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Lesson Plans on Threats to Democracy

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Lesson Plans on Threats to Democracy


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Addressing Threats to Democracy and Promoting Civic Education in Classrooms

Understanding what a democracy is and how it works is important for students of all ages. Using last year’s January 6, insurrection as a teachable moment, we assembled free lesson plans and educational resources to help students reflect on the events leading up to and on that day, as well as resources that explore ongoing threats to the integrity of a democratic government, including how to foster media literacy and civil discourse, understand voter suppression and how to identify misinformation. Included are civic education lessons that can be adapted across the curriculum.

Get started with your lesson planning and professional development by clicking here or by jumping to one of the resource categories below.

january 6 insurrection capitol rioters

The Impact of Jan 6 on Democracy

What happened on January 6, 2021? Examine historical data and timelines of the insurrection with students and learn how to responsibly discuss the events that changed the course of U.S. history forever.

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partisan gap ratings elements of democratic erosion

Elements of Democratic Erosion

What causes democratic decay and erosion? Explore ways to navigate unprecedented historical events in the classroom and work with students to understand how political polarization, gerrymandering, and civic apathy factor in to the erosion of democratic ideals.

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media literacy and disinformation

Media Literacy and Disinformation

Teach students how to examine news sources and media with a critical lens, learn the differences between dis- and misinformation, and understand how the influence of propaganda endangers our elections and democracy.

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book banning dangerous ideas book

Book Banning

Why are school districts and states banning, and in some cases, even burning books? Learn about current events and historical trends of book banning in the U.S., the importance of free speech, and the need to teach honest history in a time of hyper-polarization.

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decay of civil discourse people speaking

Decay of Civil Discourse

Learn about strategies for civil discourse in a classroom setting, how to foster mutual understanding, and how to respectfully disagree with peers.

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voter suppression all in the fight for democracy

Voter Suppression

If the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965, why are we still dealing with voter suppression today? Learn about the importance of equal representation at the voting booth, how historical ways of suppressing the vote are manifesting today, and how to get students excited about elections.

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Educating for Democratic Citizenship

The Shanker Institute in partnership with the American Federation of Teachers, Share My Lesson the and the AFT Innovation Fund has launched this Educating for Democratic Citizenship Project whereby a group of accomplished, experienced AFT educators have developed these Action Civics lessons and materials that we hope will improve teaching and learning of American History, Government, and Civics for teachers and students.