Pennsylvania Homeschoolers

AP* Online Classes

One of the best things was definitely listening to lectures, both the ones Mrs. Hawkins created and the Teaching Company lectures she provided for us. I had not listened to lectures in previous history courses, and in this class, I realized how beneficial it was. 

The Constitution

On-Line for Summer 2020

Teacher: Mr. Michael Munson


The Constitution: Government Power & Rights of Citizens

Instructor: Michael Munson

Summer 2020

Course begins Monday, July 13, 2020 and ends on Friday, August 21, 2020



Course Description

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. 


Class Format

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.

Class Details:

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 

Additional Resources: – 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:


Supreme Court Cases: Facts, issues, rulings, and reasoning are found at which also has an app that can be downloaded to smartphones. Students will complete assignments analyzing and comparing Supreme Court cases such as:


Technology Requirements


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.

Course Grading 

Weekly Assignments: (Approximately 35% of final grade)

Multiple-Choice Quizzes: (Approximately 35% of final grade)

Multiple choice will ask students to:

Final Project: (Approximately 30% of final grade) 

Final project video presentation requirements:


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:


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?

Main themes:

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?

Main themes:

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?

Main themes:

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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