This course is designed to provide students with a practical knowledge and understanding of our American government and its direct connection to their lives.  Relevance to life is imperative for students to connect with the democratic process as citizens of the United States.  Students will be able to apply knowledge of the US Constitution and demonstrate their understanding of how the American system of government functions on the local, state, and national levels as well as the impact on individual citizens.  Students will also be able to demonstrate their understanding that US citizens have both rights and responsibilities in order for our government to maintain order in our society.


Units of Study

1. Connecticut State and Local Government/Civic Action Project

This unit is a study of Connecticut's state and local governments as well as how state and local government address issues and implement policies that impact the lives of US citizens.  This unit also contains the civic action project, where students research, create, and present a proposal to address an issue in their community to affect change.

2. The Constitution: Rights and Responsibilities

This unit focuses on the rights and responsibilities of American citizens as protected by US Constitution.  Students will learn how their rights are protected and how these protections can be variable in different scenarios and in relation to other protections.  Students will investigate how both rights and responsibilities contribute to civil society in America.

3. Federalism

This unit is a study of the American system of government that divides the powers between the states and the federal government.  Students will investigate how this system both complicates and contributes to government responses to current events.


Civics and American Government is a required by the State of Connecticut for graduation.


Skills Emphasized

Debate, research-based Internet searches, position papers, document package analysis, role-playing activities, public speaking, note-taking strategies, argumentative writing, cooperative learning activities, reading for content and online “blogging” using MicroSoft Teams.


 Major Text

Magruder’s American Government (2011)


Current Events

Be aware of what is happening in the news cycle. Events in this country and around the world are important to compare, contrast and connect to other events we will study in Civics. We will analyze and incorporate current issues whenever possible throughout the school year.


Homework Expectations

Homework is assigned often in preparation for new topics or as a reinforcement of previously learned material.  Assignments are expected to be completed daily with accuracy and neatness.  Class preparation is an integral component of this course. It is important that you be prepared and able to fully participate in class.


Classroom Expectations

1.     RESPECT

Value the diverse perspectives and ideas that you encounter.

Act in a way that promotes a positive learning environment for all students.

When you disagree explain why and base your arguments on evidence.


Take ownership of your actions and the consequences.

Complete all tasks and assignments to the best of your ability.       

Pay attention to deadlines and budget your time appropriately.


Electronic Devices

The school issued Personal Learning Device will be used in class.

Any personal devices should be silenced before entering class.

Devices that are disruptive or used inappropriately will be delivered to the office.


Collaboration or Cheating

All assignments should be a product of your own individual efforts unless otherwise stated in the directions. Unauthorized assistance on any assignment will result in a zero.



You will be assessed in multiple formats in a total points system. Each semester you will be able to EARN a certain amount of points. Tests will be worth the most points, while formative assessments like quizzes and class work will be less. The points for homework throughout a marking period add up. Therefore it is important to complete all of your work. Below is a general range of points for specific types of assignments.

Tests              75-150

Quiz                25-75

Projects         40-150

Class work    10-40

Homework    5-20


Major Assignments

Throughout the course, several projects/papers will be assigned.  The most important project of the semester will be a Civic Action Project.  In a team, you will research an issue in your community and prepare a proposal to a local Board/Commission to address and improve it.  This assignment is a significant component of your grade and will help each of you connect with your communities and learn how local government functions.


Extra Help

Extra help is generally available after school Wednesday, Thursday and Friday by appointment. Students should notify me at least one day in advance to ensure that there are no scheduling issues.

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