Tag: Project Based Learning

Project based learning is an essential component of good civics education for a number of reasons.

First, projects are a great way for students to actually practice being good citizens. They can develop policy solutions, research problems, and interview public officials. They can research candidates and make informed decisions. These are opportunities to learn by doing and become prepared to be engaged citizens after graduation.

Second, project based learning helps make learning more authentic. After students learn about the nuts and bolts of politics, these opportunities to put them into practice show them why things matter. Understanding the legislative process is one thing, but watching a resolution wind its way through the city council makes it come to life.

Finally, tackling problems in this way helps build up a student’s political efficacy – their feeling that they can actually have an impact on their community. It doesn’t matter what students learn about the government if they don’t think that their actions or their vote matters, so it’s important to build up that sense of efficacy.

Weekly News Roundup

This Week in Civics: Civics in Action, Youth Voting, and the Russians

Picture of the Jefferson Memorial at night from across the Potomac.

Here’s a quick round-up of news articles and columns from around the country this week related to civics education. One article focuses on civics in action through project based learning in Florida. Another focuses on a push to lower the voting age in New York. And a third suggests that our failure to focus on […]


How to Use Solutions Civics to Teach Municipal Government

Picture of a building with the words "City Hall"

Good civics education gives students an opportunity to apply what they learn and practice being engaged citizens. This often involves some form of project based learning. Solutions Civics is another option that you can use to help structure and facilitate this process. It’s a series of lessons and resources developed by the Citizens Campaign. The […]


Free Workshop on Solutions Civics Curriculum at the NJEA Convention

Teachers learning together at a session during the NJEA Convention

On Friday, November 10, I’ll be facilitating a professional development workshop on C-SPAN’s Classroom Deliberations at the NJEA Convention. But that won’t be the only presentation in Atlantic City that should appeal to civic educators. The Citizen’s Campaign is a non profit in New Jersey whose mission is to empower citizens to take a greater […]


How Illinois Revised Its Civics Ed Requirements

Throughout the country, legislators are struggling to figure out how to improve civics education. Many people agree on the goal. They just don’t agree on the methods. In some cases, legislators have pursued misguided attempts to implement the citizenship test as a graduation requirement. This won’t do much, other than adding another barrier to graduation […]


What Is Project Citizen and How Does It Relate to Civics?

Picture of the cover of the Project Citizen brochure

Project Citizen is a┬áproject-based learning program created by the Center for Civic Education. It teaches students about public policy. It does so by leading them through the process of researching a problem and developing a proposal for the government to address that problem. The program is based on a textbook developed by the Center for […]


What Is the StudentCam Competition and How Does It Relate to Civics?

Close up of a student looking down at a video camera while filming.

StudentCam is an annual competition hosted by C-SPAN for middle and high school students. C-SPAN sets a theme for each year’s contest, and students create a 5-7 minute video related to that theme. In the process, students must navigate the C-SPAN video archive and demonstrate a deep understanding of concepts in civics and government. This […]


What Is Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) and How Does It Relate to Civics?

A student is speaking into a microphone sharing her research, while two other students stand in the background waiting for their turn to speak.

Youth Participatory Action Research is a way to engage students in investigating an issue of concern that they see in their community. Once they’ve done their research, the students then work on a plan to tackle that issue and make their community better. I first encountered Youth Participatory Action Research – or YPAR – when […]