Ohio Academic Content Standards: American Government Course

Ohio 2010 Academic Content Standards: American Government Course
Syllabus (Updated June 2012)


Theme: How the American people govern themselves at national, state and local levels of government is the basis for this course. Students can impact issues addressed by local governments through service learning and senior projects.

Lesson 1: A Different Kind of Government Course introduces students to CAP. First, students learn that one of the main purposes of public education is to prepare future citizens to participate in our democracy. Then they are given an overview of CAP. Finally, they brainstorm the attributes of an effective citizen.

Topic: Role of the People

The government of the United States protects the freedoms of its people and provides opportunities for citizens to participate in the political process.

Content Statements:
16. In the United States, people have rights which protect them from undue governmental interference. Rights carry responsibilities which help define how people use their rights and which require respect for the rights of others.

Topic: Public Policy
Federal, state and local governments address problems and issues by making decisions, creating laws, enforcing regulations and taking action.

Content Statements:
22. Individuals and organizations play a role within federal, state and local governments in helping to determine public (domestic and foreign) policy.



Lesson 2: Introduction to Public Policy introduces the link between policy and problems. First, students read and discuss a short article defining policy. Then they discuss policy and its connection to problems. Next, in small groups, they do a newspaper search to find examples of public policy.

Topic: Civic Involvement
Students can engage societal problems and participate in opportunities to contribute to the common good through governmental and nongovernmental channels.

Content Statements:
1. Opportunities for civic engagement with the structures of government are made possible through political and public policy processes.

Topic: Ohio’s State and Local Governments
The State of Ohio acts within the framework of the U.S. Constitution and extends powers and functions to local governments.

Content Statements:
20. Individuals in Ohio have a responsibility to assist state and local governments as they address relevant and often controversial problems that directly affect their communities.

Topic: Public Policy
Federal, state and local governments address problems and issues by making decisions, creating laws, enforcing regulations and taking action.

Content Statements:
22. Individuals and organizations play a role within federal, state and local governments in helping to determine public (domestic and foreign) policy.



Lesson 3: Problems, Policy, and Civic Actions gives students further background in problems, policy, and civic action to prepare them for CAP. First, students analyze problems in terms of causes and effects. Next, they explore how policy can be linked to problems. Finally, they list possible civic actions that can be taken to when working on a problem.

Topic: Civic Involvement

Students can engage societal problems and participate in opportunities to contribute to the common good through governmental and nongovernmental channels.

Content Statements:
1. Opportunities for civic engagement with the structures of government are made possible through political and public policy processes.

Topic: Ohio’s State and Local Governments
The State of Ohio acts within the framework of the U.S. Constitution and extends powers and functions to local governments.

Content Statements:
20. Individuals in Ohio have a responsibility to assist state and local governments as they address relevant and often controversial problems that directly affect their communities.

Topic: Public Policy
Federal, state and local governments address problems and issues by making decisions, creating laws, enforcing regulations and taking action.

Content Statements:
22. Individuals and organizations play a role within federal, state and local governments in helping to determine public (domestic and foreign) policy.



Lesson 4: Introducing Policy Analysis helps students develop a deeper understanding of public policy and the interaction between government and citizens in making policy. They look at case studies and are introduced to policy analysis.

Topic: Civic Involvement

Students can engage societal problems and participate in opportunities to contribute to the common good through governmental and nongovernmental channels.

Content Statements:
1. Opportunities for civic engagement with the structures of government are made possible through political and public policy processes.

Topic: Civic Participation and Skills
Democratic government is enhanced when individuals exercise the skills to effectively participate in civic affairs.

Content Statements:
3. Issues can be analyzed through the critical use of information from public records, surveys, research data and policy positions of advocacy groups.

Topic: Public Policy
Federal, state and local governments address problems and issues by making decisions, creating laws, enforcing regulations and taking action.

Content Statements:
21. A variety of entities within the three branches of government, at all levels, address public policy issues which arise in domestic and international affairs.

22. Individuals and organizations play a role within federal, state and local governments in helping to determine public (domestic and foreign) policy.



