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Issue Analysis Lesson

Social Studies Lessons for High School is designed for social studies teachers to use with their government and history courses. It was developed in response to a shift in education throughout our country: a move away from rote memorization and toward the critical thinking skills necessary for many of the new performance assessment programs.

Each lesson will enable teachers to teach seven specific critical thinking skills in a step-by-step process. The information has been adapted for old media and new media formats. Web sites will be provided that will allow teachers to choose the most appropriate resource for the selected activity. All selections can be copied for classroom use. Teachers may adapt activities to allow students to complete assignments via the web.

Robert O. Black is a social studies teacher at the Harbor City Learning Center, and former Teachers Network web mentor.


This lesson is included because of the many public issues that students will encounter in a government course. Have students practice frequently with the template using issues they find in newspaper articles, weekly news magazines, or in the following web sites.

Sample Web Sites

Time Magazine 

Baltimore Sun Paper

ABC News

CNN News

NY Times

USA Today

The lesson plan and sample student response sheet were developed to match:

Students will evaluate the impact of governmental decisions and actions that have affected the rights of individuals and groups and have affected the maintenance of order and/or safety.

Students will use evidence and/or reason to support or refute ideas, issues, or positions.

Below is the issue summary on the Helmet Law that students will use in this lesson. Make an overhead transparency or individual student copies.

This year the state government will review the controversial state law requiring that helmets be worn by all motorcycle riders. After hearing testimony from interested groups, legislators are expected to vote on whether or not to renew this law.


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