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U.S. Government

The U.S. Government course provides an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. We will study both the general concepts used to interpret U.S. politics and the analysis of specific case studies, and will become familiar with the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute U.S. political reality.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

1. What is power? Who has power within American government and society?

2. What is the role of government and is it necessary?

3. Is the U.S. Constitution the most effective method for organizing the government?

4. What is a citizen and what are their responsibilities?

5. What allows the government to continue evolving?


CURRENT EVENTS will be used as much as possible to bring the concepts of politics alive in our discussions.

One of my main personal objectives in this class is to give you honest, accurate information regarding how the U.S. government and society, with all its different factors, came to be what it is today. However, once you have this information, I want you to form a solid opinion based on the facts! Your opinion can be whatever you want, but you must be able to substantiate it!

An educated opinion is a powerful tool that will earn you respect!

 Please remember that you are in control of your success in this class.

 Take responsibility for your work and be accountable for your actions.

 
DATECLASS CALENDAR / INFORMATION
Thursday
September 7
TOPIC: INTRODUCTION

1.
CLASS WEBSITE
2. EVALUATION
3. APPROACH 

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Choose an ONLINE NEWS WEBSITE / REVIEW CURRENT EVENTS (World - U.S. - Business - Technology - Culture) / Come to class ready to share your QUESTIONS & OPINIONS
Friday
September 8
TOPIC: So WHY do we have to study this stuff?
       
CLASS ACTIVITY: Using current events topics, we will analyze how & why "GOVERNMENT" and "POLITICS" affect our lives.
 
ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
 READ
Principles of Government Outline 
- SECTION 1, GOVERNMENT & THE STATE
- SECTION 2, FORMS OF GOVERNMENT
 
-- Bring to class any questions you have on vocabulary and concepts

[IF THERE ARE NO QUESTIONS, I will assume you understand everything AND give you a quiz (so you can get an "A")]
Monday
September 11
TOPIC: PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT 

CLASS PRESENTATION:
American Political Culture 

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: READ
Principles of Government Outline - SECTION 3, BASIC CONCEPTS OF DEMOCRACY 
Tuesday
September 12
NO CLASS
Wednesday September 13TOPIC: CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS - Example #1 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Please Vote for Me

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Complete 
Please Vote for Me Questions
Thursday
September 14
**TOPIC: CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS - Example #2 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: FRONTRUNNERS  
 
ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Complete
FRONTRUNNERS Questions
Friday
September 15
TOPIC: WINNING ELECTIONS
       
CLASS ACTIVITY: WIN THE WHITE HOUSE  (NOPE!) - CURRENT EVENTS
 
ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: READ Seven Deadly American Sins ARTICLE and COMPLETE REACTION SHEET
Monday
September 18
TOPIC: Problems - and maybe Solutions - in the U.S. Electoral/Voting Process  
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Dude, Where's My Ballot!?!

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: 
READ Will Donald Trump Destroy the Presidency? - [LONG article - DON'T WORRY about details ... read for basic ideas / opinions]
Tuesday
September 19
NO CLASS
Wednesday September 20TOPIC: ELECTIONS IN THE U.S. 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Voters and Voter Behavior 

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: READ
We Vote, But Who's Counting - Article on problems with Computer Voting Machines 
Thursday
September 21
**TOPIC: INVESTIGATION INTO VOTING PROBLEMS IN U.S. 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Hacking Democracy 

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Complete
Hacking Democracy Questions - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
Friday
September 22
TOPIC: CAMPAIGN ADVERTISING 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Understanding Elections

CLASS ACTIVITY:
LIVING ROOM CANDIDATE COMPUTER ASSIGNMENT

NOTES:
THE LANGUAGE OF PERSUASION 

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: ANALYSIS OF FOUR CAMPAIGN ADVERTISEMENTS DUE AT START OF CLASS ON MONDAY
 
Monday
September 25
TOPIC: WINNING ELECTIONS
       
CLASS ACTIVITY: WIN THE WHITE HOUSE

PLAN B

CLASS PRESENTATION - THE FIRE BREATHER: The Rise and Rage of Donald Trump


ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: READ OUTLINE - The Media
Tuesday
September 26
NO CLASS
Wednesday September 27TOPIC: SPIN - The Media and Election Campaigns   
       
CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. The Mass Media and American Politics
2. Wag the Dog
Thursday
September 28
**TOPIC: SPIN - The Media and Election Campaigns  
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Wag the Dog

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Wag the Dog
Question Sheet - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
Friday
September 29
TOPIC: EXPERIMENT IN "EQUALITY"???

