Common Sense Review
Updated December 2015

Youth Leadership Initiative: Democracy Corps

Thoughtful activities connect civics classes to community engagement
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This module is part of the Website Youth Leadership Initiative.
Common Sense Rating 3
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  • Democracy Corps combines in-class activities with instructions for engaging in the community.
  • Lesson plans for middle school and high school are available for download once teachers create a free log-in.
  • Detailed lesson plans walk teachers through several activities, from learning about government to engaging with elected officials.
  • Extensive instructions tell teachers how to use the program.
  • You can structure the program over days, weeks, or months.
  • Lesson plans include info about assessments, including several rubrics.
Patricia Monticello Kievlan
Common Sense Reviewer
Foundation/Non-Profit Member
Common Sense Rating 3
How Can Teachers Use It?

Democracy Corps is a series of lesson plans that engage middle school and high school students with the purpose of government and their own abilities to affect change as citizens. Lesson plans include information about how government functions and how people -- even kids -- can get involved in their communities. Kids can find information about how to research local areas of need and how to plan their own service projects, plus guidance on how they can reach out to their local elected officials.

This site isn't perfect, and its mostly text-based elements can feel a bit dated and simplistic, but there's enormous potential here for a teacher who wants to help civics students engage actively and personally with public service. Kids will find tons of activity ideas -- all customizable -- as well as lots of options that invite teachers and students to research local issues and take action. Kids can choose to engage in direct service or petition their elected officials to make change; either way, kids can find out why government matters to them and to their communities at large, and they can discover how one person can make a difference. Plus, as with other YLI programs, there's great timing flexibility. Teachers can choose to use the program for only a few days or over weeks or months. If you're looking for a tool to help students connect the classroom to the community, this is a great option to explore.

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