Submitted by: Angela Watson
In this rights and responsibilities lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades K-3, students use BrainPOP Jr. resources to explore the importance of laws. Students will explain who determines laws and how laws are enforced, and identify student responsibilities under the law. They will then select and research a student responsibility for safety using print, web, and community resources, and create a skit or alternative presentation to teach others about the importance of the selected responsibility.
- Discuss the importance of laws
- Explain who determines laws and how laws are enforced
- Identify student responsibilities under the law
- Computer and projector to watch BrainPOP Jr. as a class
- Chart paper or board to record ideas
- Paper and pencils for students
Preparation:Preview the movie and read through the Ideas for Grownups page to familiarize yourself with the scope and and objective of the movie. You may also wish to compile web and community resources for students to use when researching for their presentations.
- Assess prior knowledge and build background information through a whole-class discussion: What is a law? Who makes laws? Is it important to have laws? Why or why not?
- Give students 5 minutes to journal write about who is responsible for following laws. Partner share afterward for 2 minutes.
- Show the Rights and Responsibilities movie. Pause throughout to discuss. Guide students to understand that citizens vote for government leaders who make laws, and all citizens are responsible for following those laws.
- Divide students into heterogeneous small groups and ask them to brainstorm a list of laws they are responsible for following. Students may suggest ideas from the movie (not stealing or littering, and wearing seatbelts and helmets) or make additional suggestions.
- Ask each group to select one responsibility for which they will create a skit or other presentation for the rest of the class and/or other classes in the school. Encourage groups to choose a responsibility related to pedestrian or bike safety laws, which are easy to explain and present. Each group should use their citizen responsibility of voting to determine which of the laws they'd like to teach others about.
- As a class, brainstorm ways students could gather research on their chosen law (i.e. checking out books from the media center and local library, interviewing the school crossing guard, inviting a police officer or school safety patrol member to speak to the class, completing a web quest, and researching on the Internet). You may choose to invite local high school students to help children research, which could be a fulfillment of their own civic responsibility of community service hours.
- After compiling resources, provide the groups with time to create their skits. Remind students that their focus should be on the importance of the law and how to follow it. You might offer alternative presentation methods such as a poster or PowerPoint presentation.
- Allow each group to present or perform for their peers. You may wish to record audio or video of students' skits. Afterward, posters and props may be hung in the hallway to remind other students to be safe and follow the laws.