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Our original and still most significant mission here at the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship is to support the implementation of the middle school/7th grade civics benchmarks in Florida. That being said, we are always eager and grateful for an opportunity to work with teachers at all grade levels K-12 (and beyond!). A couple of years ago, our own wonderful Peggy Renihan developed a presentation that illustrated connections between the middle school/7th grade civics benchmarks and the high school level civics benchmarks that are taught in government and US history. As we move closer to the time of year where assessment becomes the be all and end all of our classrooms, I thought I would share some of those connections (and related resources) here. First, let’s refresh ourselves with the 7th grade/middle school civics benchmarks. Keep in mind that this post doesn’t even include ways in which high school teachers can use the fantastic Escambia Civics Review site, which will be the topic of a later post.
Click below the fold to continue!

Reporting Category One: Origins and Purposes of Law and Government
This category contains benchmarks that explore the origin and purposes of government and law in the United States.

SS.7.C.1.1 Recognize how Enlightenment ideas including Montesquieu’s view of separation of power and John Locke’s theories related to natural law and how Locke’s social contract influenced the Founding Fathers.
SS.7.C.1.2 Trace the impact that the Magna Carta, English Bill of Rights, Mayflower Compact, and Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” had on colonists’ views of government.
SS.7.C.1.3 Describe how English policies and responses to colonial concerns led to the writing of the Declaration of Independence.
SS.7.C.1.4 Analyze the ideas (natural rights, role of the government) and complaints set forth in the Declaration of Independence.
SS.7.C.1.5 Identify how the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation led to the writing of the Constitution.
SS.7.C.1.6 Interpret the intentions of the Preamble of the Constitution.
SS.7.C.1.7 Describe how the Constitution limits the powers of government through separation of powers and checks and balances.
SS.7.C.1.8 Explain the viewpoints of the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists regarding the ratification of the Constitution and inclusion of a bill of rights.
SS.7.C.1.9 Define the rule of law and recognize its influence on the development of the American legal, political, and governmental systems.
SS.7.C.3.10 Identify sources and types (civil, criminal, constitutional, military) of law.

Reporting Category Two: Roles, Rights, and Responsibilities of Citizens
This category contains benchmarks that explore citizenship in the United States.

SS.7.C.2.1 Define the term “citizen,” and identify legal means of becoming a United States citizen.
SS.7.C.2.2 Evaluate the obligations citizens have to obey laws, pay taxes, defend the nation, and serve on juries.
Also Assesses: SS.7.C.2.3—Experience the responsibilities of citizens at the local, state, or federal levels.
Also Assesses: SS.7.C.2.14—Conduct a service project to further the public good.
SS.7.C.2.4 Evaluate rights contained in the Bill of Rights and other amendments to the Constitution.
SS.7.C.2.5 Distinguish how the Constitution safeguards and limits individual rights.
SS.7.C.3.6 Evaluate Constitutional rights and their impact on individuals and society.
SS.7.C.3.7 Analyze the impact of the 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th amendments on participation of minority groups in the American political process.
SS.7.C.3.12 Analyze the significance and outcomes of landmark Supreme Court cases including, but not limited to, Marbury v. Madison, Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, Gideon v. Wainwright, Miranda v. Arizona, in re Gault, Tinker v. Des Moines, Hazelwood v. Kuhlmier, United States v. Nixon, and Bush v. Gore.

Reporting Category Three: Government Policies and Political Processes
This category contains benchmarks that explore the ins and outs of policy and process in the United States.

SS.7.C.2.8 Identify America’s current political parties, and illustrate their ideas about government.
SS.7.C.2.9 Evaluate candidates for political office by analyzing their qualifications, experience, issue-based platforms, debates, and political ads.
Also Assesses: SS.7.C.2.7—Conduct a mock election to demonstrate the voting process and its impact on a school, community, or local level.
SS.7.C.2.10 Examine the impact of media, individuals, and interest groups on monitoring and influencing government.
SS.7.C.2.11 Analyze media and political communications (bias, symbolism, propaganda).
SS.7.C.2.12 Develop a plan to resolve a state or local problem by researching public policy alternatives, identifying appropriate government agencies to address the issue, and determining a course of action.
SS.7.C.2.13 Examine multiple perspectives on public and current issues.
SS.7.C.4.1 Differentiate concepts related to United States domestic and foreign policy.
SS.7.C.4.2 Recognize government and citizen participation in international organizations.
SS.7.C.4.3 Describe examples of how the United States has dealt with international conflicts.

