Ch 7: Constitutional Principles & Legal Reasoning: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.8

About This Chapter

Guide your students through the logic, premise and purpose of founding American documents in this chapter on evaluating reasoning in seminal texts. Refer to the activity ideas below for help in presenting these Common Core Standards to your class.

Standard: Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses). (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.8)

About This Chapter

As your students watch these videos and complete the assessments they can develop a strong understanding of the kinds of reasoning and logic used to make the arguments in historical texts. They should be able to engage with the texts and apply their understanding to modern civics and political information. The topics of instruction in this chapter include:

  • Defining Constitutional Law and the 6th Amendment.
  • Outlining the Supreme Court's jurisdiction
  • Methods of evaluating reasoning
  • Evaluating reasoning in texts
  • Reasoning in public advocacy historical works
  • Reasoning in seminal U.S. texts

Students who have grasped the ideas in these lessons will demonstrate a greater understanding of the process of evaluating and understanding the reasoning in these historic documents through greater depth of analysis and increased participation in related discussions. They can become more engaged in modern constitutional and political questions and develop informed political opinions.

How to Use These Lessons in Your Classroom

Try these activities out in class as you watch the videos with your students.

Constitutional discussions

Complete the lessons on constitutional law, the 6th Amendment, the Supreme Court, and seminal U.S. texts in class with your students. Then introduce a modern Supreme Court opinion or case which falls within the purview of the 6th Amendment. Break the class up into small groups and have the students discuss the constitutional merits of the case amongst themselves. If a decision has already been rendered, do they agree with the results? If the case is in progress how should the justices decide?

Historical debate

Go over the 'Historical Works of Public Advocacy: Reasoning & Purpose' lesson with your students. Then pair students off and provide each pair with a sample text containing a strong argument for a change in U.S. policy or governance. Have each student prepare an argument supporting or rejecting the case (one of each argument in each pair) as homework, analyzing the text and researching supporting documentation. Have students argue their case in class, each making just one argument and one counter argument to keep time low and minimize preparation needs. Reinforce formal debate etiquette and discuss moderation rules.

Preparing for tests

Help students get ready for big assessments by having them review these lessons prior to the exam(s). Have your students complete the lesson quizzes at home to see how well they understand each topic. Proctor the chapter test in class to gauge overall comprehension.

6 Lessons in Chapter 7: Constitutional Principles & Legal Reasoning: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.8
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
What Is Constitutional Law? - Definition & Example

1. What Is Constitutional Law? - Definition & Example

Constitutional law deals with the understanding and use of the United States Constitution. This lesson will define and discuss constitutional law, while examining several famous constitutional law cases.

What is the 6th Amendment? - Definition, Summary & Court Cases

2. What is the 6th Amendment? - Definition, Summary & Court Cases

In this lesson, we'll look at what the 6th Amendment states, how it has been interpreted, and famous court cases that have dealt with the 6th Amendment. We'll also examine the famous case that gave us Miranda rights.

What is the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?

3. What is the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?

The U.S. Supreme Court exercises a right to preside over specific cases and is considered the court of original jurisdiction based on subject-matter jurisdiction. It is considered an appellate court for cases involving constitutional law under certain circumstances.

Reasoning: Definition & Examples

4. Reasoning: Definition & Examples

In this lesson, we will examine what reasoning is and how it's applied to literature and composition. We will look at some examples, and then you will take a short quiz to check your understanding of the concept.

How to Evaluate Reasoning

5. How to Evaluate Reasoning

Evaluating reasoning in an essay or article is an important step in critical analysis. Being able to judge if something is reasonable whether or not you agree with the argument will be our learning focus for this video.

Seminal US Texts: Reasoning & Principles

6. Seminal US Texts: Reasoning & Principles

This lesson will familiarize you with the reasoning and principles of the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers, two key texts in understanding the development of American government. Read on to learn about these seminal U.S. texts.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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