The primary purpose of this report is to help students develop an understanding and appreciation for our form of government, and to have students think about the rights and responsibilities that come with citizenship in the United States. I hope that students will enjoy the process of digging up information about the United States and some of its most famous symbols.
This outline contains due dates for different sections of the report. Each section should be fully completed and in final draft shape by its due date. Students must use both books and the internet for research, though there is no getting around the fact that the internet is the easier avenue.
Length and Expectations
The length of any given section will be determined by the amount of information that you are able to find, and the amount of space necessary to explain a topic well. This outline includes questions that must be answered, but these questions do not represent the entirety of any topic, so you should almost certainly include more.
Most bolded topics below will take at least 3-5 paragraphs to cover well enough. Your report should obviously be fully edited for spelling and grammar. As with any report, every word must always be either your own (paraphrased from your research) or a quotation. Your report must be presented extremely neatly and typed.
While class time will be available to work on this report, much of it must be completed outside of school. As a result, your homework load will be heavily reduced for the duration of the project. Spelling chapters and tests will still be going, but you will not be tested on the challenge words. No spelling rule write-up. No reading log. Language Roundup will be postponed until after the project. Those of you with math homework will continue to get it and your newspaper deadlines remain. You also must practice your instruments.
Please note: sections are listed in this outline in the order they must be assembled at the end of the project, not in order of due dates. Look at the due dates carefully!
Cover –Due March 6
The cover should have the title of the report, your name, and the date. It should be illustrated with symbols of the United States or in some way that reflects the subject of the report.
Title page –Due March 6
The title page should have the title of your report, your name, the date, and your school name.
Table of Contents –Due March 6
This is a list of every section in the report and the page on which it can be found.
Introduction –Due March 6
Tell two or three interesting facts from your report.
Tell how you found your sources of information.
Thank the people that helped you write your report.
Encourage your reader to read and enjoy the report.
Illustrations –Due March 6
You must have at least three of the following illustrations. Choose the ones that will best support your report:
- A map of the original 13 colonies, and their names
- A map of the current 50 states and their capitals
- A table of the presidents and the years of their terms
- A graph of the population of the USA over time in 50 year increments
- A picture of the US flag over time, with at least four versions
- A picture of the American symbol that you chose to discuss
Declaration of Independence –Due January 23
What is the Declaration of Independence? When and where was it written? Who were the main writers? How many people signed it? What were the consequences of the declaration? Where is this document now? What were the primary complaints of the colonists toward England (name at least 3).
Constitution and Bill of Rights and Amendments –Due January 30
What is The Constitution? Who were the main framers of our constitution? When was it written? Where was it written? Why is it important?
What is The Bill of Rights? Summarize each of the rights. Pick four amendments to discuss briefly. Choose one that you think is very important. Write a paragraph explaining the value of this extra-important right.
The Branches of Government –Due February 6
What are the branches of our government? What are the powers and responsibilities for each of the branches? How are laws passed? How are taxes levied? How is war declared? Why are the powers of government separated in our country?
- What is The Legislative Branch?
- What are the houses of Congress? How many Senators come from each state? How is the number of congressional representatives determined and why was it designed that way? What are the qualifications for serving in Congress? What does a congressperson get paid? What are the terms of office? Who are our representatives? How can we contact them?
- What is the Executive Branch?
- Who makes up the Executive Branch? What are the responsibilities of the President? Vice President? What are the powers of the President? Vice President? How much do the members of this branch get paid? Who are our current President and Vice President? What are the qualifications for this office? What are the terms of office? How can we contact the President?
- What is the Judicial Branch?
- What are the responsibilities of the Supreme Court? How is a judge chosen? Who are the current members of the Supreme Court? What are the qualifications of a Supreme Court Justice? What is the term of office? How does one bring a case to the Supreme Court? Discuss two of the following landmark Supreme Court Decisions: Miranda v. Arizona; Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka; Bush v. Gore; Dread Scott v. Sanford; Brandenberg v. Ohio; Texas v. Johnson.
The American Flag and Other Symbols –Due February 13
Describe the flag and the symbolism of the color and the design. What is the proper etiquette for the flag display and use?
Pick one of the following symbols of the USA and explain the history of the icon and its importance (and if it is physically real, where can we go see it?): The Liberty Bell; The Statue of Liberty; Mount Rushmore; The Bald Eagle; Fireworks; The Star Spangled Banner; Yankee Doodle; The Presidential Seal; In God We Trust; Lady Liberty; The Gateway Arch; The White House; Uncle Sam; or the Pledge of Allegiance.
Citizenship –Due February 27
What are the qualifications for United States citizenship? What are the duties of citizenship? Here are some famous quotes from American Patriots. Choose two and explain what they were trying to say about the duties of citizenship and explain the context in which they were saying them:
“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” –John F. Kennedy
“Give me liberty or give me death.” –Patrick Henry
“Ain’t I a woman?” – Sojourner Truth
“We only ask an even chance to live as other men live…Let me be a free man.” –Chief Joseph
“I have a dream…” –Martin Luther King Jr.
Elections –Due February 27
Who can vote? What year were women first allowed to vote? What about African American men? What are the two main parties in the US? What are some of the differences between the parties? Choose an alternative to these parties and discuss it. What is the Electoral College? When are the various elections held?
Conclusion –Due March 6
What do you think are the most important parts of living in a democracy? What did you find inspiring? What ways do you hope to contribute to your country as a citizen? What is your favorite American Symbol? If you could pick a symbol to represent the USA, after all of this research, what would it be and why?
Bibliography –Due March 6
You must keep a list of all of your source materials. List the Author, Publisher, Title, and Date of the publication if it is a book. You must use information from at least two books. If it is a website, you must list the URL, Page title, Website name, Author (if available), and date you accessed the site. It must be a reputable site to be used for report writing.
Final Draft Handed In! –Due March 6