
Homework-- Students will be asked to consider how federalism
can promote a sustainable society and predict how federalism
may inhibit a sustainable society. This discussion will continue
tomorrow and students will be informed this question will
appear on the test.
Assessments:
1. Completed Venn diagram
2. Discussion on Federalism and sustainability
3. Homework
Summative
Essay test covering historical documents, federalism, and sustainability.
assessments
No. of Pages including worksheets, quizzes, etc. 14
Klumer, L. & McClean C. (2012). Introduction to Sustainability. [PowerPoint slides].
Retrieved from http://dropbox.com
Remy, R. C. (2006). United States Government Democracy in Action. Columbus, OH:
References McGraw Hill Glencoe.
Remy, R. C. (2006). Guided Reading Notes. United States Government Democracy in
Action. Columbus, OH: McGraw Hill Glencoe.
Supported by:
Homework Day 2
Predict the impact the rule of law under each type of government (Dictatorships, and Democracy) will have on
maintaining a Sustainable society for current and future generations. Justify how you came to those
conclusions using your understanding of the different types of government and the idea of sustainability.
/10
Total points
Impact
/5 points
Very Good
Good
Average
Poor
Students accurately
and convincingly
predict the impact the
rule of law under each
type of government
(Dictatorships, and
Democracy) will have
on maintaining a
Sustainable society
for current and future
generations.
Student accurately
predicts the impact
the rule of law under
each type of
government
(Dictatorships, and
Democracy) will have
on maintaining a
Sustainable society
for current and future
generations.
Student predicts the
impact the rule of law
under each type of
government
(Dictatorships, and
Democracy) will have
on maintaining a
Sustainable society
for current and future
generations. Student
could have been more
detailed in their
prediction of what the
future would look like.
Student thoroughly
and justifies how they
came to their
conclusions. Student
uses their
understanding of the
different types of
government and the
idea of sustainability
in answering the
question.
Student justifies how
they came to their
conclusions. Student
could have better
used their
understanding of the
different types of
government and the
idea of sustainability
in answering the
question.
Student prediction
does not include the
impact the rule of law
under each type of
government
(Dictatorships, and
Democracy) will have
on maintaining a
Sustainable society
for current and future
generations. Student
could have been more
detailed in their
prediction of what the
future would look like.
Student did not justify
how they came to
their conclusions.
Student
understanding of the
different types of
government and the
idea of sustainability
was completely
unclear.
Student thoroughly
and convincingly
justifies how they
came to their
Justification conclusions. Student
accurately uses their
understanding of the
/5 points different types of
government and the
idea of sustainability
in answering the
question.
Day 4 activity sheets
Four Characteristics of a Democracy
Individual Liberty
Definition- people are as free as possible to develop their own capacities. Government works to equal
opportunity for all.
Examples- people are free to pursue the educational/career field of their choice.
Majority Rule with Minority Rights
Definition- decisions are made by a majority of voters in free elections. It is accepted that laws made
by elected legislatures represent the will of the majority. The constitution protects the rights of the
minority.
Examples- Presidential elections are representative of majority rule. The Supreme Court upheld the
right of Mitsuye Endo, a U.S. citizen, not to be sent to a relocation camp in during WWII. However
many non-citizen were sent and this is seen as an example of the tyranny of the majority.
Free Elections
Definition- the authority to create and run the government rests with the consent of the governed. Free
elections ensure that public officials pay attention to the wished of the people. Every persons vote
carries the same weight.
Examples- In the U.S. there are very limited restrictions on voting. (age, citizenship, and residence).
Competing Political Parties
Definition- People with broad common interests working together to win elective office, determine
public policy, and make those in power accountable for their actions.
Examples- The Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. are an example of this. There are also many
third party organizations with similar goals. (Green, Libertarian, Constitution)
The Soil of Democracy
Active Citizen Participation
Definition- citizens who are willing to participate in civic life.
Examples- informing oneself about issues, voting, serving on juries, working for candidates, running
for government office, donating time to charitable organizations, writing letter to editor expressing
your views…
Favorable Economy
Definition- Democracy survives best in a country that does not have extremes of wealth and poverty
and that have a large middle class. You can control your economic decisions; therefore, you can make
political decisions.
Examples- United States of America, France, Canada…
Wide Spread Education
Definition- Democracy is more likely to succeed where there is an educated public.
Examples- U.S., Japan, Great Britain
Quote by Thaddeus Stevens
Strong Civil Society
Definition- Complex network of voluntary associations, economic groups, religious organizations, and
groups that exist independent of the government. Give people a way to make their views known to
government and public, a way to protect their rights, and a way to participate in your democracy.