Lesson 5: Policymaking in the Three Branches of Government introduces students to executive, legislative, and judicial policymaking and to policy evaluation. First, students discuss how policy can be made by each of the branches. Then they read about and discuss how the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance to suppress gang activity and how each branch of government was involved in the policy. Finally, students are introduced to a policy-analysis rubric (GRADE) and apply it to the Chicago gang ordinance.

Topic: Civic Involvement

Students can engage societal problems and participate in opportunities to contribute to the common good through governmental and nongovernmental channels.

Content Statements:
1. Opportunities for civic engagement with the structures of government are made possible through political and public policy processes.

Topic: Civic Participation and Skills
Democratic government is enhanced when individuals exercise the skills to effectively participate in civic affairs.

Content Statements:
3. Issues can be analyzed through the critical use of information from public records, surveys, research data and policy positions of advocacy groups.

Topic: Basic Principles of the U.S. Constitution
Principles related to representative democracy are reflected in the articles and amendments of the U.S. Constitution and provide structure for the government of the United States.

Content Statements:
5. As the supreme law of the land, the U.S. Constitution incorporates basic principles which help define the government of the United States as a federal republic including its structure, powers and relationship with the governed.

Topic: Structure and Functions of the Federal Government
Three branches compose the basic structure of the federal government. Public policy is created through the making of laws, the execution of the laws and the adjudication of disputes under the laws.

Content Statements:
14. Law and public policy are created and implemented by three branches of government; each functions with its own set of powers and responsibilities.

Topic: Public Policy
Federal, state and local governments address problems and issues by making decisions, creating laws, enforcing regulations and taking action.

Content Statements:
21. A variety of entities within the three branches of government, at all levels, address public policy issues which arise in domestic and international affairs.

22. Individuals and organizations play a role within federal, state and local governments in helping to determine public (domestic and foreign) policy.



Lesson 6: Analyzing Anti-Gang Policies provides students with practice in analyzing policy. First, as a whole group, they evaluate an anti-gang policy using GRADE. Then in small groups, they are given policies that address gang violence and they evaluate each.

Topic: Public Policy

Federal, state and local governments address problems and issues by making decisions, creating laws, enforcing regulations and taking action.

Content Statements:
21. A variety of entities within the three branches of government, at all levels, address public policy issues which arise in domestic and international affairs.

22. Individuals and organizations play a role within federal, state and local governments in helping to determine public (domestic and foreign) policy.



Lesson 7: Policymaking at the Local Level gets students to examine an instance of policymaking at a school board, one of the most common institutions at the local level. First, students read about and discuss a common local (and national) problem, the dropout rate. Then they role play subcommittees of a hypothetical school board, examine documents about the dropout problem, and craft a policy to address the dropout problem. Finally, they exchange policies with other groups and evaluate one another’s policies using the GRADE rubric.

Topic: Public Policy

Federal, state and local governments address problems and issues by making decisions, creating laws, enforcing regulations and taking action.

Content Statements:
21. A variety of entities within the three branches of government, at all levels, address public policy issues which arise in domestic and international affairs.

22. Individuals and organizations play a role within federal, state and local governments in helping to determine public (domestic and foreign) policy.


Lesson 8: Law & Policy informs students about how existing law can influence public policy and policymaking. First, students read about and discuss how existing law can influence public policy. Then in small groups, they role play members of a public policy law firm and decide whether a policy of evicting renters violates existing law and whether a new law is needed to protect renters.

Topic: Public Policy

Federal, state and local governments address problems and issues by making decisions, creating laws, enforcing regulations and taking action.

Content Statements:
21. A variety of entities within the three branches of government, at all levels, address public policy issues which arise in domestic and international affairs.

22. Individuals and organizations play a role within federal, state and local governments in helping to determine public (domestic and foreign) policy.


Lesson 9: Persuading introduces students to the art of persuasion. First, they read about and discuss the three types of persuasion: logos, ethos, and pathos. Then students prepare two-minute persuasive talks on why the issue that they have chosen to address in CAP is important. Finally, in pairs, students present and critique one another’s talks.

Topic: Civic Involvement
Students can engage societal problems and participate in opportunities to contribute to the common good through governmental and nongovernmental channels.

Content Statements:
1. Opportunities for civic engagement with the structures of government are made possible through political and public policy processes.


