Unit 1: Human Nature, Rules, and Power: The Origins of Law

What makes laws necessary? How do laws provide or prevent access to power? In what ways can everyday people shape the rules and laws under which they live?

Throughout history, people and societies have developed common rules and laws. In this unit, students explore concepts and topics that are the foundations of the U.S. legal system—knowledge that is necessary for success in a range of law-related careers. Students learn about the United States Constitution and the three branches of government, as well as how rules and laws are created, enforced, and interpreted. Students also analyze how changes can be made to existing structures in society and the legal system through legislation, court cases, constitutional amendments, and civic action. Throughout the unit, students explore how the three strands of law, law enforcement, and advocacy intersect.

Unit Length: 25 50-minute sessions

Unit Project

Students draw on their understanding of the rule of law in society to write a persuasive letter to a staff member at their school in support of adopting, repealing, or maintaining a school rule or policy. Building on their understanding of the relationship between rights, rules, and power and how rules and laws have changed throughout history, students conduct research on how rules in their school are created, enforced, and interpreted. Students use evidence from their research to decide on a position and articulate why their proposal will benefit the entire school community and promote justice.


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