2nd Unit – America’s Political Heritage (September/October)

TeacherStacy Gregorski
Subject AreaCivics
Grade Level7th Grade
Week #September/October
Unit of InstructionAmerica's Political Heritage and the Founding Fathers
Standard(s) Taught

Unit Standards (*standard is tested)

Unit Benchmarks

*Recognize how Enlightenment ideas including Montesquieu’s view of separation of power and John Locke’s theories related to natural law and how Locke’s social contract influenced the Founding Fathers.


*Trace the impact that the Magna Carta, English Bill of Rights, Mayflower Compact, and Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” had on colonists’ views of government, and on the purposes of government.


*Describe how English policies and responses to colonial concerns led to the writing of the Declaration of Independence.


*Analyze the ideas (natural rights, role of the government) and complaints set forth in the Declaration of Independence.


*Identify how the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation led to the writing of the Constitution.


Learning Targets and Learning Criteria
  1. Examine how Enlightenment ideas influenced the Founders’ beliefs about individual liberties and government.
  2. Recognize the influence of Montesquieu’s and Locke’s ideas on the Founding Fathers.  
  3. Understand the ideas about government contained in the documents
  4. Recognize the influences of those ideas in colonial government and the Declaration.
  5. Recognize the themes of taxation without representation and individual rights.
  6. Recognize the following colonial complaints: imposing taxes without consent, suspending trial by jury, limiting judicial powers, quartering soldiers, and dissolving legislatures.
  7. Identify the natural rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence.
  8. Recognize the connection between specific grievances and violations of natural rights.
  9. Students will identify the following weaknesses:

    – Congress did not have the power to tax, regulate trade, or enforce laws.

    – The AOC did not have an executive or judicial branch.

    – Changes to the AOC required unanimous consent of the 13 states.

  10. Understand the compromises made in the Constitutional Convention: Virginia plan, New Jersey plan, 3/5th Compromise and Connecticut plan (Great Compromise).

Classroom Activities

Daily Bell Ringer – Students are required to record their answers for daily critical thinking questions in their bell ringer notebooks (either a spiral notebook kept in class or a section kept in a student’s binder).

Daily Instruction – Students are required to participate in daily instruction, which can include PowerPoint presentations, group discussions, think-pair-shares, real-world simulations, videos/movies, formative assignments, and note taking.

Assignments Due

Almost all work is done in class.  Although students do not receive separate assignments to be done at home, they are still expected to take home any incomplete classwork, as well as study for unit summatives.

Additional Resources

Mr. Raymond’s Videos