Grade 11, 12 Discrimination

West Haven Public Schools

Unit Planning Organizer

Subject: Issues in Government                          

Grade: 11 and 12

Unit: Discrimination                                           

Pacing: 1st MP (3+ weeks)

Essential Question(s):                                                        

1.  How has our government addressed the issue of discrimination in the past?

2.  Who is affected by discrimination and how?

3.  How do individual states deal with discriminatory issues today?

4.  Is affirmative action helpful or hurtful to American colleges and universities and the workplace?

Big Idea(s):

1.  Changes to the U.S. Constitution and several Supreme Court decisions have addressed the issue of discrimination in American.

2.  Discrimination affects many diverse groups.

3.  States have the authority to examine and address issues of discrimination (ex gay marriage).

4.  Student opinion.


CT State Standards (includes West Haven’s “Priority” GLES’s in BOLD and “Supporting” Standards)

1.9.3  Analyze historical and contemporary examples of the need to ensure human rights at both the national and international levels                   

1.1.2  Trace the evolving nature of citizen’s rights                                  

1.1.9  Assess the significance of the evolving heterogeneity of American society

1.8.3  Analyze the relationship between law enforcement and personal behavior

1.1.12           Evaluate the role and impact of the individual on historical events

1.1.6 Compare and contrast various American beliefs, values and political ideologies

1.1.11   Analyze how the arts, architecture, music and literature of the United States reflect its history and the heterogeneity of its culture

2.1.1  Find relevant information to answer a history/social studies question

2.4.1  Use relevant evidence to prepare a formal oral argument to defend a point of view.

2.5.1  Create relevant visual social studies materials to support an essay or oral presentation

“Uwrapped” Concepts and Skills, and Bloom Levels (BL)

Concepts(Need to Know)

Skills(Able to Do)



Civil rights



Affirmative action












Analyze significant Supreme Court decisions and laws that deal with discrimination an equality


Trace changes in the Constitution and Bill of Rights that deal with the rights of specific groups of Americans


Assess the significance of changes to laws (federal and state) dealing with homosexuals


Analyze how racial profiling can have an impact on different groups in the United States.


Evaluate the role that Bakke, Gratz and Grutter played in changing laws regarding affirmative action policies in college admissions.














Common Formative Pre- Assessment (Followed by Data Team Analysis):

* see attached


“Dipsticks” (Informal Progress Monitoring Checks):

·        “quick quiz” on Amendments, terms and historical laws

·        essay on affirmative action  cases

·        debate on gay marriage


Common Formative Post- Assessment (Followed by Data Team Analysis):

*see attached

Instructional Planning

Suggested Resources/Materials:

·        American Government text Chapter 21

·        “The Laramie Project” lessons and movie

·        Article “A Dream Deferred” (Brown v. Board of Ed, 2004)

·        Political cartoon analysis

·        “Eye of the Storm” video and questions

·        Article “Race Matters” with questions

·        Pro/Con reading: “Should Affirmative Action Be Abolished?”

·        Current articles on racial profiling (post 9/11)

·        Current articles on affirmative action


Suggested Research-based Effective Instructional Strategies:

·        Photo essay on discrimination on America (“Then and Now”)

·        Debate affirmative action

·        Affirmative action admission activity

·        Map gay rights laws in U.S and globally

·        Essay on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy


Vocabulary/Word Wall


Interdisciplinary Connections

Civil Rights Act 1964

Civil Rights Act 1968

Plessy v. Ferguson

Brown v. Board of Education

Korematsu v. US



13th Amendment

14th Amendment

15th Amendment

19th Amendment

26th Amendment

gay rights

civil union

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Hate crime

Racial profiling (Post 9/11)

Police brutality

Rodney King

LA riots 1992 and Watts Riots 1968

Regents of CA v. Bakke, 1978

Grutter v. Bollinger, 2001

Gratz v. Bollinger, 2000

University of Michigan


Research CT colleges admission policies and report

Research high school GSA programs and report

Read: Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama (write a book report with analysis)

Read Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin (above assignment)

Read: Prayers For Bobby: A Mother’s Coming to Terms with the Suicide of her Gay Son, Leroy Aarons (above assignment)