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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

What is power? Who has power within American government and society?
What is the role of government and is it necessary?
Is the U.S. Constitution the most effective method for organizing the government?
What is a citizen and what are their responsibilities?
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 22TOPIC: INTRODUCTION

1. CLASS WEBSITE
2. EVALUATION
3. APPROACH
   

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT -
Go to Presidential Candidates' Official websites:
- HILLARY CLINTON
- DONALD TRUMP

1. Compare the positions / ideas of the 2 candidates on 4 ISSUES (your choice)
2. If you could vote in the November election, which candidate would you choose? Give AT LEAST THREE REASONS for your choice.

Friday
September 23
TOPIC: INTRODUCTION TO 2016 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION   
       
ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT - Current Events:
- Choose an ONLINE NEWS WEBSITE / REVIEW CURRENT EVENTS (World - U.S. - Business - Technology - Culture)
- Come to class ready to share your QUESTIONS & OPINIONS
Monday
September 26
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
- SECTION 3, BASIC CONCEPTS OF DEMOCRACY 
-- 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")]
Tuesday
September 27
**TOPIC: CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS  
       
CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. Principles Review
2. Presidential Debate #1 Recap
3. 
Example #1 - Please Vote for Me

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Complete 
Please Vote for Me Questions
Wednesday September 28TOPIC: CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS - Example #2   
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: FRONTRUNNERS
Thursday
September 29
NO CLASS
Friday
September 30
TOPIC: CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS - Example #2    
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Finish FRONTRUNNERS 

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Complete FRONTRUNNERS Questions
Monday
October 3
TOPIC: CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: American Political Culture

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Current Events - Keep up on developments in the campaign
Tuesday
October
4
**TOPIC: 2016 ELECTION  
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: FRONTLINE - The Choice 2016
Wednesday October 5TOPIC: 2016 ELECTION  
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: FRONTLINE - The Choice 2016

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: FRONTLINE - The Choice 2016 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
Thursday
October 6
NO CLASS
Friday
October 7
TOPIC: WINNING ELECTIONS
       
CLASS ACTIVITY: WIN THE WHITE HOUSE 
 
ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: READ Seven Deadly American Sins ARTICLE and COMPLETE REACTION SHEET
Monday
October 10
TOPIC: 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 
Tuesday
October
11
**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
Wednesday
October
12
TESTING: PSATs

TOPIC: Problems - and maybe Solutions - in the U.S. Electoral/Voting Process  
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Dude, Where's My Ballot!?!

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
1. Complete
Hacking Democracy Questions - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
2. A Modern American Tale - Seneca, Nebraska [You might find this podcast interesting]
Thursday
October
13
NO CLASS  
Friday
October 14
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
October 17
TOPIC: SPIN - The Media and Election Campaigns   
       
CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. The Fury and the Failure of Donald Trump
2.
The Mass Media and American Politics
3. Wag the Dog

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: READINGOUTLINE - The Media
Tuesday
October
18
**TOPIC: SPIN - The Media and Election Campaigns  
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Wag the Dog

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Wag the Dog Question Sheet
Wednesday
October
 19
ARIZONA STATE FAIR  
Thursday
October
20
NO CLASS
Friday
October
21
TOPIC: WHAT WOULD YOU TRY TO ACCOMPLISH AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES?
    
CLASS ACTIVITY: SIMULATION -
Executive Command     [READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!!!]
Monday
October 24
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 WEDNESDAY   
Tuesday
October 25
**TOPIC: The Political Climate (Sad to say, it's only gotten worse in 2016 with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton!)  

CLASS PRESENTATION: Right America Feeling Wronged
   

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: PROJECT CENSORED - Top Censored Stories of 2015-2016 -- DUE AT START OF CLASS ON WEDNESDAY
Wednesday October 26 TOPIC: POLITICAL PARTIES
       
CLASS ACTIVITY: MEASURING POLITICAL AFFILIATION
- Complete the 4 ONLINE TESTS
- SUMMARIZE + EVALUATE YOUR RESULTS
- DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
  
Thursday
October 27
NO CLASS
Friday
October 28
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 END OF CLASS ON MONDAY 
Monday
October 31
TOPIC: POLITICAL PARTIES

CLASS PRESENTATION: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy
       
ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Political Parties Webquest - DUE AT END OF CLASS TODAY  
Tuesday
November
1
**TOPIC: Rigged Elections? Real Problem or Hoax?  
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy DISCUSSION QUESTIONS - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON WEDNESDAY
Wednesday
November

