American Government: Unit 2

American Government: Unit 2
Political Behavior: Government By the People
 
As we read and study the chapters that make up Unit 2 (Ch. 5-9), there are several activities that we will be completing that will supplement what our textbook provides. These activities will require individual and group work. Please read the instructions carefully, and do your best to be prepared for each activity. I will remind you of these projects, and their due dates, as we progress through the unit.
 
Activity 1: Baseball Card
 
As we have done in previous units, we are creating baseball cards of a few important historical figures when it comes to voting and voter's rights. In your collaborative group, each student is required to select one of the historical figures that is listed below. It will be your individual responsibility to complete a baseball card for this figure so that you may teach the rest of your group about him or her. (Remember to check the link to the Baseball Card assignment page if you need help remembering how to complete this assignment.) Because we are focusing on the right to vote, or suffrage, please remember to include details about your figure's work and importance in the suffrage movement.
 
On the due date, which will be announced in class, please bring your card and be ready to share what you learned with your collaborative group. We will spend a day sharing these cards with our groups. Please remember that you will accountable for information you learn in your group. The information will be on the unit test.
 
 
Historical Figures:
Frederick Douglass
William Lloyd Garrison
Gerrit Smith
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Lydia Chapin Taft
Booker T. Washington
 
Although you will have to do some research on your own, I will provide some resources in class for you to consult. Please remember to keep a list of your resources. 
 
Extra Credit Option
If you would like to earn extra credit during this unit, you may complete a second baseball card on another figure not listed above. A few people you might consider are: W.E.B. du Bois, Lucy Stone, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Susan B. Anthony, Aaron Augustus Sargent, or Martin Luther King, Jr. While working on the project, you might learn about other individuals that you might want to learn more about. Before creating a card for them, please check with me to make sure that this figure would work for this project. You may only complete one extra card for this unit.
 

 
Activity 2: Political Spectrum Reflection
 
After you have completed the political spectrum surveys on the page "Political Spectrum and Beliefs," please spend some time reflecting on the following questions. During an upcoming class period, you will meet with your collaborative group to discuss your answers. As a group, please discuss your answers and be prepared to share what your group talked about with the class.
 
  1. Were you surprised at all with your results? Why or why not?
  2. Did you feel the tests you took were biased? Explain your answer.
  3. Do you think you are better able to define the following terms: liberal, conservative, right, left, libertarian, authoritarian? Why or why not?
  4. For many of us, there times when your beliefs and values are in conflict with each other. For example, if you might believe strongly in justice and the need to punish criminals and you might also strongly believe in protecting all life. Capital punishment puts these two beliefs in conflict. When this happens, how do you resolve the conflict?
  5. Two of the key components of our democracy are "majority rule" and "minority rights." Explain how these components interact when it comes to political beliefs and voting.
  6. Sometimes what your political beliefs may differ from what "majority rule" decides. How should you handle this conflict? For example, what should or could you do if a new law violates a personal belief you hold? 
As you answer these questions, you might find the page on critical thinking helpful.
 
Activity 3: Pop culture and Politics
 
We will be watching a documentary VH1 News Presents aired a few years ago in class as we end our studies in this unit. To prepare for the video, please reflect on the following questions. While watching the video in class, please take notes with them in mind. After the video, please write your responses to these questions. The day after we finish watching the video, please be prepared to have a class discussion on these questions. You will be graded on participation in the discussion and for completion credit on the questions. 
 
  1. What role, if any, do you think pop culture plays in politics?
  2. What role, if any, should pop culture plays in politics?
  3. Cite an example of how pop culture changed politics. Was it a change for the better or worse?
  4. Some people get their news from news organizations like FOX News, MSNBC, or CNN. Others get their news from watching shows like comedy-news shows. Which is better? Why? What are the advantages and disadvantages to each?
 
The documentary is called VH1 News Presents: Politics: A Pop Culture History and was originally aired on  Oct. 20, 2004 and is episode 116 of the VH1 News Presents series.

References:
McClenaghan, William A. (2001). Magruder's American Government. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.