×

Legal Reference Library

Sometimes the textbook definition isn’t enough! Our collection of Legal Reference Sheets provides students with a deep understanding of important laws, rights, and legal concepts in a flash. Part-infographic, part-written text, these mini-lessons consist of a one-page reading and a page of activities to reinforce the concepts learned. The lessons can be used individually, or as a complement to another lesson or case from the Landmark Library.

Choose Grade Level:

  • Lesson Plan

    Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Students examine the key voting rights protected by this landmark civil rights law. This mini-lesson also provides an overview of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law in the case, Shelby County v. Holder (2015). Students analyze how the Act has affected voter behavior and provide a written reflection on the Shelby County v. Holder case.How to use this lesson: Use this lesson by itself or pair it with more iCivics resources, like The Road to Civil Rights, Voting Rights, or Voting: Will You Do It? For more suggestions, see the downloadable teacher resources below.
  • Lesson Plan

    USA PATRIOT Act of 2001

    The events of 9/11 changed the government’s approach to fighting terrorism. In this mini-lesson, students gain an overview of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 and how it changed the way government security agencies function. After analyzing the Act’s impact on terrorism, students consider the government’s dual role to protect people and individual rights.How to use this lesson: Use this lesson by itself or pair it with more iCivics resources, like the Supreme Court case Clapper v. Amnesty (2013) or You’ve Got Rights!. For more suggestions, see the downloadable teacher resources below.
  • Lesson Plan

    Separate and Sovereign

    The relationship between Native nations and the U.S. federal government is important to understand. This mini-lesson provides an overview of tribal sovereignty from the past to the present. It also introduces students to the controversy surrounding the federal approval of construction projects that affect tribal land.How to use this lesson: Use this lesson by itself or pair it with more iCivics resources, like the Supreme Court case Lyng v. Northwest Cemetery Protective Association (1988) or our Tribal Government lesson. For more suggestions, see the downloadable teacher resources below.
  • Lesson Plan

    Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Meet the superhero legislation of civil rights. Students are introduced to eleven categories of civil rights protections with a focus on Title VII, which bans discrimination in the workplace. Students gain an understanding of how the Civil Rights Act affects people’s lives and apply civil rights protections to real-life scenarios.How to use this lesson: Use this lesson by itself or pair it with more iCivics resources, like the Supreme Court case EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch (2015) or lessons from our Civil Rights unit. For more suggestions, see the downloadable teacher resources below.
  • Lesson Plan

    Equal Protection Clause

    Learn about one of the hardest working passages in the U.S. Constitution: the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. Students learn why the clause was created and discover how it has been used to expand civil rights. After, students analyze how the extension of equal protection rights has changed American society.How to use this lesson: Use this lesson by itself or pair it with more iCivics resources, like the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and a variety of lessons from our Landmark Library. For suggestions, see the downloadable teacher resources below.
  • Lesson Plan

    The Citizenship Clause

    The 14th Amendment defined natural born citizenship for the nation. Over a century later, the clause is still making news. This mini-lesson examines the 14th Amendment’s Citizenship Clause, explains why it was created, and introduces students to questions raised in political debate around birthright citizenship.How to use this lesson: Use this lesson by itself or pair it with more iCivics resources, like the Supreme Court cases Elk v. Wilkins (1884) or our lesson Citizenship: Just the Facts. For more suggestions, see the downloadable teacher resources below.
  • Lesson Plan

    Religion and the First Amendment

    The First Amendment includes a two-for-one deal in its protection of religious freedom. This mini-lesson explains the difference between the Establishment and the Free Exercise clauses. Students practice applying the clauses to scenarios and take on the role of judge to evaluate if the Establishment clause applies. How to use this lesson: Use this lesson by itself or pair it with more iCivics resources, like the Supreme Court cases Minersville v. Gobitas (1940) or our game Do I Have a Right? For more suggestions, see the downloadable teacher resources below.
  • Lesson Plan

    Speech and the First Amendment

    What does the right to free speech actually mean? Students examine the types of speech the Supreme Court has interpreted as protected by the First Amendment, and those that have not. This mini-lesson also explores issues raised by the defamatory speech of students online, and the power of public schools to discipline for it.How to use this lesson: Use this lesson by itself or pair it with more iCivics resources, like First Amendment cases from our Landmark Library or our lesson Stipulating Speech. For more suggestions, see the downloadable teacher resources below.