Knowing the Ropes

9, 10, 11, 12

Students will become familiar with the Core Democratic Values that are the fundamental beliefs and constitutional principles of American society which unite all Americans.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo or Three Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learners will:

  • describe how each student’s knowledge of citizenship reflects the Core Democratic Values.
  • give three examples of how Core Democratic Values are the basic fundamental beliefs that unite all Americans.
  • graphically interpret each Core Democratic Value.
  • List of Core Democratic Values (Handout One) Spanish version Handout Two
  • Citizenship notebook for each student (spiral bound binder)
  • Magazines and scissors
  • Classroom bulletin board titled, Core Democratic Values
  • Boyers, Sara Jane. Teen Power Politics: Make Yourself Heard. Brookfield, Conn.: Twenty-First Century Books, September 2000. ISBN: 0761313915
  • Macomb Intermediate School District: Definitions of core democratic values
  • MIEPIC – Core Democratic Values Modules


  1. Anticipatory Set:Begin the unit by reading the following quote:“ ... I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.”

  2. Distribute a word list of Core Democratic Values to each student (Attachment One). As the teacher explains the Core Democratic Values, have students draw a picture of what they think Core Democratic Values mean to them in their Citizenship notebook.

  3. Ask students to volunteer to explain and share their pictures with the class.

  4. Each student will be responsible for finding three pictures in magazines that represent three different Core Democratic Values. Using a stapler, each student will hang his/her pictures on a classroom bulletin board titled, “Core Democratic Values.”


Students will be evaluated on the three pictures that represent three different Core Democratic Values. The students will write a paragraph in their Citizenship notebooks summarizing what the Core Democratic Values mean to them.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Explain and give examples of how a democratic constitution requires and protects philanthropic behavior as a democratic principle.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Identify the relationship between individual rights and community responsibilities.