Grade 5

Government and Human Rights in the United States

In this course, 5th grade students study the founding of our government and consider the role of individuals and groups in obtaining and maintaining liberty and equality in our democracy. They begin by exploring the Iroquois Confederacy and its constitution, and then engage in a close study of the Declaration of Independence (1776). They explore the values espoused by the writers of the Declaration: liberty and equality. They examine the Constitution (1787), including the Bill of Rights (1791), to understand how our government works and how rights and responsibilities are the foundation of our society. In later units, students explore examples of groups and individuals who have worked to obtain the promises of liberty and equality. To do this, they consider the institution of enslavement and the abolition movement, the women’s suffrage movement, and indigenous nations and their fight for sovereignty. At the end of the course, they engage in a study of the civil rights movement and other struggles for human rights that it inspired.
Units of Study Year-long Essential Questions

Our Government

  • Declaration of Independence
  • U.S. Constitution
  • Bill of Rights
  • How can individuals and groups resolve conflicts?
  • What rights should all people have?
  • How do people, both individually and in groups, bring about change in their world?

Expanding Liberty, 1776-1924

  • Enslavement, Abolition and the Civil War
  • Women’s Rights & the 19th Amendment
  • Indigenous Rights and Sovereignty

Civil and Human Rights Movements, 1954- present

  • African American Civil Rights Movement
  • Black Power
  • Women’s Rights Movement
  • LGBTQ Rights Movement
  • Disability Rights Movement
  • Native American Rights Movement
  • Student Activism and the Ethnic Studies Movement
  • United Farm Workers Movement

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