Teaching Materials
Ask a Master Teacher
Lesson Plan Gateway
Lesson Plan Reviews
State Standards
Teaching Guides
Digital Classroom
Ask a Digital Historian
Tech for Teachers
Beyond the Chalkboard
History Content
Ask a Historian
Beyond the Textbook
History Content Gateway
History in Multimedia
Museums and Historic Sites
National Resources
Quiz
Website Reviews
Issues and Research
Report on the State of History Education
Research Briefs
Roundtables
Best Practices
Examples of Historical Thinking
Teaching in Action
Teaching with Textbooks
Using Primary Sources
TAH Projects
Lessons Learned
Project Directors Conference
Project Spotlight
TAH Projects
About
Staff
Partners
Technical Working Group
Research Advisors
Teacher Representatives
Privacy
Quiz Rules
Blog
Outreach
Teaching History.org logo and contact info

Bookmark This! Our Courts Especially for Middle School Students

Aug 20 2009 screenshot, our courts

EDITORIAL NOTE (9/30/10): Our Courts has since changed its name to iCivics. Please change your bookmarks to http://www.icivics.org.

When President Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, we pointed out that the judicial system is perhaps the least understood and the most complicated to teach among the three branches of the U.S. government. (Please see The Supreme Court: Connections Between Past and Present.)

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is helping teachers solve the problem, hooking students into understanding the judicial system and civic involvement via a new website, Our Courts. Planned especially for middle school students, the site engages visitors in online games that teach about legal decision-making, the role of various components of government, and the judicial system.

The website encourages critical and analytical thinking through interactive games.

The interactive games and complementary lesson plans are well-scaffolded and segmented to allow teachers and students to proceed at a pace appropriate for the classroom and to allow for both interactivity and classroom discussion and reinforcement. Critical and analytical thinking skills underlie the progression of each unit. Justice O'Connor's goal is to attract students toward civic involvement and public service and to encourage students learn how to analyze problems and to develop arguments. In the process, students learn the basics of the U.S. Constitution and U.S Bill of Rights.

Our Courts considers how 21st century students learn.

Our Courts is about civics education—nicknamed cyber-civics by some participants—developed by experts from Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor School or Law and the School of Education in conjunction with Georgetown University Law Center. They considered how 21st century students learn and the practical needs of teachers and schools.

And as an added feature, students can contact Justice O'Connor with questions, and she'll answer online!

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <b> <i>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
 
Content