Close Up's FREE Educational Resources


Close Up’s educational resources help students and teachers investigate current events, research pressing issues using reliable sources, and develop real-world skills for effective community engagement. Below, you’ll find a sampling of our balanced current issue discussions, in-depth policy units, ready-to-use lesson plans, and weekly blog posts—all for free. Please click on the boxes below to learn more about all the different types of resources available.

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Found 144 Results
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Impeachment Issue Discussion

Impeachment: A Primer

Issue Discussion | October 28, 2019

Develop an understanding of the impeachment process as laid out in the Constitution. Learn the key terms, phrases, and historical context to provide a foundation for impeachment proceedings.

The Harkness Model

Using the Harkness Method to Teach the News

Post | October 24, 2019

A Brief Introduction to The Harkness Method1 The Harkness method is a type of student discussion created at the Phillips Exeter Academy in 1930. At the time, most methods of education involved teacher-led lectures and rote memorization. But a wealthy philanthropist, Edward Harkness, promised a financial contribution of over $5 million (or almost $90 million […]

U.S. soldier facing ISIS fighters in Syria

President Trump Seeks to Further Reduce U.S. Military Presence in Syria

Post | October 18, 2019

On October 6, 2019, President Trump made the surprising announcement that he would pull out most of the 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria, where the United States has been working with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), al-Qaeda, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and to […]

President Donald J Trump speaks to reporters with microphones

Understanding the Current Impeachment Inquiry

Post | October 15, 2019

In late September 2019, it was revealed that an officer at the Central Intelligence Agency filed an official complaint with the intelligence community’s inspector general, alleging that President Trump had engaged in an inappropriate phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky on July 25. The whistleblower alleged that President Trump threatened to withhold approximately $400 million […]

President Donald J. Trump

Eliminate Illegal Immigration; Make Immigration Work for the Economy

Post | October 9, 2019

Immigration policy and enforcement continues to be a major area of conflict between Democrats and Republicans. Currently, Congress is considering many bills related to immigration, asylum, migrant detention, and family separation. This week, we will look at two proposals that Republicans are advancing; two weeks ago, we examined two bills that Democrats are advancing. Republicans […]

The Global Climate Strike

Post | September 25, 2019

To help students explore the climate change debate, please see our resource on climate change policy here. Over one million workers, students, and others engaged in the global climate strike on Friday, September 20, in an effort to call for more significant action to combat climate change.1 This was the third in a series of […]

The Parkland School Shooting

Issue Discussion |

Examine five proposals to make schools safer and reduce gun violence, and determine how enforceable, just, and effective each proposal may be. Discuss which proposals you would favor, change, or reject, and suggest other proposals for enhancing school safety. 

60 minutes of deliberation

60 Minutes of Deliberation

Lesson Plan | September 20, 2019

Expand the critical thinking and communication skills that students need for productive deliberation. Focus on a selected issue, review background information and pro/con arguments, help students listen respectfully to their peers, and watch them try to persuade others.

Understanding Values and Tensions

Understanding Values and Tensions

Lesson Plan |

Introduce students to political values, and help them explore why different values are frequently in tension in political debates. Through interactive scenarios, facilitated discussion, and reflection, students will identify and understand the tensions in our political system. 

Teaching Controversial Issues

Teaching Controversial Issues

Lesson Plan |

Learn how to integrate controversial issues into the classroom, and how to make the classroom community more comfortable with these discussions. Students will learn how to hold productive discussions about challenging issues, and come to understand the value of different perspectives. 

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