Rights & Responsibilities Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Are you teaching your students about the process to U.S. citizenship? Use this lesson plan to explain the naturalization process, from acquiring a green card to becoming a citizen. Students use nonfiction text reading strategies to deepen understanding, then apply concepts to your classroom community.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain the naturalization process
  • define and use vocabulary terms related to the naturalization process correctly
  • discuss the rights and responsibilities of citizens


1 hour


Key Vocabulary

  • Naturalization
  • Permanent residency
  • Green card
  • Refugees
  • Oath of Allegiance

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.3

Identify key steps in a text's description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.10

By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.


  • Connect students with the topic by dividing them into small groups and asking each to develop a list of rights and responsibilities for their classroom. Allow students to write on chart paper and share with the group.
  • Tell students they will be learning about the process necessary to become a citizen of the United States; preview vocabulary and share prior knowledge.
  • Distribute copies of the lesson US Citizenship: Rights, Responsibilities & Naturalization Process and ask them to read the first section 'Beyond the Passport.' Ask:
    • What makes a passport a right of citizens?
    • What is naturalization?
    • How is naturalization different from being born a citizen?
  • Next read the section 'From Green Card to Passport' with students. Define vocabulary, then discuss:
    • What steps did Paolo take to be a legal resident in the U.S.?
    • What are some ways immigrants able to live in the U.S. legally?
    • What do immigrants need to do to remain in the U.S.?
  • Have students talk in their groups to outline the naturalization process. Listen in to the conversations to check for understanding, then discuss as a group.
  • Now have students work with their groups to brainstorm rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens. Share, record, and discuss as a whole group.
  • Have groups read the next two sections 'Rights of Citizens' and 'Responsibilities of Citizens,' then compare information to their own lists.
  • Read the 'Lesson Summary' as a group, then administer the printable quiz. Check as a group and review key concepts, if necessary.

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