Curriculum Guides

  • Education in Democracy/Boom and Brown

    In the midst of a booming economy, the nation's capital was faced with a challenge to segregation that was practiced in its customs and laws. Activities and resources are provided in this guide to study the social, historic and legal context, Supreme Court decisions and aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education. Daily life is presented in Q&A, the illustrated history of D.C., and "Inspired or Accidental Inventions?" "Map It" provides a map reading exercise and a look at the growth of the D.C. area by 1965.

  • Boom and Bustle/Decades of Pursuit

    From 1965-1990, the pursuit of a better life, integrity and outer space shaped modern D.C. As the nation celebrated its 200th birthday, many firsts were taking place as the Metrorail opened, man orbited the earth then walked on the moon, and Walter Washington was elected mayor of D.C. Through local history activities, students are encouraged to research the story of one building in their community. "New Explorers" introduces students to four astronauts who went to school in the D.C. area.

  • Extending the Legacy

    As the D.C. area grows and looks eastward to expand, the area that was first settled by native inhabitants becomes the focus of waterfront redevelopment. Students are challenged to consider water quality, manmade pollution and potential to transform our neglected “other river” into a source of vitality and recreation. Maps of the Anacostia River and articles from the Post July 2004 five-part series on the Anacostia River Waterfront Initiative are provided to give background for students to propose their own waterfront design.

  • Exploration and Discovery

    As the South Pole quests of Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen are commemorated, exploration and expeditions continue above, on and below the Earth’s surface and waters. Assisted by cutting-edge technology and photography, 21st-century scientists and their teams plan for all stages, collaborate during the voyage and document their discoveries. A rich variety of activities, lesson ideas, resources and suggested readings across many disciplines in science, mathematics, technology and the fine arts are provided in this curriculum guide.

  • Who Has the Right To Vote?

    Students examine the right to vote and from whom this right may be taken. Voting patterns of American voters in presidential and off-year congressional races are studied and used in planning a mayoral campaign that will increase voter turnout. Commentary by former president Jimmy Carter focuses attention on the conducting of elections, in particular those in Florida. Two political cartoons by Post editorial cartoonist Tom Toles stimulates discussion of the role of media in campaigns. After reading a Post article, students discuss the eligibility of individuals with dementia to vote.

  • Should the Electoral College Count?

    Should the Electoral College Count? Six weeks after voters have indicated their choice for president and vice president, electors meet to cast their ballots. Through activities in this guide students review why the writers of the U.S. Constitution devised the Electoral College and evaluate if electors are still necessary. In addition to a brief history of the Electoral College, factual information includes “Electoral Votes in Proportion,” a map; “Distribution of Electoral College Votes,” a chart; and “How the Electoral College Works,” a Post graphic.

  • What Determines Election Outcomes?

    In “What Determines Election Outcomes?” students examine the influence of the 2000 presidential election results, political parties, issues and campaign advertising. Excerpts from David Von Drehle’s Washington Post Magazine article begin a look at the changing face of America’s political parties. Elie Wiesel in “Mean Season” asks readers to question the tone of campaign rhetoric. An editorial cartoon by Tom Toles gives students visual commentary on the battleground states, media coverage and their influence on the election.

  • Executive Decisions

    In order to become informed participants in a democracy, students should learn about the women and men who make decisions concerning their lives. The president of the United States and the Cabinet that he appoints are such people in the executive branch. Through Washington Post articles and activities using “Cabinets of President George W. Bush,” students are introduced to members of the Cabinet and their roles. David Broder’s commentary “Tight Little Cabinet” provides stimulus for an evaluation of Cabinet members.

  • Long Arms of the Law

    Long Arms of the Law focuses on the judicial branch of U.S. government — the role of the Supreme Court and attributes of its justices. Suggested readings and activities are appropriate for grades 4-12. Several variations are suggested for using “Giving Order to Important U.S. Supreme Court Cases,” a timeline activity utilizing seven significant cases. The history and notable judges of the Court are the subjects of one quiz; law clerks and procedures are the subjects of another.

  • Force of Freedom

    Whether in the Cradle of Civilization or an emerging democracy, voters are rejecting fear and choosing freedom. Students examine the force of freedom found in voting and its impact of various forms of government, a diverse religious and ethnic population, and economic, social and political forces without and within a country. The articles from The Post and activities in Force of Freedom can be used to focus on one country—Iraq—for its current events, recent election and its history as a cradle of civilization and center of learning.

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