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Landmark Library

This library of mini-lessons targets a variety of landmark cases from the United States Supreme Court. Each mini-lesson includes a one-page reading and a one-page activity, and is appropriate for a variety of uses. Unlike the iCivics lesson plans, these mini-lessons are designed for students to complete independently without the need for teacher direction. However, they also make great teacher-directed lessons or even class conversation-starters, and multiple mini-lessons can be combined to make a longer lesson. 

Choose Grade Level:

  • Lesson Plan

    United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898)

    This mini-lesson explores the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the 14th Amendment’s Citizenship Clause. Students learn about the difference between jus sanguinis and jus soli citizenship. They also learn about the Chinese Exclusion Act, analyze a historical political cartoon, and review the contents of the U.S. Naturalization Oath.
  • Lesson Plan

    United States v. Virginia (1996)

    This mini-lesson covers the basics of the Supreme Court’s decision that found the Virginia Military Institute’s male-only admission policy discriminated against women. Students learn about the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and analyze what an “equal education” means to them.
  • Lesson Plan

    PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin (2001)

    This mini-lesson explores the Supreme Court’s decision that required the Professional Golf Association to accommodate competitors with disabilities in its tournaments. Students learn about the Americans with Disabilities Act, the modifications it requires of public places, and how those modifications affect people’s lives.
  • Lesson Plan

    Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)

    This mini-lesson covers the basics of the Supreme Court’s decision that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples. Students learn about the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses, and how the Court’s interpretation of them reinforced that marriage is a fundamental right.
  • Lesson Plan

    Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective…

    This mini-lesson examines the Supreme Court case that pitted the interests of government economic projects against the religious rights of American Indians. Students learn about the religious protections of the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause. They also analyze a fictional scenario and play the role of president in deciding whose interests should have priority.
  • Lesson Plan

    Loving v. Virginia (1967)

    This mini-lesson covers the basics of the Supreme Court’s decision that struck down state bans on interracial marriage. Students learn about the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, and its use in court cases to challenge a range of discriminatory laws.
  • Lesson Plan

    Lau v. Nichols (1974)

    This mini-lesson covers the basics of the Supreme Court’s decision that required public schools to provide language supports to English and multilingual learners (ELs/MLs). Students learn how Lau’s arguments relate to the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education (1954), and how the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects public school students from discrimination.
  • Lesson Plan

    Elk v. Wilkins (1884)

    This mini-lesson examines the Supreme Court’s ruling that the 14th Amendment’s Citizenship Clause did not apply to American Indians born on Native reservations. Students analyze a primary document and discover how the lack of citizenship affected the lives and cultures of Native Americans.
  • Lesson Plan

    EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch (2015)

    This mini-lesson explores the Supreme Court’s decision regarding a company’s discrimination against a Muslim woman during the hiring process. Students learn how Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination, and then they identify religious discrimination in multiple workplace scenarios.
  • Lesson Plan

    Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)

    This mini-lesson covers the basics of the Supreme Court decision that determined Dred Scott, having lived in a free territory, was not entitled to his freedom. Students learn about the impact of the Court’s decision, and how it was a stepping-stone to the Civil War. Students also examine the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments which overturned the decision, and the black codes that were passed in some states.