Topic: Civic Participation and Skills
Democratic government is enhanced when individuals exercise the skills to effectively participate in civic affairs.

Content Statements:
4. The processes of persuasion, compromise, consensus building and negotiation contribute to the resolution of conflicts and differences.


Lesson 10: Building Constituencies introduces students to the importance of building a constituency to support or oppose public policies. First, students read and discuss about how a historically significant movement gained support in the community. Then in small groups, students brainstorm how they can get support for their CAP issue.

Topic: Civic Involvement

Students can engage societal problems and participate in opportunities to contribute to the common good through governmental and nongovernmental channels.

Content Statements:
1. Opportunities for civic engagement with the structures of government are made possible through political and public policy processes.

2. Political parties, interest groups and the media provide opportunities for civic involvement through various means.

Topic: Civic Participation and Skills
Democratic government is enhanced when individuals exercise the skills to effectively participate in civic affairs.

Content Statements:
4. The processes of persuasion, compromise, consensus building and negotiation contribute to the resolution of conflicts and differences.

Topic: Role of the People
The government of the United States protects the freedoms of its people and provides opportunities for citizens to participate in the political process.

Content Statements:
17. Historically, the United States has struggled with majority rule and the extension of minority rights. As a result of this struggle, the government has increasingly extended civil rights to marginalized groups and broadened opportunities for participation.



Lesson 11: Setting the Public Agenda introduces students to the public agenda and its importance to policy. First, students read about and discuss the public agenda and ways that citizens can influence it. Then in small groups, students are given different situations and they develop strategic plans for getting their issues or solutions to issues on the public agenda.

Topic: Civic Involvement
Students can engage societal problems and participate in opportunities to contribute to the common good through governmental and nongovernmental channels.

Content Statements:
1. Opportunities for civic engagement with the structures of government are made possible through political and public policy processes.

Topic: Civic Participation and Skills
Democratic government is enhanced when individuals exercise the skills to effectively participate in civic affairs.

Content Statements:
3. Issues can be analyzed through the critical use of information from public records, surveys, research data and policy positions of advocacy groups.



Lesson 12: Using the Media helps students learn about the importance of the media in setting the public agenda. First, they read about and discuss how the media help set the public agenda and how citizens can influence the media and even create their own media to help change the public agenda. Then they develop a plan to do one action to use or affect the media. Finally, they begin to implement their plan. As homework, they complete their action.

Topic: Civic Involvement
Students can engage societal problems and participate in opportunities to contribute to the common good through governmental and nongovernmental channels.

Content Statements:
1. Opportunities for civic engagement with the structures of government are made possible through political and public policy processes.

2. Political parties, interest groups and the media provide opportunities for civic involvement through various means.



Lesson 13: Persuading Policymakers informs students that legislative and executive bodies often hold public hearing and how students can make effective presentations at these hearings. First, students read about public hearings and techniques for making presentations at these hearings. Then students role play a city council and people appearing before it attempting to persuade policymakers on hypothetical issues.

Topic: Civic Participation and Skills

Democratic government is enhanced when individuals exercise the skills to effectively participate in civic affairs.

Content Statements:
4. The processes of persuasion, compromise, consensus building and negotiation contribute to the resolution of conflicts and differences.



Lesson 14: Creating Change Through the Electoral Process
focuses on electoral politics and how it deeply influences policymaking. First, students read about and discuss the role that electoral politics plays in policymaking. Then in small groups, students role play campaign workers and create strategies to attract young people to participate in an election campaign.

Topic: Civic Participation and Skills
Democratic government is enhanced when individuals exercise the skills to effectively participate in civic affairs.

Content Statements:
3. Issues can be analyzed through the critical use of information from public records, surveys, research data and policy positions of advocacy groups.

4. The processes of persuasion, compromise, consensus building and negotiation contribute to the resolution of conflicts and differences.

Topic: Structure and Functions of the Federal Government
Three branches compose the basic structure of the federal government. Public policy is created through the making of laws, the execution of the laws and the adjudication of disputes under the laws.

Content Statements:
15. The political process creates a dynamic interaction among the three branches of government in addressing current issues.

Last modified: Monday, 29 June 2015, 2:41 PM