2
TOPIC: CONGRESS - OVERVIEW / INCUMBENCY

CLASS PRESENTATION:
CONGRESS - Part 1

NOTES:
CONGRESS NOTES - PART 1 

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: READING - The Legislative Branch
Thursday
November

3
NO CLASS
Friday
November
4
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
November
7
TOPIC: CONGRESS - HOW IT WORKS
     
CLASS ACTIVITY - iCIVICS:
1.
LAW CRAFT
2.
BUDGETING - PEOPLE'S PIE
Tuesday
November
8
ELECTION DAY
**TOPIC: CURRENT EVENTS - 2016 ELECTION  
       
CLASS ACTIVITY:
1.
2016 Presidential Candidate Positions on 75 Issues: A Side by Side Comparison
2. The Candidates and the World 
Wednesday
November

9
TOPIC: CURRENT EVENTS - 2016 ELECTION  
       
CLASS ACTIVITY: 2016 ELECTION De-Briefing / Future Predictions?

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: LEGISLATIVE BRANCH Web Quest - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
Thursday
November
10
NO CLASS
Friday
November
11
TOPIC: JUDICIAL SYSTEM 
       
CLASS ACTIVITY - iCIVICS:

1. Do I Have A Right? - Bill of Rights
2. Do I Have A Right? - Constitutional Law
Monday
November
14
TOPIC: JUDICIAL SYSTEM 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. 
CRIME and RACE IN AMERICAN SOCIETY
2. 12 Angry Men
 
Tuesday
November
15
**TOPIC: JUDICIAL SYSTEM
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: 12 Angry Men
 
ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
12 Angry Men WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON WEDNESDAY 
Wednesday
November
16
TOPIC: JUDICIAL SYSTEM
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: 
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
Thursday
November

17
NO CLASS
Friday
November 18
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 MONDAY
-
TRIAL ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
Monday
November 21
TOPIC: CRIMINAL RIGHTS 

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
Tuesday
November 22
TOPIC: CRIMINAL RIGHTS
      
CLASS PRESENTATION: THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE
 
ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
Worksheet on THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON MONDAY
Wednesday
November 23
END OF FIRST QUARTER
TOPIC: CRIMINAL RIGHTS
      
CLASS PRESENTATION: Finish THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE
 
ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
Worksheet on THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON MONDAY

CONGRATULATIONS!
You have completed the LONGEST STRETCH of Class Days (= NO DAYS OFF) of the year!
(BUT the time from the start of 2nd Semester to Spring Break is ALMOST as long!)
THANKSGIVING BREAK
Monday
November 28
TOPIC: JUDICIAL SYSTEM 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: The Supreme Court - A Nation of Liberties 

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Nation of Liberties Worksheet
Tuesday
November 29
**TOPIC: CRIMINAL RIGHTS - Example #2
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: FRONTLINE - THE CONFESSIONS    

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Worksheet on THE CONFESSIONS OF THE NORFOLK FOUR 
Wednesday
November 30
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
Thursday
December
1
NO CLASS  
Friday
December 2
TOPIC: SOCIAL JUSTICE
      
CLASS ACTIVITY: Social Justice Quiz 2015


ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
- What kind of Asian are you?
- Racial Stereotypes and Microaggressions DISCUSSION QUESTIONS  
Monday
December 5
TOPIC: CURRENT ISSUES - LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA  

CLASS PRESENTATION:
1.
Marijuana Legalization Survey #1
2. Marijuana Legalization Survey #2 
3.
Current U.S. Public Opinion on the Issue
4. What Happens to Teens When You Make Pot Legal
5. MARIJUANA - A CHRONIC HISTORY


ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
1. RESEARCH THE TOPIC USING THE FOLLOWING RESOURCES:
--
PROS & CONS OF LEGALIZING MARIJUANA
--
10 REASONS TO REVISIT MARIJUANA POLICY NOW
--
TOUGH QUESTIONS REGARDING MARIJUANA POLICY #1 / #2
2. COMPLETE
LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA WORKSHEET AND ESSAY OUTLINE
- WORKSHEET DUE AT END OF CLASS ON WEDNESDAY
- ESSAY OUTLINE DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
 
Tuesday
December 6
**TOPIC: CURRENT ISSUES - LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA  

