Course Description

This high school course provides an in-depth exploration of the United States Constitution and the structure of the American government. It is designed to give students a comprehensive understanding of the founding principles of the U.S. and how they shape the nation’s political and legal systems.

The course begins with an examination of the historical context surrounding the drafting of the Constitution, including the events leading up to the Constitutional Convention and the debates among the Founding Fathers. Students will study the Constitution’s key components, such as the Preamble, the Bill of Rights, and the structure of the three branches of government: the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches.

By the end of the course, students will have a thorough understanding of the U.S. Constitution and its ongoing relevance. They will be equipped to think critically about government and civic responsibility, fostering an informed and engaged approach to citizenship. This course is ideal for students interested in history, law, politics, or public service.

Course Details

US Constitution & Government

Ninth Grade Tenth Grade Eleventh Grade Twelfth Grade

Course Objectives

  • Understand the historical context and events leading to the drafting of the Constitution.
  • Identify and explain the key components of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Explore the structure and functions of the three branches of the U.S. government.
  • Analyze significant Supreme Court cases and landmark legislation.
  • Understand the concepts of federalism, checks and balances, and the amendment process.
  • Discuss the role of government in contemporary society and the impact of current events.
  • Develop skills in civic responsibility and critical thinking through simulations and group projects.

Course Outline

Unit 1: The Foundations of the U.S. Constitution

  • Week 1: Introduction to the American Revolution and the Articles of Confederation
    • Key events leading to the drafting of the Constitution
    • Challenges with the Articles of Confederation
  • Week 2: The Constitutional Convention
    • Major debates and compromises (e.g., Virginia Plan, New Jersey Plan, Connecticut Compromise)
    • Profiles of key Founding Fathers
  • Week 3: The Preamble and the Principles of the Constitution
    • Understanding the Preamble
    • Principles of limited government, popular sovereignty, separation of powers, and federalism

Unit 2: The Bill of Rights and Constitutional Amendments

  • Week 4: The Bill of Rights
    • The first ten amendments: origins and purposes
    • Key cases interpreting the Bill of Rights
  • Week 5: The Amendment Process
    • Article V and the process of amending the Constitution
    • Significant amendments beyond the Bill of Rights
  • Week 6: Landmark Supreme Court Cases on Civil Liberties
    • Marbury v. Madison, Brown v. Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona, etc.

Unit 3: The Structure of the Federal Government

  • Week 7: The Legislative Branch
    • Structure of Congress (House of Representatives and Senate)
    • Powers and functions of Congress
    • The legislative process
  • Week 8: The Executive Branch
    • The role of the President and the Cabinet
    • Powers and duties of the President
    • Executive orders and veto power
  • Week 9: The Judicial Branch
    • Structure of the federal court system
    • The role of the Supreme Court and judicial review
    • Notable Supreme Court cases and their impact

Unit 4: Federalism and Checks and Balances

  • Week 10: Federalism
    • The relationship between federal and state governments
    • Powers reserved to the states (10th Amendment)
    • Contemporary issues in federalism
  • Week 11: Checks and Balances
    • How the branches of government check each other
    • Case studies demonstrating checks and balances in action
    • The role of oversight and accountability

Unit 5: The Role of Government in Contemporary Society

  • Week 12: The Role of Government in Modern Times
    • Government policies and their impact on society
    • Balancing individual rights and public safety
  • Week 13: The Constitution and Current Events
    • Analysis of current events and their relation to the Constitution
    • Class discussions on topical issues in governance and law

Unit 6: Simulations and Civic Engagement

  • Week 14: Simulations and Group Projects
    • Mock trials or legislative debates
    • Mock elections and campaign planning
  • Week 15: Civic Responsibility and Engagement
    • Encouraging students to get involved in their communities
    • Opportunities for internships or volunteering in public service

Unit 7: Course Review and Assessment

  • Week 16: Final Project and Course Review
    • Comprehensive review of course content
    • Group presentations on major course topics
  • Week 17: Final Examination
    • Comprehensive exam covering all course units
    • Feedback and discussion on course learnings

Teaching Methods and Assessment

  • Teaching methods may include lectures, class discussions, group projects, simulations, and role-playing.
  • Assessment methods include quizzes, essays, presentations, projects, and a final examination.

Coming soon.

Please check back for any additional required texts. 

Mr. Logan Wells

Logan Well is a professor specializing in U.S. history and Latter Day Saint history & doctrine, currently serving as an adjunct professor of religion at BYU and Salt Lake Community College. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Brigham Young University. He then pursued a Master of Arts in History from Arizona State University, further deepening his understanding of historical analysis and research methodologies.

Mr. Wells is currently in the final stages of completing his Doctor of Philosophy in History at Claremont Graduate University.