Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center
Social Studies



TITLE:   AN INTRODUCTION TO LAW

AUTHOR:  DAVE SNOOK; McNary High School, Salem, OR

GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT:   9-12; Youth and the Law or American Government

PURPOSE:
THIS ACTIVITY IS DESIGNED TO INTRODUCE THE WIDE RANGE EFFECT LAW
HAS ON CITIZENS DAILY. THIS LESSON ALSO INTRODUCES THE TYPES OF LAW
DEALT WITH IN THIS SECTION OF THE COURSE.  THOUGH IT IS MEANT AS AN
INTRODUCTORY LESSON, IT CAN EASILY BE EXPANDED. 

OBJECTIVE(S):  STUDENTS WILL BE ABLE TO:
      1. IDENTIFY CRIMINAL LAW, CIVIL LAW, CONSUMER LAW, FAMILY LAW.
      2. GIVE EXAMPLES OF HOW LAWS AFFECT CITIZENS ON A DAILY BASIS.
      3. UNDERSTAND THAT LAWS NOT ONLY LIMIT CITIZENS BUT OFFER
         PROTECTION AS WELL.
      4. GIVE AN EXAMPLE OF LOCAL, STATE, FEDERAL, AND INTERNATIONAL LAWS.

RESOURCES/MATERIALS:
COPIES OF CURRENT NEWSPAPER (LOCAL PREFERRED)

ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES:
STUDENTS MAY WORK COOPERATIVELY OR IN SMALL GROUPS FOR THIS
ACTIVITY. ABILITY, RESOURCES AND TIME WILL DETERMINE THIS. 
      1. WRITE ON THE BOARD OR OVERHEAD THE FOLLOWING TERMS:
         CRIMINAL LAW, CIVIL LAW, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, CONSUMER LAW,
         HOUSING LAW, FAMILY LAW, JUVENILE LAW, STATE, FEDERAL,
         LOCAL, AND INTERNATIONAL LAW.

      2. LEAD THE STUDENTS IN A DISCUSSION OF THE ABOVE TYPES OF
         LAW AND HAVE THEM TAKE NOTES FOR THE NEXT ACTIVITY.

      3. GIVE EACH STUDENT OR GROUP A C0PY OF THE DAILY NEWSPAPER.
         ALL STUDENTS SHOULD HAVE THE SAME EDITION.

      4. ASSIGN EACH STUDENT OR GROUP A PAGE OF THE NEWSPAPER.
         THEY ARE TO READ AN ARTICLE FROM THAT PAGE AND IDENTIFY
         HOW LAW IS ASSOCIATED WITH THE ARTICLE AND WHAT TYPES OF
         LAW THE ARTICLE IS DEALING WITH.

      5. GIVE EACH STUDENT OR GROUP ABOUT 5 TO 10 MINUTES TO READ
         THE ARTICLE AND DISTINGUISH THE TYPE OF LAW WHICH APPLIES
         TO THIS ARTICLE AND WHAT TYPE OF CITIZENS ARE MOST AFFECTED.

      6. AT THIS TIME HAVE EACH STUDENT OR A SPOKESMAN FROM EACH
         GROUP PRESENT TO THE CLASS A SUMMARY OF THEIR ARTICLE AND
         THE TYPES AND EFFECTS OF LAW. SINCE EACH STUDENT HAS A
         PAPER, THEY CAN EXAMINE THE PAGE BEING DISCUSSED. HAVE THE
         CLASS COMMENT ON ARTICLE AND ADD THEIR CONCLUSIONS.
    
      7. I SUGGEST YOU TRY TO ASSIGN A FULL PAGE OF ADVERTISING TO A
         STUDENT AND SEE IF THEY PROTEST THAT NO ARTICLES ON LAW EXIST.
         OFTEN TIMES SMALL PRINT ABOUT INTEREST, PAYMENTS OR OTHER PRODUCT
         LIMITATIONS ARE PRESENT AND PROVIDE GREAT DISCUSSION ABOUT
         CONSUMER LAW.
 
      8. IF ONE OR MORE TYPES OF LAW ARE NOT DISCUSSED IN THE
         ACTIVITY, YOU MAY SET UP A CONTEST TO SEE WHICH GROUP CAN
         FIND AN ARTICLE WITH THAT TYPE OF LAW FIRST. 

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:
AS A CULMINATING ACTIVITY, YOU MAY HAVE STUDENTS WRITE AN EXAMPLE
OF EACH OF THE TYPES OF LAW DISCUSSED IN CLASS. YOU COULD ALSO
PROVIDE THEM WITH A GIVEN SET OF ARTICLES AND HAVE THEM IDENTIFY
THE TYPES OF LAW. 
STUDENTS SHOULD HAVE A GOOD UNDERSTANDING OF THE WIDESPREAD
EFFECT OF LAW AND THE VARIETY OF LAWS THAT WE ALL ARE SUBJECT TO.


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John Kurilecjmk@ofcn.org