CLASS PRESENTATION: Finish MARIJUANA - A CHRONIC HISTORY 
  

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
1. RESEARCH THE TOPIC USING THE FOLLOWING RESOURCES:
--
PROS & CONS OF LEGALIZING MARIJUANA
--
10 REASONS TO REVISIT MARIJUANA POLICY NOW
--
TOUGH QUESTIONS REGARDING MARIJUANA POLICY #1 / #2
2. COMPLETE
LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA WORKSHEET AND ESSAY OUTLINE
- WORKSHEET DUE AT END OF CLASS ON WEDNESDAY
- ESSAY OUTLINE DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
Wednesday
December 7
TOPIC: CURRENT ISSUES - LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA  

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
1. RESEARCH THE TOPIC USING THE FOLLOWING RESOURCES:
1. RESEARCH THE TOPIC USING THE FOLLOWING RESOURCES:
--
PROS & CONS OF LEGALIZING MARIJUANA
--
10 REASONS TO REVISIT MARIJUANA POLICY NOW
--
TOUGH QUESTIONS REGARDING MARIJUANA POLICY #1 / #2
2. COMPLETE
LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA WORKSHEET AND ESSAY OUTLINE
- WORKSHEET DUE AT END OF CLASS TODAY
- ESSAY OUTLINE DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
Thursday
December 8
NO CLASS
Friday 
December 9
TOPIC: FOREIGN POLICY and NATIONAL DEFENSE
       
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]
Monday
December 12
TOPIC: 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)
Tuesday
December 13
**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
 
Wednesday
December 14
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 TUESDAY, 1/10 
Thursday
December 15
NO CLASS
Friday
December 16
SPECIAL SCHEDULE - Morning Meeting: 9:00
WINTER VACATION
Tuesday
January 10
[Monday Schedule] TOPIC: INTEREST GROUPS / LOBBYING  
       
CLASS ACTIVITY:
1. CURRENT EVENTS
2.
iCivics - ACTIVATE
Wednesday
January 11
TOPIC: INTEREST GROUPS / LOBBYING 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: INTEREST GROUPS

NOTES: INTEREST GROUPS / LOBBYING 
Thursday
January 12
NO CLASS
Friday
January 13
**[Tuesday Schedule] TOPIC: INTEREST GROUPS / LOBBYING 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: THANK YOU FOR SMOKING

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: THANK YOU FOR SMOKING DISCUSSION QUESTIONS - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON MONDAY
Monday
January 16
TOPIC: PUBLIC POLICY = INTEREST GROUPS + THINK TANKS + MEDIA

CLASS ACTIVITY: Analysis of a Public Policy Issue - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON WEDNESDAY
Vincent - OBAMACARE REPLACEMENT
Phoenix - EDUCATION 
 
Tuesday
January 17
**TOPIC: FUTURE ISSUE?!?

CLASS PRESENTATION: The Coming War on China

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
 Analysis of a Public Policy Issue - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON WEDNESDAY
Wednesday
January 18
TOPIC: TOPIC: FUTURE ISSUE?!?  
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Finish The Coming War on China

Background / Perspectives on the documentary: [BE AWARE OF SOURCES - POSSIBLE BIAS?]
 
1. From New Internationalist MagazineThe Coming War on China [LONG read but interesting]
2. From The Diplomat -
The Trouble with John Pilger’s The Coming War on China
3. From China.org.cnPilger’s film: a powerful weapon against the coming war on China
4. From Russia Today - 5 Mind-Boggling Things about The Coming War on China
5. From VultureHound Magazine (UK) - Compelling, Enlightening, Damning Stuff
6. From Quora - What Do You Think About John Pilger’s New Film The Coming War With China? 
                                                (11 answers – majority from Chinese individuals)

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: What do YOU think about The Coming War on China?
- Be SPECIFIC about the positives and negatives you see in John Pilger's arguments.
- Can be answered in list / bullet point / outline format
- DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY 
Thursday
January 19
 NO CLASS
Friday
January 20
TOPIC: SEMESTER EXAM PROJECT (A Last Minute Change!)  
       
CLASS ACTIVITY: Show Me the Money! - A Look at the Influence of Money in U.S. Elections and Government
Monday
January 23
TOPIC: WORK DAY - SEMESTER EXAM PROJECT - Show Me the Money! DUE BY END OF THE EXAM PERIOD ON TUESDAY MORNING
Tuesday
January 24
SEMESTER EXAMINATIONS
8:30 - Government
1:00 - Period 2 [U.S. History]
Wednesday
January 25
SEMESTER EXAMINATIONS
8:30 - Period 3
1:00 - Period 4 [World Cultures]
Thursday
January 26
SEMESTER EXAMINATIONS
8:30 - Period 5 [Modern World History]
1:00 - Period 6
Friday
January 27
POST-EXAM BREAK: NO CLASSES