CLASS ACTIVITY: 2081 / REACTION-RESPONSE QUESTIONS
Monday
October 2
TOPIC: THE MEDIA  
       
CLASS ACTIVITY: REVIEW of TOP 15 MOST POPULAR POLITICAL WEBSITES

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
PROJECT CENSORED - Top Censored Stories of 2015-2016 -- DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY   
Tuesday
October 3
NO CLASS
Wednesday
October 4
TOPIC: The Political Climate (Sad to say, it's only gotten worse with the 2016 Election and the Presidency of Donald Trump)

CLASS PRESENTATION: Right America Feeling Wronged

NOTES: [Article referenced in class] We Should Have Seen Trump Coming

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: PROJECT CENSORED - Top Censored Stories of 2015-2016 -- DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY  
Thursday
October 5
**TOPIC: The Political Climate

CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. Trump vs. North Korea - COULD WAR HAPPEN?
2. Trump's War on the Border

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: PROJECT CENSORED - Top Censored Stories of 2015-2016 -- DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
Friday
October 6
TOPIC: POLITICAL PARTIES
       
CLASS ACTIVITY: MEASURING POLITICAL AFFILIATION
- Complete the 4 ONLINE TESTS
- SUMMARIZE + EVALUATE YOUR RESULTS
- DUE AT START OF CLASS ON MONDAY
  
Monday
October 9
TOPIC: POLITICAL PARTIES
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Political Parties

NOTES:
1.
POLITICAL PARTIES Summary / Outline
2. History of U.S. POLITICAL PARTIES

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
Political Parties Webquest - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON THURSDAY 
Tuesday
October 10
NO CLASS
Wednesday
October 11
TESTING: PSATs

Thursday
October 12
**TOPIC: GOVERNMENT vs. INDEPENDENT MEDIA

CLASS PRESENTATION: All Governments Lie

ASSIGNMENT/ASSESSMENT: THE LIES - Pick ONE and write a short summary [IN YOUR OWN WORDS] of:
1. the issue/event
2. the investigation by journalists
3. your reaction/opinion
- DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY  
Friday
October 13
TOPIC: CONGRESS - HOW TO GET ELECTED
       
CLASS ACTIVITY:
Instructions for The Redistricting Game

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT - CHOOSE ONE:
1. READING -
How Laws Are Made
2. How a Bill Becomes a Law (chart)
3. 
How a Bill Becomes a Law (ppt)    
Monday
October 16
PLAN A
TOPIC: CONGRESS - HOW TO GET ELECTED
       
CLASS ACTIVITY:
Instructions for The Redistricting Game

PLAN B
TOPIC: CONGRESS - OVERVIEW / INCUMBENCY

CLASS PRESENTATION:
CONGRESS - Part 1

NOTES:
CONGRESS NOTES - PART 1 

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: READING -
The Legislative Branch
Tuesday
October 17
NO CLASS
Wednesday
October 18
TOPIC: Rigged Elections? Real Problem or Hoax?  
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: READING - Trump's "Election integrity" Commission: The Lies and the Cold, Hard Facts
Thursday
October 19
**TOPIC: Rigged Elections? Real Problem or Hoax?  
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

NOTES: Rigged: How Voter Suppression Handed Wisconsin to Trump (And possibly handed him the whole election) (posted online today) 

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy 
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
Friday
October 20
TOPIC: CONGRESS - HOW IT WORKS
     
CLASS ACTIVITY - iCIVICS:
1.
LAW CRAFT
2.
BUDGETING - PEOPLE'S PIE
Monday
October 23
TOPIC: JUDICIAL SYSTEM
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: 
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
Tuesday
October 24
NO CLASS
Wednesday
October 25
TOPIC: JUDICIAL SYSTEM 

CLASS PRESENTATION:
1.
THE CSI EFFECT
2. 
PROTECTIONS FOR CRIMINAL SUSPECTS

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
TRIAL ACTIVITY - Tom Randall's Halloween Party - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
-
TRIAL ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
Thursday
October 26
ARIZONA STATE FAIR
Friday
October 27
END OF FIRST QUARTER

TOPIC: JUDICIAL SYSTEM 
       
CLASS ACTIVITY : Work on 
TRIAL ACTIVITY - Tom Randall's Halloween Party - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON MONDAY
-
TRIAL ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
Monday
October 30
TOPIC: JUDICIAL SYSTEM 
       
CLASS ACTIVITY - iCIVICS: [NOT optimistic - and correct!!]

