Grade 7 Teaching Resources
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Unit One - Government
Lesson 1: Democracy at Home and Local Governments
What is democracy? What does it mean to our every day life? What would our lives be like without it? Students will explore these questions and learn about the history of democracy in Canada. They will discuss how democracy affects their lives directly in the school community, their neighbourhood and their country. This lesson also includes an opportunity for students to look at a country that does not function under a democracy as a way to compare and contrast life as a student under a democracy or a dictatorship.
Lesson 2: Constitutional Framework: Who Has Authority
This lesson introduces students to the Constitution, both in terms of the division of powers and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Included in this lesson is a breakdown of our governments’ jurisdictions and a rationale for this division of governmental responsibility. Students will consider, discuss and justify their conclusions about allocating responsibility in everyday situations before working in pairs to extend their ideas to areas of governmental responsibility.
Lesson 3: Separation of Powers and the Branches of Government
This lesson introduces students to the three branches of government: the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Students will learn about the concept of the separation of powers and why the functions of our government are kept separate. Students review their knowledge by playing Wordsearch and discussing the separation of powers in a school setting before playing Branches of Government Bingo using actions from each of the three branches of government.
Unit Two - Law
Lesson 4: Introduction to Law, Rule of Law and Legal Independence
In this lesson, students will learn about some of the fundamental legal principles on which our legal system is based and how these concepts evolved over time to influence our notions of justice. Students will discuss what laws are, why we have laws and who laws apply to before learning about the origins of laws and, in particular, how they have led to important concepts like the rule of law and judicial and lawyer independence. Students will have an opportunity to apply their understanding of the rule of law by reading an article about lawyers being able to self-regulate and drafting a hypothetical letter to the editor on whether or not that should be changed.
Lesson 5: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
This very special document is woven into the fabric of our society. It is a part of the Canadian Constitution and cannot be altered by any government by itself. This lesson introduces students to each section of the Charter through current case studies. They can analyze and connect these studies to their own experiences and to their expectations as Canadians.
Lesson 6: Criminal and Civil Law
In this lesson, students will study the differences between criminal and civil law. They will be able to distinguish our system from what they observe on television, which frequently reflects the American system of justice – particularly in court protocol. The students will gain an understanding of how our laws work to protect our citizens and our society.
Lesson 7: Alternatives to Courts
This lesson provides a basic introduction to different methods of resolving disputes. Traditionally, the courts have been used to settle disagreements, but there are a number of other processes that may be appropriate to resolve a dispute. Lawyers engage in a wide variety of dispute resolution mechanisms to assist people, including mediation, arbitration, negotiation,collaborative law, and mandatory mediation in certain family law situations. Students will engage in problem solving discussion and then extend their skills in an oratorical exercise using a hypothetical situation and justifying a problem solving solution.
Unit Three - Community Engagement
Lesson 8: Active Citizenship
This lesson helps students recognize what it means to be an active citizen and why engaging with our communities is important. Students will view examples where others have become active citizens and helped to achieve social justice. Students will also have an opportunity to complete a poster project that involves their wider school community and focuses on an issue they feel is important.
Lesson 9: Law Fair
This lesson includes a proposal for a law fair, planned by the students to showcase what they have learned about law. Using the station approach, guest classes will visit seven booths to learn about law through interactive activities.
Lesson 10: Mock Jury Selection
Mock jury selection gives the students the opportunity to select jurors for their mock trial following the procedure used in a real jury selection. At the end of the trial, the student jurors will be able to experience the serious process of deliberation, as they analyze and discuss evidence to arrive at a fair verdict.