On-Line for Summer 2020
Teacher: Mr. Michael Munson
The Constitution: Government Power & Rights of Citizens
Instructor: Michael Munson
Course begins Monday, July 13, 2020 and ends on Friday, August 21, 2020
This course will give students a deep understanding of the framework of power held by the federal government and how these powers are limited to protect the rights of citizens. The Constitution is the foundation providing the structure and extent of government power as well as protection of rights and liberties held by citizens. Students will engage in constitutional study by exploring, knowing, and applying content individually and while working with a group to create a final project video presentation.
There are no prerequisites for this course and no application is required for enrollment. The ideal student is one who is interested in American government and politics and intends to pursue AP history and social science courses in the future. Content will be focused on developing some of the knowledge and skills directly related to future success in AP U.S. Government and Politics. However, document analysis, application of comparison and causation skills, as well as short answer and long essay writing are also essential skills practiced in each of the AP history courses.
The course is primarily asynchronous with a live video conference via Zoom each Monday (time will be determined before the class begins). Live sessions will be approximately one hour and student attendance is required. Assignments will be posted at the beginning of each week and explained during the live class meeting. Daily reminders of assignments will be sent Tuesday through Friday via email or the Remand app. Course assignments and assessments will be completed and submitted primarily on the class homepage on Schoology. Some assignments will also be completed as Google docs.
Students are expected to complete and submit all assignments on the specific date they are assigned. Extensions are allowed when I am notified in advance of the need for more time. Extensions are also allowed in cases of illness or emergency.
Workload: Approximately 6-8 hours per week
Course Tuition: $300.00
Academic Credit: ½ credit is awarded upon successful completion of this course
Enrollment Limit: 25 students
Grade level Recommendation: Students entering grades 9-12 in the 2020-21 school year who have not yet taken AP U.S. Government and Politics
Course Text and Additional Resources
Primary Text: Online Interactive Constitution at the National Constitution Center
Oyez.org – An online source that provides overviews for all Supreme Court cases.
Additional Documents are provided as pdfs or within course assignments. Students will analyze, discuss, and compare excerpts from important documents that influenced American political ideals and practices over time. Examples include:
Thomas Hobbes Leviathan
John Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government
The Declaration of Independence
Federalist No. 10
Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions
Susan B. Anthony, Is it a Crime for a Citizen of the United States to Vote?
Excerpts from writings of W.E.B Du Bois
Letter from Birmingham Jail
Supreme Court Cases: Facts, issues, rulings, and reasoning are found at Oyez.org which also has an app that can be downloaded to smartphones. Students will complete assignments analyzing and comparing Supreme Court cases such as:
Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Civil Rights Cases (1883)
Schenck v. United States (1919)
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
Civil Rights Act of 1964 & Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (1964)
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969)
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988)
computer with high-speed internet access
Google account for email and document sharing
Remind (a free text communication app for schools, parents, and teachers) that will allow you to text me with questions, comments, and some assignment submissions.
Zoom video from https://zoom.us (for the live sessions--you only need the free version)
Guiding Course Question: What is the Proper Balance Between Order and Liberty in the United States?
This question is used throughout the course and is the topic of the final project on which students will collaborate in small groups to provide and explain their answer to this question in a 5-10 minute video presentation. This question will be addressed in each unit of study as they apply the content and concepts they are learning.
Weekly Assignments: (Approximately 35% of final grade)
Written responses based on document analysis, comparison of theories of government and government policies
Cause-effect analysis of constitutional principles, legislation, and Supreme Court decisions
Apply foundational documents, the constitution, and Supreme Court decisions in a variety of scenarios
Multiple-Choice Quizzes: (Approximately 35% of final grade)
Multiple choice will ask students to:
Analyze and compare political concepts
Analyze and interpret text-based, and visual sources
Apply governmental concepts, foundational documents, and Supreme Court decisions in various scenarios
Final Project: (Approximately 30% of final grade)
Final project video presentation requirements:
Answer our guiding question: What is the Proper Balance Between Order and Liberty in the United States?
Thesis/Argument: Presents a clear position in response to the question and develops an argument using required foundational documents as evidence
Supporting Evidence: Provides and explain relevant and accurate evidence in support of your Thesis/Argument
Examples: Effectively incorporates specific examples from course content
Structure: creates a video or slide presentation that includes: title page, a minimum of non-text items such as photos, graphs, political cartoons, etc.
Skill-building relevant to future participation in AP U.S. Government and Politics
Course content will develop some of the big ideas, reasoning skills, and disciplinary practices included in the AP United States Politics and Government Course and Exam Description. These include:
Liberty and Order
Definition/Classification: Demonstrating knowledge of course concepts
Explain-Causation: Explain causes and effects of political principles, institutions, and processes
Explain-Comparison: Explain similarities and differences among political principles, institutions, processes, and behaviors
Apply Supreme Court decisions
Read, analyze, and interpret foundational documents and other text-based and visual sources
Develop an argument in essay format
Units of Study:
Unit 1: Foundations of American Democracy (2 weeks)
Guiding Question: How did American Colonial ideals and founding documents establish an enduring American position on the balance between order and liberty?
Political Ideals of the American colonies
The Constitutional Convention and Ratification
Unit 2: Articles I, II, and III (2 weeks)
Guiding Question: How does the Constitution balance the powers of government with concerns regarding liberties and rights of citizens and states?
The structure, purpose and powers of the Legislative, Executive, Judicial Branches
How does the Supreme Court contribute to balancing order and liberty?
Unit 3: Amendments and the Rights of Citizens (2 weeks)
Guiding Question: How have Amendments to the Constitution and judicial decisions affected the balance of order and liberty?
The interaction between legislation, Amendments, court decisions and the rights of citizens
Instructor Qualifications: Mr. Munson has taught multiple Advanced Placement courses since 1992. His syllabi are AP Audit approved by the College Board in AP United States Government and Politics, AP European History, AP World History, AP United States History and AP Psychology. He teaches AP Psychology every year and a rotating schedule of these other AP courses online from home in Pennsylvania. Over the years his AP students have performed remarkably well as indicated by a collective mean score of 4.07 on AP exams. He is a licensed 7-12 Social Studies teacher in Pennsylvania and Minnesota with BA degrees in history and secondary education from Bemidji State University with over 70 graduate credits in teaching history and psychology. He was AP Psychology Exam Reader 1999-2006, an AP Psychology Table Leader 2007-2015, and a member of the AP Psychology Test Development Committee 2012-2015.
Outside of teaching he spends joyful time with his wife, four daughters and two granddaughters. He also spends much time reading, exercising, and wandering outdoors.
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