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Getting Involved in the Community


Essential Purpose

There are certain qualities that are expected of “the good citizen” in the United States. These qualities include honesty, compassion, respect, responsibility, and courage. The good citizen is expected to put these qualities into practice in their everyday relationships with others. In addition, in a democracy, the good citizen has the responsibility of becoming a participating member of the community.

Litter Pick-Up Day
This responsibility includes taking part in government, which includes voting for those who will represent us at the local, state, and national levels of government. The goal of this module is for students to understand civic responsibility and forms of civic participation and to learn the value of participating in community activities.

National Civics Standards

Standard 5: What are the Roles of Citizens in American Democracy?

  • What are the responsibilities of citizens?
  • What dispositions or traits of character are important to the preservation and improvement of American constitutional democracy?
  • How can citizens take part in civic life?

State/Local Standards

States should align these modules to their own state/local standards as appropriate.

Essential Questions

  • What are the characteristics of a good citizen?
  • Why is it important that every eligible citizen exercise the right to vote?
  • Why is public service important in a democracy?

Essential Content

Personal responsibilities
  • taking care of one’s self
  • supporting one’s family
  • accepting responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions
  • adhering to moral principles
  • considering the rights and interests of others
  • behaving in a civil manner
Civic responsibilities
  • obeying the law
  • paying taxes
  • respecting the rights of others
  • being informed and attentive to public issues
  • appropriate action if adherence to constitutional principles is lacking
  • deciding whether and how to vote
  • participating in civic groups
  • performing public service
Character Traits
  • individual responsibility
  • self-discipline/self-governance
  • civility
  • courage
  • respect for the rights of other individuals
  • respect for law
  • honesty
  • tolerance
  • negotiation and compromise
  • persistence
  • concern for the common good
  • compassion
  • patriotism
Civic Concepts
  • Civic life
  • Jobs of local elected officials
  • Roles, rights, and responsibilities of citizens

Essential Skills

  • Evaluate, take, and defend positions
  • Strategies to influence government
  • Analyze issues

Summative Assessment

Essential Questions Addressed by the Summative Assessment

  • What are the characteristics of a good citizen?
  • Why is public service important in a democracy?

Printable Student View

Prior Knowledge
Now that you have learned about the importance of civic responsibility and the ways in which citizens contribute to the common good, you are ready to make a decision involving a conflict between different social values and interests.

Often in small towns, people depend on a single factory for jobs. The money the workers make in the factory is then spent at other businesses in town. Therefore, many people are affected if the factory closes. However, factories can have a negative effect on a town. For example, air and water pollution from the waste from the factory are a constant concern.

You have just heard that the factory in your town has decided to close because the repairs to the factory to prevent pollution are going to be very costly. You are the President of the City Council and you know the harm that will be done to the community if the factory closes.

Conduct a meeting of the city council in which you plan to present your views concerning the closing of the plant. Since you know the factory owners will be attending this City Council meeting as part of the audience, you will want to explain why most people in the town would prefer keeping the factory open. Therefore, be sure your plan includes:

  • A summary of the benefits of keeping the plant open
  • A practical solution for reducing the cost of repairs for the factory owners that involves the active support of the entire community

Present your plan to the class. (The City Council, factory owners, and the rest of the audience at the City Council Meeting)

Scoring Guide

Updated December 26, 2019 7:49am