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Junior Scholastic Teaching Kits
Teacher-approved stories, resources, and worksheets, courtesy of Junior Scholastic, the middle school Social Studies classroom magazine.
Middle School Civics
An overview of civics: what it means to be a good citizen, how democracy works, and why staying informed and engaged matters—even as kids.
Featured Teaching Kits
Teacher-approved stories, resources, and worksheets for teaching middle school civics in your classroom, courtesy of Junior Scholastic, the middle school Social Studies classroom magazine
Can Facebook censor me? Can I say what I want at school? Is my town’s curfew legal? The First Amendment safeguards Americans’ most important individual freedoms, but how do those freedoms apply to students?
A state election in Virginia showed that even one vote can determine an election’s outcome. What happens when an election is too close to call?
The Parkland, Florida, school shooting in April 2018 prompted a surge of activism among students nationwide. Students across the country are demanding action on guns. Can these young people dominate the debate on guns in America?
Every day, teens across America ask themselves how they can make a difference. These four young people started changing their local governments—all before turning 20!
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Famous quotes about civics throughout history
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
— Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist and author
“Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, debate, and dissent.”
— Hubert H. Humphrey, 38th Vice President of the United States
“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is, not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.”
— Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States
“The life of a republic lies certainly in the energy, virtue, and intelligence of its citizens.”
— Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States
Four civics figures who made an impact
One of the nation’s founders, Madison helped craft the U.S. Constitution. He proposed the Bill of Rights to Congress in 1789 to protect basic freedoms such as the right to free speech. Madison served as U.S. president from 1809 to 1817.
Susan B. Anthony
A pioneer of women’s rights, Anthony believed women deserved the same freedoms as men and devoted her life to achieving that goal. She established the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869 and was arrested a few years later for attempting to vote. The 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, was ratified in 1920, 14 years after her death.
Martin Luther King Jr.
King was a civil rights leader who pushed to end segregation and discrimination against African Americans. He embraced the First Amendment’s protection of peaceful assembly, organizing nonviolent protests like the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott and the 1963 March on Washington. King was assassinated in 1968.
Sandra Day O’Connor
O’Connor became the first female U.S. Supreme Court justice in 1981. She held that position for more than 24 years before retiring. She often cast the deciding vote on important social issues. O’Connor is a vocal supporter of civic education.
Supplemental resources about civics for middle school students
Video lessons and games on the basics of civics
Questions and answers from the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services’ naturalization test, with mp3 audio
Civics Teacher Resources
Lesson plans, videos, and other resources from the National Education Association
Terms and definitions that pertain to civics
freedom from arbitrary governmental interference (as with the right of free speech), especially as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights
a system of government in which power is held by the people of a country, typically exercised through elected representatives
a part of the U.S. Constitution (and Bill of Rights) that protects freedom of religion, free speech, and other public expression
a form of government in which authority belongs to the people and their elected representatives
a part of the U.S. Constitution (and Bill of Rights) that deals with the “right of the people to keep and bear arms”
the right to vote
Explore Other Topics
Discover other free social studies topics and middle school teaching resources from Junior Scholastic magazine.
The Roles of the Presidency
From Commander in Chief to chief of state, the president has many critical roles.
An overview of humanity’s first large societies: how they formed, who ruled them, and how they influenced the world today.
The United States Constitution
The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It established our federal government and defined our government’s relationship with the states and citizens.
The Civil Rights Movement
Get to know Martin Luther King Jr., Barbara Johns, the Little Rock Nine, and other pioneers of the civil rights movement.
Women’s History: The Struggle for Equality
Learn about important women throughout history—including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth—and the progress that’s been made in the fight for gender equality.
The History and Heroes of World War II
An overview of World War II: why the U.S. got involved, what citizens did to fight back, and how people worldwide were affected
Real Teens of History
These inspiring teens fought for what they believed in—and made history in the process.
Social Studies Debate Kit
Teaching the art of debating—and how to write an effective argument essay—can help students master critical-thinking and communication skills.
Mastering Media Literacy and Digital Literacy
In an increasingly digital world, being able to navigate technology skillfully and evaluate online resources for accuracy and trustworthiness is crucial.
Teaching map skills can build students’ geography knowledge—and enhance their understanding of the world in which they live.
The Civil War and Reconstruction
Use these features and supporting resources to give students deeper as well as broader knowledge of these key periods in U.S. history.
The U.S. is a nation of immigrants, built by people who left their homes to seek new lives and opportunities. However, Americans' feelings about immigrants are mixed.
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Masterfile (voters); Tetra Images/Alamy Stock Photo (pledge of allegiance); Illustration by Ryan Etter; Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images (student protests); Daniel Hertzberg (illustration); Everett - Art/Shutterstock.com (Madison); Sarin Images/Granger - All Rights Reserved (Susan B. Anthony); CNP/Hulton Archive/Getty images (MLK); Brooks Kraft/Corbis Historical/Getty (Sandra Day O'Connor)