Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan Title: For the sake of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness....  Locke and other European Influences on the U.S. Government.
Developed by: Karla Roth, Northern State University, Aberdeen, South Dakota
Subject Area: Government; Civics
Topic: John Locke and other European Influences on the Constitution
Grade Level: 11th or 12th Grades
Time Frame: One class block, about 75 minutes
Lesson Summary:

٭  Students will gain insight into how European political institutions and the ideas of John Locke affected the mindset of our Founding Fathers when writing the Constitution of the United States.

٭Students will learn basic information about how Great Britain when from being an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy.

٭Students will participate in role-play activity where they will try to reenact Locke's theory of individuals coming together to create a body of government for the sake of safety.  Students will also discuss what freedom these individuals gave up to become part of the society ruled by this theoretical government        

Prerequisites: Students will need to have read the assigned materials for class.  Through reading materials students will have been introduced to John Locke's theory.
Standards: 9-12 Government Standards

1.  Critique the influence of European political thought on the formation of the United States constitutional system.

2.  Identify fundamental political principles contained in documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Bill of Rights, and the United States Constitution.

Government and Civics Indicator

The goal of civics instruction is to develop in all students the knowledge and skills for informed, responsible participation in public life. Instruction will provide an understanding of politics and government and the skills of good citizenship. Students will develop an understanding of the values and principles of American constitutional democracy.

Office of Curriculum, Technology and Assessment


Lesson Objectives: Students Will Learn...

٭ Basic knowledge of how England gradually went from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy and the difference between the two bodies of government through lecture [Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence]

٭What it might be like if there was/when there was no government through role playing the situation (see Procedural Activities)  

٭Why John Locke might have felt that government was created by a group of individuals coming together for the sake of life, liberty and the sake of property through discussion of the role-play activity in groups and as a class.  [Interpersonal  Intelligence]

٭By the means of discussion; students will theorize why they think a constitutional system and John Locke's theory may have appealed to to our Founding Fathers.  Students will come to their own conclusion as to why Locke's idea was changed to the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the American Constitution.  [Interpersonal Intelligence]

٭Basic background information on John Locke and his The Second Treatise of Civil Government through lecture.  [Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence]

٭By writing a reflection about the class period in their journals, students will be able to summarize how political institutions of Europe and John Locke's ideas affected the United States Constitution.  [Intrapersonal Intelligence]

Assessment: Rubric (see attachment)
Technology to be Used: An Overhead Projector.
Other Materials: Pre-typed slips of paper, a box to draw from and a few props such as fake money, food, etc.
Procedural Activities: 1.  Lecture on how England went from being an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy and how the two are different.  [Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence]

2.  Reenact Locke's vision of the creation of government.  [Body-Kinesthetic Intelligence]

     A.  Students will be instructed that this is merely role play and they are not to actually hurt one another physically or emotionally. 

     B.  Students will each draw a piece of paper on which there will be a       description of how they should act and what they want to push for.  For example, some students will be told that they are scared of people beating them up and stealing their property.  These students will play the part of someone who is  afraid of everyone around him/her.  One student will be told that they are big and they can and do bully people into giving them whatever they want.  The rest of the students will be told that they are afraid of the bully and each other, but can bully each other around.  There will be four or five students out of the whole whose role assignment will also include wishing to protect themselves and their property by suggesting they enter into an agreement as to where they give up the right to go after a "thief" and assign  punishment on their own in exchange for having the right to go after the person as a group.

3.  Students will discuss how they felt as they transitioned from anarchy to a forming a governmental body.  What did they gain from the government and what did they give up in return.  Was it worth it?  [Interpersonal Intelligence]

4.  Students will discuss why our Constitution says "for the sake of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."  [Interpersonal Intelligence]

5.  Through lecture, wrap up the ideas covered in class.   [Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence]

6.  Students will write in their journals a reflection about how they feel Europe influenced our Constitution.   [Intrapersonal Intelligence]

Attachments: Rubric