Why Do We Have to Rely on the Supreme Court? An Interactive Examination of How the Supreme Court Shapes Policy through Individual Rights and Public Opinion

byFlorilis Davis, Jr.

This curriculum unit is designed to have the students understand the Supreme Court's role in American political history, regarding the development of individual rights and the role of public opinion in the Supreme Court's decision making. The students will interact as peer teachers to gain insight into their thoughts regarding the Supreme Court's role in shaping policy. This will provide a deeper understanding of the thought processes of Supreme Court justices as the students prepare "briefs" on important legal issues regarding individual rights. The Curriculum plan will be a vehicle used to infuse the ideas shared from the seminar, heading straight into the classroom, in unit lesson plan format. For example, I plan to have lessons focus on certain cases (Brown vs. Board of Education and Gideon vs. Wainwright). Teacher and student interaction is critical for this unit to be seen as practical to the student and the teacher. The quality of interaction will make this unit stimulating for everyone involved.

(Developed for AP U.S. History, grade 11; recommended for American Government and American History, grades 11-12)

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