Reporting Category Four: Organization and Function of Government
This category introduces students to how the US government is organized and how it function according to the US Constitution and the Florida Constitution (note that some of these benchmarks address state and local government as well!)

SS.7.C.3.1 Compare different forms of government (direct democracy, representative democracy, socialism, communism, monarchy, oligarchy, autocracy).
SS.7.C.3.2 Compare parliamentary, federal, confederal, and unitary systems of government.
SS.7.C.3.3 Illustrate the structure and function (three branches of government established in Articles I, II, and III with corresponding powers) of government in the United States as established in the Constitution.
SS.7.C.3.4 Identify the relationship and division of powers between the federal government and state governments.
SS.7.C.3.5 Explain the Constitutional amendment process.
SS.7.C.3.8 Analyze the structure, functions, and processes of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
Also Assesses: SS.7.C.3.9—Illustrate the law making process at the local, state, and federal levels.
SS.7.C.3.11 Diagram the levels, functions, and powers of courts at the state and federal levels.
Also Assesses: SS. 7.C.2.6—Simulate the trial process and the role of juries in the administration of justice.
SS.7.C.3.13 Compare the constitutions of the United States and Florida.
SS.7.C.3.14 Differentiate between local, state, and federal governments’ obligations and services.

So now that we have an overview of the reporting categories and benchmarks for the 7th grade/middle school civics course, let’s consider how we might connect them to the high school level standards! You can click on the benchmark to explore the resource!

High School Government

Instructional resources available to support:

Standard 1: Demonstrate an understanding of the origins and purposes of government, law, and the American political system.

SS.7.C.1.1 SS.7.C.1.2 SS.7.C.1.4 SS.7.C.1.5 SS.7.C.1.7 SS.7.C.1.8 SS.7.C.1.9

Standard 2: Evaluate the roles, rights, and responsibilities of United States citizens, and determine methods of active participation in society, government, and the political system.

SS.7.C.2.1 SS.7.C.2.2 SS.7.C.2.3 (included with 2.2) SS.7.C.2.4 SS.7.C.2.5 SS.7.C.2.7 (included with 2.9) SS.7.C.2.8
SS.7.C.2.10 SS.7.C.2.11 SS.7.C.2.13 SS.7.C.2.14 (included with 2.2)

Standard 3: Demonstrate an understanding of the principles, functions, and organization of government.

SS.7.C.1.7 SS.7.C.1.9 SS.7.C.2.5 SS.7.C.2.6 (included with 3.11) SS.7.C.3.3 SS.7.C.3.4 SS.7.C.3.8
SS.7.C.3.11 SS.7.C.3.12 SS.7.C.3.14

Standard 4: Demonstrate an understanding of contemporary issues in world affairs, and evaluate the role and impact of United States foreign policy.

SS.7.C.3.1 SS.7.C.4.1 SS.7.C.4.2

High School United States History

Instructional resources available to support:

  • Standard 5: Demonstrate an understanding of the changing role of the United States in world affairs through the end of World War I.
  • Standard 6: Understand the causes and course of World War II, the character of the war at home and abroad, and its reshaping of the United States in the post-war world.
  • Standard 7: Understand the rise and continuing international influence of the United States as a world leader and the impact of contemporary social and political movements on American life.
  • Standard 1: Use research and inquiry skills to analyze American history using primary and secondary sources.
SS.7.C.4.1 SS.7.C.4.2 SS.7.C.4.3 SS.7.C.2.11

We can also break it down even further and make connections between the 7th grade/middle school benchmarks and the high school level benchmarks themselves! Click on the image to enlarge!

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As you can see, the 7th grade/middle school civic benchmarks really do provide a foundation that leads into the high school courses, just as the elementary benchmarks lead into the middle school course!

If you have additional connections that you can make, shoot them our way, or leave them in the comments! Hope that this helped you see that what we all are teaching in the middle school really CAN make a difference for the higher grades! Thanks, again, Peggy, for your hard work in making these connections for us!