The U.S. Constitution establishes a system of government with distinct and independent branches—congress, the presidency, and the Supreme Court. Our Constitution also defines the powers for the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of our government and outlines how they interact. These three separate branches share power, and each branch serves as a check on the power of the others.
The multi-part series explore the ideas of separation of powers and checks and balances and how they set up a framework for freedom and the role a free press and citizens have with it.
Complete with an 20 page teaching guide with graphic organizers, this series includes engaging lessons easily adaptable for differentiated instruction. The guide also has a listing of weblinks to many other free, related, educational resources.
This project was solely funded by the New York Newspapers Foundation and the NYNPA Newspaper In Education Program.
You may download each feature individually here or as a complete 6-page PDF file below.
A special thank you to David Scott Esq. (Project PATCH, Northport - East Northport UFSD) Karen Ferris-Fearnside (NYS Master Teacher Trainer-We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution) for reviewing and editing this content.
Law Day 2017- The Fourteenth Amendment: Transforming American Democracy.
The Fourteenth Amendment has reshaped American law and society. By defining U.S. citizenship and through its due process and equal protection clauses, this transformative amendment advanced the rights of all Americans. It also played a pivotal role
in limiting the states from abridging freedoms
guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Ratified during Reconstruction a century and a half ago, the Fourteenth Amendment serves as the cornerstone of landmark civil rights legislation, the foundation for numerous federal court decisions protecting fundamental rights, and a source of inspiration for all those who advocate for equal justice under law.Complete with an 20 page teaching guide with graphic organizers, this series includes engaging lessons easily adaptable for differentiated instruction. The guide also has a listing of weblinks to many other free, related, educational resources.
You may download each feature individually here or as a complete 7-page PDF file below.
2016 marked the 50th anniversary of perhaps the nation’s best-known U.S. Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona. The Miranda Warning has become ingrained in law enforcement and has permeated popular consciousness through countless recitations in films and television shows. Yes, we’ve all heard Miranda but how much do we really understand? Complete with an 18 page teaching guide with graphic organizers, this series includes engaging lessons that dig deeper into the words of a typical Miranda warning. The guide also has a listing of weblinks to many other free, related, educational resources.
You may download each features individually here or as a complete 6-page PDF file below.
Law Day 2015 - "Magna Carta 800: Symbol of Freedom Under Law"
Perhaps more than any other document in history, Magna
Carta has come to embody a simple but enduring truth:
No one, no matter how powerful, is above the law.In the eight centuries that have elapsed since Magna Carta was sealed in 1215, it has taken root as an international symbol of the rule of law and as an inspiration for many basic rights Americans hold dear including habeas corpus and due process. In keeping with this year's theme, the NYNPA NIE program in partnership with the Law, Youth and Citizenship program of the NYS Bar Association has developed an eight part educational series to prompt discussion about these principles. Complete with an 18 page teaching guide with graphic organizers this series includes lessons easily adaptable for differentiated instruction.
You may download each features individually here or as a complete 8-page PDF file below.
Law Day 2014 - "American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters"
One of our most cherished national ideals, expressed eloquently by Abraham Lincoln, is “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” It is a principle enshrined in our Nation’s founding documents, from the Declaration of Independence’s assurance that governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed, to the opening three words of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, “We the People.”The right to vote is the very foundation of government by the people. For this reason, striving to establish and protect every citizen’s right to vote has been a central theme of American legal and civic history. Much of the struggle on voting rights began decades ago, but the work is far from complete, and a citizen’s right to cast a ballot remains at risk today. In keeping with this year's theme, the NYNPA NIE program in partnership with the Law, Youth and Citizenship program of the NYS Bar Association has developed a seven part educational series to prompt discussion about the importance of voting and the ongoing struggle to ensure voting rights for all citizens of the United States. Complete with a 15 page teaching guide with graphic organizers this series is aligned to the Common Core State Standards and includes lessons easily adaptable for differentiated instruction.The features highlight seven diverse public figures from the 1800s through today and their quotes about the importance of voting.
The features highlight seven diverse public figures from the 1800s through today and their quotes about the importance of voting.
Law Day 2013 - "Realizing the Dream: Equality for All"
The promise of equality under the law is what has made America a beacon to other nations. It is a pledge clearly set forth in the Declaration of Independence and in the opening words of the Preamble of the Constitution, “We the People.” It is in the words of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. And it was restated 150 years later in the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech which challenged us to live up to our national ideal of equality under the law. There have been times throughout New York State’s history, when our struggles for equality lead those of the nation. This educational series was created to give students and readers an opportunity to explore the movement for civil and human rights in America and to promote discussion of the continued fight against injustice and discrimination.
The materials highlight 5 specific topics related to the ideal of equality for all. The links to the right bring up downloadable PDF files or Audio Podcasts in MP3 format.
Law Day 2012 - "No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom"
Open and accessible courts are the cornerstone of a free society. The framers of our Constitution recognized the importance of the courts when they made the judiciary one of the three coequal branches of our government. The courts are where we go to have our rights protected, our injuries redressed and our disputes resolved. Whether you are a consumer or a corporation, a victim or an accused, a lender or a debtor, a parent or a child, the work of the courts affects your everyday life.This educational series was created to give students and readers a general understanding of the process of the courts and the role the justice system has in our lives.
The materials highlight 5 specific topics related to the courts and our justice system. The links to the right bring up downloadable PDF files or Audio Podcasts in MP3 format.
The materials highlight 5 specific cases, 4 of them originating in New York. The links to the right bring up PDF files with the newspaper features and corresponding student worksheet(s) for the case listed.
The PDF file contains an introductory promotion piece and five features highlighting landmark court cases that originated in New York State. Each feature gives some background, a brief description of the issues and the court verdict in each case. Each also has a newspaper tie-in activity.
The five cases are:
King v. John Peter Zenger - 1730,
Gibbons v. Ogden - 1824,
Lochner v. New York - 1905,
Engel v. Vitale - 1961 and
New York Times v. US - 1973
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