Group Newspaper-American System of Government

Group Newspaper-American System of Government

Course(s)/Subject(s):Civics 8/8GT

Grade Level(s): 8

Key Words:

civics, technology, Internet, democratic government, Magna Carta, Glorious

Revolution, House of Burgesses, Mayflower Compact

Developer(s) Name: Michael Magathan

School: Lake Braddock Secondary School

Approximate Time Frame:3 & 1/295 minute block periods

Materials/Equipment Needed:computer lab

Description of Lesson (includes context):Working in groups of 4, students will design, research, and create a "newspaper" that effectively explains the who, what, when, where and why of four historical events that in some way have influenced the American system of government.


  1. What is the objective of this lesson?

Students will have a more detailedunderstanding of four historical events and the
importance they had in the shaping of our democracy.

FCPS POS Standards
8.1Students will identify and understand the rights and responsibilities of citizens of
the United States.


Students will conduct inquires and research to demonstrate knowledge and

understanding of civics, economics, and geography.

FCPS POS Benchmarks
8.1.1Students will be able to explain the meaning of American citizenship and analyze
issues involving the rights of citizens of the united States

8.5.1Students will be able to acquire information from a variety of sources.

8.5.3Students will be able to analyze information.

8.5.4Students will be able to interpret information.

8.5.5Students will be able to communicate in a variety of written forms.

8.5.7Students will be able to communicate using technologies.

FCPS POS Indicators

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8.1.1.bIdentify the founding documents and the fundamental principles of our
democratic republic including constitutionalism and limited government, rule of
law, democracy and republicanism, individual worth and dignity, sovereignty,
consent of the governed, and majority rule and minority rights.

8.5.1.aGather information from written, oral, and visual sources.

8.5.1.bUse search strategies to access and retrieve electronic information.

8.5.3.bDistinguish between relevant and irrelevant information.

8.5.3.dParaphrase information.

8.5.3.eSummarize information from multiple sources.

8.5.4.bDetermine cause and effect relationships.

8.5.4.eDetermine the accuracy and reliability of sources.


Communicate through products such as letters, visuals, maps, newspaper

articles, research papers, learning logs, and reaction papers.

8.5.7.aUse application software and word processing skills to create a document.


Students will demonstrate conduct that complements the dynamics of a variety of

groups and situations.


Participate effectively in a group by working with others to set goals, delegate

responsibilities, and complete the task cooperatively.

VA SOL(s) (including Computer/Technology):

7.1,CT 8.4.1, 8.4.2, 8.4.3,


8.4.5, CT 8.1.1,

8.1.4, 8.1.5


  1. What will we examine as evidence of students' knowledge and/or skill?

Product(s):A newspaper that accurately details four historical events that helped shape
the American system of government.

Performance(s):-group interaction
-distribution of workload
-effective use of class and lab time
-depth of research
-accuracy of information
-effectiveness of layout
-effectiveness of visuals
-overall presentation and effectiveness
-following of directions

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  1. What exactly will the students and teacher do during the lesson?


Directions to students for proceeding with the lesson:

  1. Assignment Title: The Roots of American Government...In The News
  2. You have read about several historical events that helped shape the type of government
    we have in the United States today. They include the Magna Carta, The Glorious
    Revolution, the formation of The House of Burgesses and The Mayflower Compact.
  3. Your task is to write four (4) newspaper articles, complete with headline, that gives the
    reader the who, what, when, where and why (both why it happened and why it is
    important) of the before mentioned historical events. The article can be from the point
    of view of someone living at the time the event took place or of that of a person living
    today who is looking back to that time. The name/s of the reporter/s (byline) should be
    at the top of each article.
  4. You will work in a group of up to 4 people in your class (remember this is a
    group your partners with this in mind).
  5. You will be given 2 blocksin the computer lab to conduct research on the
    Internet and the electronic encyclopedia, to create visual, and to use the
    computer to create the final product... some class time will be given before,
    and sandwiched in between lab sessions, for the purposeof group
    brainstorming, layout planning & proofreading (your teacher will indicate
    how much class time will be allotted for this).
  6. The work mustbe divided evenly.
  7. Use an actual newspaper to help you lay out your paper.
  8. Your newspaper must have a masthead (The Bruin Post).
  9. Your newspaper must have at least two visuals related to the articles ( illustrations,
    photo, downloaded visual) that in some way involved using the computer or
    scanner...The visuals must have captions.
  10. The names of all editors (partners) should be in the bottom right-hand corner
    with period number.
  11. Be creative...have fun.
  12. Be neat
  13. Have your articles proofread...spelling, grammar & punctuation will be a factor
    when determining your grade.
  14. Check the rubric to see the standards on which your work will be evaluated.
  15. The due date is ___________________.
  16. This is a level 3 assignment.(30 points)

Special Directions to teacher/administrator using the lesson?

  1. Plan for a 1/2to 3/4 blockto introduce the assignment and to allowstudents to form
    groups and make some initial group decisions such as dividing up tasks, naming the
    paper, etc.,then plan another 1/2 block day to allow students to process information,
    lay out the paper and coordinate with one another.
  2. Book the computer lab so that you have at least one student workday sandwiched in
    between lab sessions.
  3. You may want to coordinate with the LD and/or ESL teachers.
  4. It might be advisable to make arrangements for students to work after school in the lab
    to complete any parts of the assignment they could not complete during the provided

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  1. It is advisable to conduct some research yourself to find sights that might assist the
    students in speeding up their research.
  2. Require students to provide you with websites or hard copies of the information found
    on the Internet.


  1. What options in presentation(s) and/or response(s) are suggested in order to provide the opportunity for all students to demonstrate achievement of the benchmark(s) and indicator(s)?

Work closely with your ESL and LD resource people. I found their assistance to be
extremely helpful.

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