Examples- Red Cross, Humane Society, NRA, Sierra Club, labor unions, news papers
Social Consensus
Definition- There is a general agreement among the people about the purpose and limits of government
and liberty and equality for all.
Examples- colonists
Day 6
What is Federalism?_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Reserved
Delegated
Concurrent
What are expressed powers?__________________________________________________________________________________________________
What are implied powers? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Powers Denied
Delegated
Reserved
Assessment
Historical Documents, Federalism and Sustainability Test
Part 1-- Directions: Answer questions 1 & 2 (5 pts. each)
1. What is the purpose of Government? Is it important to create a strong Government? Why/why
not?
2. Describe the concept of a Sustainable Society and explain why it is important?
Part 2 – Directions: Answer 2 of the three questions below. Be sure to answer questions in essay
format using complete sentences. Make sure you have addressed all parts of the question and you
are detailed in your answers drawing from information covered in class and in your notes. (10
points each)
3. Two theories for government came to bear in the new constitution, the idea of a 3 branch
government and the idea of Federalism. In what specific ways did these two ideas help ensure
we would not have a government similar to the one we had fought so hard against in the
revolutionary war?
4. Highlight the main points of the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan and describe how the
Connecticut Compromise worked to address the weaknesses in each plan.
5. Using the 4 of the weakness of the Articles of Confederation describe specifically how the US
Constitution improved upon those weaknesses.
Part 3 – Directions: Answer the following question in essay format using complete sentences.
This is a THREE PART question, make sure you have answered all three parts of the question
and are detailed in your answer drawing from information covered in class and in your notes.
See the rubric on back for my expectations. (30 points)
6. The concept of maintaining a Sustainable society was discussed throughout this unit. Using the
concept of Sustainability (1) describe which form of government (oligarchy, autocracy, and
democracy) would be best suited to a sustainable society and explain why. (2) Explain how a
Sustainable society can be maintained as a result of our government being a Representative
Democracy using the characteristics and soil of democracy. (Minimum 3) (3) Explain the
potential challenges and advantages of a Federalism framework in achieving Sustainability.
Assessment
/30 total
Which form of
government is
best suited to a
sustainable and
why?
/10 points
Explain how a
Sustainable
society can be
maintained as a
result of our
government
being a
Representative
Democracy using
the
characteristics
and soil of
democracy.
Very Good
10 pts.
Good
9-8 pts.
Essay accurately
and convincingly
describes why
chosen form of
government is
best suited to
maintaining and
promoting a
sustainable
society.
Essay accurately
describes why
chosen form of
government is
best suited to
maintaining and
promoting a
sustainable
society.
Essay accurately
and convincingly
describes how it
is that us being a
Representative
Democracy
makes our society
sustainable using
the characteristics
and soil of
democracy. Used
more than three in
answer.
Essay accurately
describes how it
is that us being a
Representative
Democracy
makes our society
sustainable using
the characteristics
and soil of
democracy.
Used 3 in answer.
Essay accurately
and convincingly
explains the
challenges and
advantages
unique to a
Federalism
framework as it
relates to
maintaining a
Sustainable
society.
Essay accurately
explains the
challenges and
advantages
unique to a
Federalism
framework as it
relates to
maintaining a
Sustainable
society.
Average
7 pts.
Poor
6 pts.
Essay does not
Essay describes
describe why
why chosen form of chosen form of
government is best government is best
suited to maintain a suited to
sustainable society. maintaining a
Could have given
sustainable society.
clearer more
Needed to give
convincing
clearer more
descriptions of why convincing
chosen form of
descriptions of why
government
chosen form of
promotes a
government
sustainable society promotes a
sustainable society
Essay describes
Essay does not
how it is that us
describes how it is
being a
that us being a
Representative
Representative
Democracy makes
Democracy makes
our society
our society
sustainable using
sustainable using
the characteristics
the characteristics
and soil of
and soil of
democracy. Needed democracy. Did not
better use of the
use of the
characteristics and
characteristics and
soil of democracy
soil of democracy
in explanation. Did in explanation.
not use 3.
/10 points
Explain the
potential
challenges and
advantages of a
Federalism
framework in
achieving
Sustainability.
/10 points
Essay explains the
challenges and
advantages to a
Federalism
framework as it
relates to
maintaining a
Sustainable society.
More detail was
needed in
description of
challenges and
advantages unique
to Federalism.
Essay does not
fully explain the
challenges and/or
advantages to a
Federalism
framework as it
relates to
maintaining a
Sustainable society.
Essay is lacking
substantial detail in
description of
challenges and
advantages unique
to Federalism.