Amplifying youth voices.
Transforming Democracy.

action-civics-Toolbox

  • Here you can find outlines of complete Action Civics curriculum used by each NACC organization. It is helpful to note that while all curriculums follow a similar process, each organization has distinct foci. Click on links below to access overviews. For specific lessons and units see the next tab, “Action Civics Curriculum.”

    Organization Curriculum About Curriculum
    Earth Force  Earth Force Curriculum Overview This provides the complete overview of the Earth Force curriculum with the objectives for each lesson. Earth Force’s action civics curriculum is specifically tailored to guiding students through community action projects focused on enivornmental issues.
    Generation Citizen  Generation Citizen Curriculum Framework This is a two-page outline of the Generation Citizen semester-long Action Civics curriculum with descriptions of each lesson.
    Mikva Challenge (Issues-to-Action Program) Mikva Challenge Issues to Action Six-Steps Curriculum Overview This one-pager lists the lessons in Mikva Challenge’s semester long classroom-based community activism program.
    University Community Collaborative (POWER program) UCC POWER Curriculum OverviewPDF This provides an overview of the youth activism and media curriculum used by UCC for their POWER progam. It has a special emphasis on media creation and youth empowerment. There is a comprehensive rubric for key outcomes for youth leaders.
    Youth on Board How to Make a Youth Governance Project Happen  This packet walks through the six essential steps for making a student-led project happen. Specifically, Youth on Board does most of its work through the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC). Their steps are thus most applicable to a youth governance group.

  • Here, you can find example lessons and units to implement action civics in your classroom or organization. This does not represent a complete Action Civics curriculum, but rather some key tools. For more complete curricula, see each organization’s websites. Click on links below to download tools.

    Action Civics Topic

    Lesson/Tool

    About Lesson/Tool

    Created By…

    Launching Project  Earth Force Launch This is the initial lesson Earth Force uses to intoduce the 6-step action project process and develop a sense of a student’s role as an environmental citizen. Earth Force
    Launching Project Introduction to Civic Action Students will consider how government affects their daily lives and begin to think about how and when they can affect government, and why they should consider doing so. An opening “rank order” small group activity will then segue into a brief overview of the “advocacy hourglass,” a process for making change that they will learn through taking action on an issue they care about during this course. Generation Citizen
    Examine Community Asset Mapping Our Communities Multi-day lesson in which students learn about and map the assets in their communities. Mikva Challenge
    Choosing an Issue Root Causes This is a foundational lesson that guides students through the process of examining the deeper root causes of the issues they care about. It leads students toward more specific and actionable solutions. Mikva Challenge
    Choosing an Issue How to Choose an Issue Worksheet (word)

    PDF

    This chart should be used to generate discussion among the members of your Group. It should help you decide which issue you could win, and what issue you may lose, but are willing to take on because the little wins would be very effective. Youth on Board
    Choosing an Issue and Research Project Soapbox Public Speaking Unit This is a five-lesson unit on public speaking. Students learn about speech writing and delivery and create personal speeches on topics they most care about. The unit culminates in a class-wide speech competition. Mikva Challenge
    Research Developing Research Questions Students will construct a set of questions about their issue that will guide their research. They then narrow down that list into a focused research question. Earth Force
    Research Survey Your Community This is a four-day lesson to guide students through how to create and implement a quality survey to research their top issue in their community. Mikva Challenge
    Strategizing Developing a Course of Action

    Strategy Selection Grid

    Students work through the best strategy to make change on their issue, by defining a course of action, setting a clear goal, and evaluating the best strategy. Earth Force
    Taking Action Process Planning checklist This is an organizational tool to help a group of students keep track of all the steps in the action civics process so that collective action can be achieved Youth on Board
    Take Action-Media production Producing a Public Service Announcement (PSA)PDF This is a how-to guide with examples and worksheets for students to create a Public Service Announcement (PSA). University Community Collaborative
    Pedagogical Practice Stand and Declare Stand and Declare is a great strategy to use when introducing a new topic to get students to reflect on their own point of view about an issue and listen to the points of view of others. It is also a good activity to have students practice persuasive speaking. Mikva Challenge
    Pedagogical Practice Including Youth in Decision-Making  This is a packet of useful strategies to ensure that young people are equitably included in decision-making efforts and to assess your own adultism to improve practice. These are particularly relevant to youth governance efforts.  Youth on Board
           
           
           

    For more curriculum…

  • The field of civics evaluation is still very much in formation. Here are two research reports on civics assessment and three sample evaluation tools created from an analysis of current NACC assessment tools. Click on the links below to download tools.

    Tool About Tool
    Standard Action Civics Student Post-Survey This is a survey developed from current NACC organization student evaluation tools. It is used to track the growth of students who participate in Action Civics programs.
    Standard Action Civics Presentation Rubric This rubric can be used to evaluate student presentations of Action Civics projects. Versions of this rubric are used by NACC organizations at year-end “civics fair” events.
    Community Tracking Sheet Template This tool can be used to keep track of the community-level impacts students make when engaging in Action Civics projects.
    Civic Measurement Models: Tapping Adolescents’ Civic Engagement (Flanagan et al., 2007) This is a CIRCLE working paper with validated evaluation measures for various civic education areas.
    Building an Evidence-Based Practice of Action Civics: The current state of assessment and recommendations for the future (Gingold, 2013) This is a CIRCLE working paper that reviews current NACC evaluation strategies and makes recommendations for future Action Civics evaluation.

  • Action Civics curricula are heavily skills based (critical thinking, communication, creative problem-solving, collaboration), and we are encouraged that Common Core provides recognition of the importance of building student skills in what is traditionally thought of as a heavily content-based civics class. We are especially encouraged by the Common Core’s recognition of skills such as collaboration, communication using diverse formats and media, and evaluating arguments.

    Action Civics curricula are particularly a good fit with the Common Core standards around:

    • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
    • Persuasive communication
    • Using evidence to support claims
    • Analysis of topics using reasoning
    • Research to build and present knowledge