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Experiential Civics, Service Learning, and Simulations

Students need hands-on experience with civic processes before they can participate meaningfully in civic life.  Ideally, these would be actual civic processes, like a school board meeting, though simulations programs like We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, We the People: Project Citizen, or Mock Trials can go a long way in building civic and 21st century skills.


Service learning can be valuable as long as it includes reflection on the underlying issues that gave rise to the need for service. If it can connect to learning about the foundations of our democracy, that's even better. 

UCLC Priorities: Experiential Civics/Academic Service Learning/Simulations



Utah Core Standards for the Social Studies (Grades 7-12)

  • From p. 43 Intro: "Students should have ample opportunity to:

    • Bullet 3."Identify local, state, national, or international problems, and consider solutions to these problems, and share their ideas with appropriate public and/or private stakeholders."

    • Bullet 5"Engage in dialogue regarding American exceptionalism, in the sense of the special character of the U.S. as a uniquely free nation based on democratic ideals and personal liberty." 

  • U.S. Government Strand 2 Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, and Responsibilities:​

    • Standard 2.2: "Students will examine various perspectives on a current rights-related issue; take a position; defend that position using the Constitution and Bill of Rights, historical precedents, Supreme Court decisions, and other relevant resources; and  share that position, when possible, with relevant stakeholders." ​

  • U.S. Government Strand 4 Fiscal Policies and Decisions:​

    • Standard 4.3: "Students will propose and defend budget priorities at either the local, state, tribal, or federal level; and share their findings with appropriate stakeholders." 


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