Discipline: English and social studies

Grade Level:11

Course: Integrated English and U.S. history

©Literacy Design Collaborative. September 2011

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Letter to Congress
Overview
  • Module Description
    • In this project-based learning unit, students learn about the Constitution, the legislative process, and key Supreme Court cases. First, they are given a letter from Representative Paul Tonko of New York, in which he asks them to participate in the democratic process by writing a letter to a Congressperson arguing the constitutionality of a particular law. After researching and learning about the history of the Constitution and the Founding Fathers, the Bill of Rights, the process by which a bill becomes a law, and various Supreme Court cases, students outline and draft the letter. As an extension activity, they are tasked with creating a website as part of a grassroots campaign regarding the law. Working in groups, they complete a website for their grassroots campaign. The project culminates in presentations of their work to representatives from the Congressman's office.

  • Taks
    • Teaching Task Template Task (Design your own lesson)

      After researching fundamental elements of the Constitution, landmark Supreme Court cases, and a modern constitutional issue, write a letter to a member of Congress arguing your position on a constitutional issue of your choosing. Support your position with evidence from your research,  by giving examples from past or current events or issues to illustrate, clarify, and support.  

      Argumentation Analysis, L1, L2, and L3:

      Task 1: After researching ________ (informational texts) on ________ (content), write a/ an ________ (essay or substitute) that argues your position on ________ (content). Support your position with evidence from your research. L2: Be sure to acknowledge competing views. L3: Give examples from past or current events or issues to illustrate and clarify your position.

  • About The Teacher
    • Authors: Stacia Snow, history teacher, Tech Valley High School, Rensselaer, NY

      Josh Hatala, English teacher, Tech Valley High School, Rensselaer, NY

      Additional assistance: Alix Horton, literacy coach, New Tech Network, Napa, CA

      Course: Integrated English and U.S. history

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