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Our Documents,

National Archives and Records Administration, National History Day, US Freedom Corps

This website highlights 100 primary source documents that shaped United States history. Documents include the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Plan, the Civil Rights Act, and the Executive Order establishing the Peace Corps. Each source has detailed information about the document, an image of the original document, a document transcript, and high-resolution pdfs. The website also contains Tools for Educators, with guides on integrating these important documents into the classroom. Want to know what James Madison’s handwriting looks like, and why what he wrote was important? This is the place for you.

Handbook for Grand Jurors,

Judicial Conference of the United States

There are two kinds of federal juries in the United States. Petit juries (or "trial" juries) decide whether or not someone is guilty or not guilty. Grand Juries decide whether or not someone can be "indicted" for a charge. In other words, they…

Model Grand Jury Charge,

Judicial Conference of the United States

There are two kinds of federal juries in the United States. Petit juries (or "trial" juries) decide whether or not someone is guilty or not guilty. Grand Juries decide whether or not someone can be "indicted" for a charge. In other words, they…

Marbury v. Madison (1803),

U.S. Supreme Court

This document provides the text of the landmark Supreme Court case, Marbury v. Madison (1803), the first Supreme Court case which declared an act of Congress illegal. That action created a legal precedent of Judicial Review.

Constitutional Issues: Separation of Powers,

National Archives and Records Administration

The National Archives website features a lesson plan about the separation of powers on a federal and state level that revolves around a history of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s court packing during the 1930s. It includes background information on the time period, as well as a primary source document in which a newspaper publisher warns that FDR’s actions may lead to “absolutism and complete dictatorial power.” The website also features a document analysis worksheet and teaching activities.

Brown v. Board of Education: Five Communities That Changed America,

National Park Service

the National Park Service. has created a Brown vs. Board of Education lesson plan that places the landmark civil rights case within the context of five communities affected by school segregation, including Farmville, Virginia. Background reading on the website can help place school desegregation in a national context. Four photographs of a segregated African American school in Farmville give a stark visual representation of inequality in education during the 1950s. The website also offers ways these resources can be used in the classroom, and supplementary resources useful for further research.

Justice Learning: Lesson Plans for Current Issues,

NPR's Justice Talking and The New York Times Learning Network

Justice Learning provides lesson plans and classroom activities on a wide range of issues. Each issue challenges students to think about complex issues, such as free speech in classrooms. Some exercises encourage students to deal with more difficult issues, such as cross burning and free speech or capital punishment and juvenile offenders. Each issue challenges one to think within a national, state, local, or classroom context. At the end of each lesson plan, there is a list of “Other Information on the Web.” Researchers on any topics covered on the website may find these links a good jumping-off point for their studies.

Our Courts – Build a Curriculum,

Sandra Day O'Connor, Georgetown University and Arizona State University

The Our Courts website is a resource started by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to help students gain more understanding of civics. The curriculum builder includes lesson plans organized both by state (i.e., Virginia) and topic. Although most lesson plans are aimed at grades 5–8, they can be adapted for older students. Games are also under development, which can be played alone or with a classroom group.

U.S. Courts Educational Outreach,

Office of U.S. Courts

This website offers classroom materials on courtroom simulations, contemporary court cases, and other classroom activities. One courtroom simulation involves downloading music and movies, which is particularly relevant to students’ lives. The website also has interactive Double Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be a Million-Dollar Citizen games related to trivia about the judicial branch.

Impartial Judiciary, Speech by Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr.: Video,

Judiciary NOW

In a speech before the American Law Institute, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts, Jr. discusses the importance of an impartial judiciary. An impartial judiciary is both independent from other branches of government and unswayed by…