Supreme Court Case Project Ideas

Learn about and apply your knowledge of landmark court cases that affect teens’ lives. The US Court system offers eight project activities for high school students in the classroom.

Most of them revolve around teen rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendments. In each project, students research both sides of a landmark case. Then they act as lawyers for each side of the case, presenting their side to the other student “judges” in a modified debate format. The student judges vote on the side they think presented the best arguments.

The issues deal with basic freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, student press, and search and seizure at school. Other constitutional issues include students’ rights when in police custody as well as their rights for counsel and a fair trial. There are also cases related to Title IX, prohibiting sex discrimination in educational programs and school activities.

Students will also learn how to conduct civil discourse and practice how to make evidence-based decisions. Finally there’s a section educating teens about personal finance and their legal rights and responsibilities.

American Democracy Game

This interactive civics game helps middle school students gain a better understanding of representative democracy.

  • In Level 1, students act as elected officials dealing local issues, such as proposed construction of a dog park.
  • In Level 2, students act as state government representative and deal with a weightier issue – lengthening the school day by 1 hour so students participate in mandatory physical activities.
  • In Level 3, students consider legislation lowering the voting age to 17.

Throughout the game students must consider several alternatives and weigh the costs and consequences of each.

This game includes accompanying classroom activities and discussions


iCivics is a web-based education project designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy.

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor conceived the idea for this website.  Her vision was to improve middle school students’ understanding of our political system and their role in the process.

So iCivics is all about games that teach.  As of this writing, there are 14 games dealing with citizenship, the Constitution, separation of powers, and executive, legislative and judicial branches.   Corresponding curriculum units for each of these topics include lesson plans and webquests.

Some of the games are designed to be played as a group.  Others are designed to be played individually.  There are even helpful guides for approximately how long it takes to play each game, varying from 15 minutes to more than 30 minutes.  Each lesson with its accompanying game is designed to be completed within a classroom period.

The games focus on policies, legislation and Supreme Court decisions that are relevant to students, such as searches of personal property in school, funding for schools, student safety, and grading.  The realistic complexity of the issues makes the games much more interesting than how-a-bill-becomes-a-law rote Q&A games.

For instance, in the Branches of Power game,  students learn more about what it really takes to enact laws. Students pick their priorities and values.  Then they navigate press conferences, town hall meetings, and conflicting values among supporters and opponents.  They even defend against legal challenges to legislation they support.  All are played out here as essential parts of the process.  And as in real life, with next election just around the corner, there is a limited amount of time to complete all of the steps to enact legislation.

iCivics has been widely praised by teachers and students across the country. The games have been played more than a million times in just over a year.

C-SPAN Library for Research

The C-SPAN Archives records, indexes, and archives all C-SPAN programming for historical, educational, research, and archival uses. The archive includes every C-SPAN program aired since 1987.

You can research video and audio clips of the programs by subject, speaker names, titles, affiliations, sponsors, committees, categories, formats, policy groups, keywords, and location. The congressional sessions and committee hearings are indexed by person with full-text. The video collection can be searched through the online Video Library.

BRI Civics and Government Lessons

From site:

The mission of the Bill of Rights Institute is to educate young people about the words and ideas of America’s Founders, the liberties guaranteed in our Founding documents, and how our Founding principles continue to affect and shape a free society.

The Bill of Rights Institute offers a variety of educational resources free of charge. Weekly eLessons offer 20-minute discussion guides for middle and high school history and government teachers. Each eLesson includes a lively background reading, discussion questions and extension options. Also, be sure to check out one of our newest features, the Educating the Next Generation blog, to find out how we’re applying knowledge in the classroom.

We also offer complete lesson plans based on primary source documents. Browse our Constitution Day, Bill of Rights Day, and Primary Source Activities sections to access these resources which include interactive Flash presentations, lesson plans, readings, and activities.