How Can I Be a Responsible Citizen for the Common Good?
Curriculum Unit Outline
For 5th grade
I found this curriculum on Common Good for 5th Graders. We might all need a remedial course. This would make a good family discussion and even an adult discussion guide.
Our unit theme examines the question, “How Can I Be a Responsible Citizen for the
We feel that as a U.S. citizen, one should be a knowledgeable and contributing member of
society. Our theme is designed to increase student knowledge and understanding about the
concepts, roles, responsibilities, and rights that align with U.S. citizenship through voting, flag
etiquette, and service learning.
We believe that students should develop a clear understanding of how to become a
responsible citizen through activities that are meaningful, hands-on, inquiry based, and
applicable to life. We also believe that social studies teaching and learning is powerful when it is
value-based, thus students will best understand the characteristics of a responsible citizen
through examining multiple perspectives. Moreover, we feel that social studies teaching and
learning is powerful when it is integrative. Therefore, students will fully increase their
knowledge about how to become a contributing member of society if concepts are related in
various subjects throughout the day.
According to the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the study of ideals,
principles, and practices of a democratic republic should be included in the social studies
program. Goal 10 states that students should locate, access, organize and apply information
about an issue of public concern from multiple points of view. They should also participate in
civic discussions and explain actions citizens can take to influence public policy decisions.
Along with the national standards, the Utah Core Curriculum emphasizes the importance of
citizenship in the United States. According to Standard 5, objective 3, students should describe
how to become a citizen and identify the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. They should
have a clear understanding about voting, obeying laws, and working for the common good.
Students should also participate in patriotic traditions of the United States and activities that
promote the public good.
We believe that students in fifth grade have the cognitive ability to not only understand their
role as a citizen, but also to actively participate at a community level. According to David J.
Anspaugh and Gene Ezell ,authors of Teaching Today’s Health, “No where in the entire
educational spectrum can a teacher make such an impression as at the elementary level”
(Anspaugh & Ezell, 2001). Thus, in order to change, for example, the national epidemic of lowvoter
turnout, elementary teachers need to educate today’s children about the importance of
citizen rights in relation to voting. In addition to voting, it is crucial for elementary teachers to
educate children about the other essential aspects of becoming a responsible citizen while they
are still young and impressionable.
Children need to understand that they can indeed make a difference in their community, state,
and country if they actively learn about how to become a responsible citizen now.
You can find the Unit Planning Chart, Classroom Actvities and Individual Assignments here.