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High School — Social Studies
Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities


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    Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities


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      Activities: Additional Instruction and Practice

      These activities may be useful for students who require additional instruction and practice with Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities.

      Civil Disobedience

      Help students extend their understanding of citizen action and its associated successes in achieving governmental change as well as the risks and consequences incurred by individual citizens. Students can identify particular individuals and research the roles that they played in acts of civil disobedience. They can use the chart below to organize and analyze their findings:

      Individual Act of civil disobedienceChange in policy/government soughtWhy the act constitutes civil disobediencePenalties suffered/ risks entailed
      Henry David Thoreau     
      Martin Luther King Jr.     
      Rosa Parks    
      Mahatma Gandhi     
      Stephen Biko    
      Lech Walesa    

      Have students draw conclusions and create opinions based on their research:

      • How effective were these individuals in achieving governmental change?
      • What did these individuals risk in participating in acts of civil disobedience?
      • What impact did these individuals have on others?
      • Were the risks that these individuals took worth the consequences and/or penalties that they suffered? (Why or why not?)
      • Would you participate in acts of civil disobedience? What cause would motivate you to take on the risks associated with such citizen action?
      Government Restrictions on Individual Rights

      Have students complete further research on examples of government restrictions on individual rights.

      Students can choose one of the examples already studied or identify further examples of the U.S. government's restriction of individual rights in the interest of protecting the common good. For each instance of restriction of individual rights, students can identify:

      • Whose rights were restricted?
      • Why were those rights restricted?
      • Who benefited from the restrictions? How did they benefit?
      • Who suffered as a result of the restrictions? How did they suffer?
      • Were the restrictions warranted?

      Prompt students to draw conclusions -- Over time, many of the restrictions the government put in place proved to be unwarranted or unnecessary. Some restrictions enacted in times of war were fueled by war hysteria. Ask students to reflect on the example they studied and determine whether it was necessary. Students should be prepared to back up their opinions.

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