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Social Education

Was the Constitution Pro-Slavery? The Changing View of Frederick Douglass

By Robert Cohen
Many have questioned whether the document on which our nation is based sanctioned slavery. But renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who originally condemned the Constitution, came to view it in a much different light.

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Social Education January/February 2018

NCSS Notebook
We Make Students Engaged Citizens 
Terry Cherry
Social studies is alive in the classroom where you teach, in your community, in the state where you work, and across the globe.
Lessons on the Law
Protests, Free Expression, and College Campuses 
Evan Gerstmann
A close look at the controversies surrounding recent student protests against campus speakers can launch an interesting classroom discussion on free speech. Secondary/High School Law Related Education

Tracking Congress: Issues, Interests, and Democracy in Action 
Ralph Nader
Teaching young people to track congressional representatives and public issues through Congress can engage students with their government and advance their civic participation. Secondary/High School Civics/Government

Making Inquiry Critical: Examining Power and Inequity in the Classroom 
Ryan M. Crowley, LaGarrett J. King

A truly critical inquiry should identify unequal power relationships in society and offer students counter-narratives to transform unjust social relations.

Secondary/High School Civics/Government
Sources and Strategies
Guiding Student Investigation of a Miniature Flask for Insight into Mayan Civilization 
Matthew C. Poth
An in-depth examination of a clay flask discovered in the Guatemalan lowlands provides an excellent springboard into a lesson on Mesoamerican civilizations and the impact of European arrival. Secondary/High School World History

Drones, Balance of Power, and “Just War”: Assassination and Warfare in a New Century 
Mark Pearcy
Grappling with complex issues in the classroom, such as the use of weaponized drones, is vital for students in an era where technology is racing ahead of moral scrutiny. Secondary/High School World History, US History

Project-Based Learning


PBL in Social Studies Classrooms: Teaching High Quality and Engaging Projects 
Jane C. Lo
This special section provides teachers with excellent examples of rigorous project-based learning.

Project-Based Learning in Social Studies  
John Larmer
Teaching through projects can connect students and schools with their communities, make history relevant, and foster democratic citizenship. US History

Engaging the Community with a Project-Based Approach 
Anne-Lise Halvorsen, Nell K. Duke, Stephanie L. Strachan,, Cathy M. Johnson
Young learners and students of all ages feel more connected to their learning when they participate in community-related projects. PreK-Elementary Civics/Government

Knowledge in Action: Social Studies Simulations as Project-Based Learning 
Katie Piper, Jerry Neufeld-Kaiser
Political simulations in an AP class helped students learn content and skills while they also engaged with the structures and functions of government. Secondary/High School Civics/Government, US History

Learning through Doing: A Project-Based Learning Approach to the History of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement 
Diana B. Turk, Stacie Brensilver Berman
A project-based approach to studying the civil rights movement can stimulate student engagement and their sense of connection to this historic period. Secondary/High School US History

The “Secret Ingredients” of Problem-Based Learning: A World History Perspective 
Robert Hallock, Kathryn Smoot
Three key strategies can help teachers implement successful projects in world history. Secondary/High School World History
Research and Practice
Projects as the Spine of the Course: Design for Deeper Learning 
Walter C. Parker
When a course is centered on a series of projects, the projects accomplish the main intellectual work, and student learning is deep and complex. Secondary/High School

Independent Prosecutors, the Trump-Russia Connection, and the Separation of Powers

The U.S. Constitution codifies a complex system of governmental checks and balances. But for all its innovation, our founding document fails to address the question of how to prosecute wrongdoing by personnel in the executive branch, including the president of the United States. 
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