1. Do I Have A Right? - Bill of Rights
2. Do I Have A Right? - Constitutional Law

PLAN B

PLAN C - Psychology "Experiment"
Tuesday
October 31
NO CLASS
Wednesday November 1TOPIC: JUDICIAL SYSTEM 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. 
CRIME and RACE IN AMERICAN SOCIETY
2. 12 Angry Men 
Thursday
November 2
**TOPIC: JUDICIAL SYSTEM
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: 12 Angry Men
 
ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
12 Angry Men WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY 
Friday
November 3
TOPIC: CRIMINAL RIGHTS - Example #1

CLASS PRESENTATION
1.
CRIMINAL RIGHTS
2. THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE 

NOTES:
STEPS IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
READING -
1.
False Confessions
2.
A Chronology of The Central Park Five case from the NY Daily News
Monday
November 6
TOPIC: CRIMINAL RIGHTS - Example #1
      
CLASS PRESENTATION: THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE
 
ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
Worksheet on THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON THURSDAY
Tuesday
November 7
NO CLASS
Wednesday November 8TOPIC: CRIMINAL RIGHTS - Example #1
      
CLASS PRESENTATION: Finish THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE
 
ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
OPTION 1:
Worksheet on THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE
OPTION 2:
Worksheet on THE CONFESSIONS OF THE NORFOLK FOUR
OPTION 3: COMPARE (Similarities) and CONTRAST (Differences) the Two Cases - Central Park 5 and the Norfolk 4  [List/Bullet Point/Outline Format] 
Thursday
November 9
****TOPIC: CRIMINAL RIGHTS - Example #2
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: FRONTLINE - THE CONFESSIONS    

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
OPTION 1:
Worksheet on THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE
OPTION 2:
Worksheet on THE CONFESSIONS OF THE NORFOLK FOUR
OPTION 3: COMPARE (Similarities) and CONTRAST (Differences) the Two Cases - Central Park 5 and the Norfolk 4  [List/Bullet Point/Outline Format]
Friday
November 10
TOPIC: CURRENT EVENTS DAY (need to catch up on what's been happening)
Monday
November 13
TOPIC: FIRST AMENDMENT AND STUDENT RIGHTS

READING
:
Student's Expulsion Feeds Debate on Online Rights, USA TODAY      

CLASS PRESENTATION
1.
Student Rights Handbook (Sorry - you have fewer rights than a public school student!)
2.
College Bill of Rights
3. 
Free Speech and Student Rights
4.
School Law
Tuesday
November 14
NO CLASS
Wednesday November 15TOPIC: FOREIGN POLICY and NATIONAL DEFENSE

CLASS PRESENTATION:
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE POLICY

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
- READING
:
Eisenhower's "Farewell Address" (the Military - Industrial Complex Speech)
- OR LISTEN to the
SPEECH (audio clip)
Thursday
November 16
**TOPIC: FOREIGN POLICY and NATIONAL DEFENSE

CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. 
CURRENT POLICY ISSUES / SITUATIONS - according to the U.S. State Department
2. Sample Syllabi of College Courses on this topic: 
#1, #2, #3
3. WHY WE FIGHT 
Friday
November 17
TOPIC: POLICY-MAKING - Foreign and Defense Policy
   
CLASS PRESENTATION: Finish WHY WE FIGHT

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
WHY WE FIGHT Discussion Questions - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON MONDAY
Monday
November 20
TOPIC: FOREIGN POLICY and NATIONAL DEFENSE
PLAN A        
CLASS ACTIVITY:
iCivics - Crisis of Nations

Some other online activities examining policy issues that you might find interesting:
-
Stop Disasters [Natural Disasters & Evacuation Planning, Urban Planning, Climate Technology]
-
Against All Odds [Life as a Refugee]
Tuesday
November 21
NO CLASS
Wednesday November 22TOPIC: INTEREST GROUPS / LOBBYING  

Interesting article on current American politics/society/culture - We're With Stupid

PLAN A
       
CLASS ACTIVITY: iCivics - ACTIVATE

PLAN B
CLASS PRESENTATION: Angry, White and American

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: iCivics - ACTIVATE
THANKSGIVING BREAK
Monday
November 27
TOPIC: INTEREST GROUPS / LOBBYING 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: INTEREST GROUPS

NOTES: 
INTEREST GROUPS / LOBBYING
Tuesday
November 28
NO CLASS
Wednesday November 29
Thursday
November 30
**
Friday
December 1
Monday
December 4
Tuesday
December 5
NO CLASS
Wednesday
December 6
Thursday
December 7
**
Friday
December 8
Monday
December 11
Tuesday
December 12
NO CLASS
Wednesday
December 13
Thursday
December 14
**
Friday
December 15
WINTER VACATION
Tuesday
January 16
NO CLASS
Wednesday
January 17
Thursday
January 18
**
Friday
January 19
Monday
January 22
Tuesday
January 23
NO CLASS
Wednesday
January 24
Thursday
January 25
**
Friday
January 26
Monday
January 29
Tuesday
January 30
SEMESTER EXAMINATIONS
8:30 - 
1:00 - 
Wednesday
January 31
SEMESTER EXAMINATIONS
8:30 - 
1:00 - 
Thursday
February 1
SEMESTER EXAMINATIONS
8:30 - 
1:00 - 
Friday
February 2
POST-EXAM BREAK: NO CLASSES