Lesson 1: Introduction to the History of the Michigan Supreme Court

Grade Level & Subject: High School Social Studies (History or Government)

Unit: Discovering the Rich History of the Michigan Supreme Court
Lesson: Introduction to the History of the Michigan Supreme Court

 

State Standards and Benchmarks:
Social Studies. Strand I. Historical Perspective. Standard I.2 Comprehending the Past. All students will understand narratives about major eras of American and world history by identifying the people involved, describing the setting, and sequencing the events.

Unit Outcome:
When this unit is finished, students will be able to: (1) conduct historical research/investigation using both primary and secondary sources, (2) describe the importance of the Michigan Supreme Court, (3) present, verbally and in written form, informed opinions about Court decisions and procedures, and (4) recognize how the Michigan Supreme Court affects their lives.

Lesson Outcomes:
Students will be able to
• Recognize the major players, events, and changes in the history of Michigan’s Supreme Court
• Identify the purpose and role of the Michigan Supreme Court in state government
• Understand the basic development of the Court over time
• Summarize the role and purpose of the Court

Rationale/Purpose for Lesson:
This lesson will provide students with a basic understanding of the Michigan Supreme Court. They will learn a little about its history, role, and purpose. This lesson will let them know that the Court exists and provide them with a basic understanding of what the Court does. It is important that students understand how the Court affects their daily lives, but this will be covered in more detail in another lesson.

Resources/Materials required:
• Copies: Unit Calendar
• Q & A sheet for teacher
• PowerPoint slideshow of History of the Supreme Court
• PowerPoint lecture notes for mini-lecture about Court’s role and purpose
• Handout: Copies of the 1963 Constitution of Michigan, Article VI (Or a handout that provides an abbreviated version, should the teacher see it fit). This handout is nothing more than the actual article, a primary source, and is available at http://michigander.0catch.com/constitution.html#judicial

If there is a computer available for each student, the teacher may elect to have students go directly to the web page
• Handout: “A Brief History of the Michigan Supreme Court”
• Computer with Large Screen/Television or with a projector for PowerPoint presentations (If there is no way to display the presentations for students to observe, consider printing the necessary slides from the presentation and making overheads from them.

Introduction:
Ask students to answer the questions about the Michigan Supreme Court. Allow students to volunteer answers. Provide them with the answers when necessary. Make a brief statement about the importance of the Court and stress that knowledge of the Court is important because of the affect it can have on our lives.

Procedures:
1. Introduce Unit Calendar
2. Show students the PowerPoint presentation about the history of the Michigan Supreme Court. Recommend that students take notes during the presentation.
3. Tell students to take out a sheet of paper.
4. Ask them to write down one question they have about the presentation or about the state Supreme Court.
5. Ask a few volunteers to share their questions.
6. 6. Briefly discuss those questions and answer those for which an answer is known or readily available. If the teacher does not know the answer to a student question, the teacher should take steps to get the answer or to help the students find the answer (via http://courts.michigan.gov/supremecourt/index.htm for example).
8. Instruct students that they are to read/skim the handout.
9. Display PowerPoint notes about the purpose/role of the state Supreme Court for students to copy/follow along as mini-lecture is delivered.
10. Continue and end this lesson with a discussion about the material or, if one topic sparked student interest, lead a discussion about that topic.

Closure:
Tell students that the state Supreme Court is an integral part of Michigan’s state government and its system of checks and balances. Tell them that the court has grown and adapted much as the state has done. Again inform them of the importance of their understanding of the Court and how it does and will affect their lives.

Guided study/Homework
Read “A Brief History of the Michigan Supreme Court” pages 7-19, and 26-33.

Assessment
1. As part of the introduction, a “prior knowledge check” will establish how much students know about the day’s topic.
2. A random selection of students should be able to answer any of the teacher’s discussion questions.
3. All students should be able to offer a response to something from the introduction, the discussion, or the lecture.
4. Students’ “question about the history of the Supreme Court” will be collected and they will be given credit for completing and turning this into the teacher.

Evaluation and Reflection: (To be completed by teacher after lesson has been implemented)

LESSON 1 SUMMARY/MAKE-UP
Grade Level & Subject: High School Social Studies (History or Government)
Unit: Discovering the Rich History of the State of Michigan Supreme Court
Lesson: Introduction to the History of the Michigan Supreme Court

1. View PowerPoint slideshow about the history of the Michigan Supreme Court

2. Write on a sheet of paper one question about the Supreme Court and its history, role, or purpose.

3. Take notes from mini-lecture about the role and purpose of the Court

4. Homework: Read “A Brief History of the Michigan Supreme Court” pages 7-19, and 26-33
If you missed class, you should also:

1. Make sure you get a copy of the notes and handouts from the teacher (or from a fellow classmate).

2. Arrange to come in to class to view the PowerPoint slideshow about the history of the Michigan Supreme Court (allow 10 minutes).

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