Civic Literacy Curriculum: Full Curriculum
Welcome to the Civic Literacy Curriculum:
Below is the full curriculum designed to make teaching or learning civics education easier for you. The content was developed by several members of Arizona State University's faculty, as well as current and former educators. The curriculum is organized around and incorporates the United States Customs and Immigration's Naturalization Test, provided to those interested in becoming naturalized citizens of the United States.
Faculty at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership have developed a curriculum for the 100+ questions from the official test, which is comprehensive of all content appearing in the 2008/2021 and 2020 versions of the citizenship tests. Our curriculum exceeds the USCIS test in helping students learn not just the facts tested but the underlying concepts, ideas, and events. The materials include:
- Background information, which can be used to help start a classroom lecture
- Edited primary sources of canonical texts
- Classroom exercises (sign-ups required to access answer keys and rubrics)
- Discussion prompts to kickstart a discussion amongst your students
Use the curriculum guides how you see fit. They are designed to be a core civics curriculum or to augment a particular area of your social studies program. In addition, we've also created abridged study guides for students to use. You can access those study guides by clicking here.
Section 1: Principles of the American Republic
The Civic Literacy Curriculum begins with the founding of the United States of America. Students will start by gaining a deeper understanding of how and why the American founders made the decisions they did, and about the impact those decisions have on our lives today.
Section 2: Systems of Government
Section 2 focuses on three main concepts: federalism, separation of powers and checks and balances, and constitutional rights. Students will spend time in this section gaining an essential understanding of how their government works and how it works for them, the U.S. Constitution and more.
Section 3: Rights and Responsibilities
In Section 3, students will learn about the rights afforded to them in the U.S. Constitution and 27 amendments to the historic document, as well as their responsibilities as citizens. From voting, paying taxes, serving on a jury and defending the country in the armed forces, students will finish Section 3 with a deeper understanding of how the U.S. Constitution impacts their lives.
Section 4: Colonial Period and Independence
Section 4 covers early American history, primarily the 17th and 18th centuries. This includes the settlement of the British colonies that eventually became the United States of America, the American Revolution in which those colonies separated from the British empire and lived under the Articles of Confederation, and, finally, the formation of the U.S. Constitution. Students will learn not only about these events but also the different groups of people who eventually lived on the continent (settlers, slaves, and Native Americans), as well as the ideas and actions of the Founding Fathers.
Section 5: The 1800s
Section 5 covers American history in the 19th century, as the American republic grew both geographically and in the ability of Americans to participate in its freedom. Students will learn about events such as the Louisiana Purchase, the Mexican-American War, and the movement for women’s suffrage, but the main focus is on the Civil War and the end of slavery, including Abraham Lincoln’s political leadership during the war and the Reconstruction Amendments that followed.
Section 6: Recent American History
Section 6 covers American history in the 20th century and beyond. Students will learn about the World Wars and the Cold War against communism, the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt’s constitutional revolution, the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr., wars in the Middle East, and the native American tribes.
Section 7: Geography, Symbols, and Holidays
Section 7 covers two broad topics: the country’s geography (such as the oceans and rivers that have shaped it, its neighbors, and its territories), as well as the holidays and symbols celebrated by Americans, such as the flag, anthem, and motto.
In addition to the Curriculum Guides, the Civic Literacy Curriculum also includes more than 200 mini videos to supplement your teaching, flashcards, study guides for the students and the test itself. We encourage you to use any of the resources below to better your classroom experience.
The Civic Literacy Curriculum includes more than 200 short videos that focus on specific topics. Browse by curriculum sections or search for a specific keyword. We also encourage you to visit the Center for Political Thought and Leadership and the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership's YouTube pages for more of our video content and public programming.
The Civic Literacy Curriculum test is a 100+ question test that covers all aspects of the curriculum. It's based off of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Naturalization Test and is broken up by curriculum sections, as well. Currently, the test is available in digital format but we plan to make a print version available soon.
The Civic Literacy Curriculum flashcards act as a practice quiz to the actual test. Compatible with tablets, computers and smartphones, students can test their curriculum knowledge from just about anywhere. The flash cards are broken down by section to make it easier for students to follow along.