Free Classroom Resources

Close Up’s resources help students and teachers investigate current events, research pressing issues using reliable sources, and develop real-world skills for community engagement.

STUDENT RESOURCES

Climate Change

 

How, if at all, should the United States work to combat climate change?

Evaluate six proposals that the United States could incorporate into its energy and environmental policies. Consider the pros and cons of each proposal and which options you would be most likely to support.

 

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Parkland School Shooting

 

Which policy options should lawmakers consider to try and prevent school shootings in the future?

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.

 

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Immigration

 

How should the government reform its immigration system?

Consider six proposals for reforming the immigration system, and identify the advantages and drawbacks of each. Discuss which proposals you would support or oppose, and suggest other ideas for addressing the issue.

 

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The Opioid Crisis

 

Should the federal government do more to combat the opioid crisis?

Explore the background of the opioid crisis, examine actions promised by the Trump administration, and weigh the pros and cons of the paths forward. Consider which level of government should be responsible for combating the opioid crisis, and outline your own policy prescription.

 

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U.S. Government – Structure, Principles, and Tensions

 

Examine the structure of the federal government, explore long-standing tensions that exist within the Constitution, and gain a basis for understanding major political and policy debates.

 

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Health Care – Key Principles and Tensions

 

Should Congress repeal Obamacare?

Should the government require employers to provide contraceptive coverage for their workers?

Gain an understanding of why health care is one of the most controversial issues in the United States. Consider several enduring tensions in health care policy, and learn about the programs and laws that have been proposed throughout history and those that still exist today.

 

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Foreign Policy – Key Principles and Practices

 

Should the United States downsize its role in global affairs?

Examine the principles and practices that shape the United States’ strategies when dealing with other countries. Consider the nation’s role in global affairs, and whether or not that level of involvement should change.

 

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LESSON PLANS

 

 

Teaching Controversial Issues

 

Why discuss controversial issues in class?

Learn how to integrate controversial issues into the classroom, and to make the classroom community more comfortable with these discussions. Help students learn how to hold productive discussions about challenging issues, and to understand different perspectives.

 

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Understanding Political Values

 

Why is it so hard for people to agree about political issues?

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.

 

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60 Minutes of Deliberation

 

Expand the critical thinking and communication skills that students need for 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.

 

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Current Issues Blog

 

Our Current Issues blog helps teachers connect news stories to their classrooms and students. This blog is updated weekly, with links to classroom-ready news items, relevant context and suggested discussion questions for teachers.

 

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