Helping Students Learn Government Principles

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A Texas Bar Foundation grant will fund a web-based video series to help Texas students learn about the U.S. government’s founding principles.

A Texas Bar Foundation grant will fund a web-based video series to help Texas students learn about the U.S. government’s founding principles.

The $20,000 grant will allow the State Bar of Texas Law Related Education Department and Law Focused Education, Inc. to produce “The Seven Principles of the U.S. Constitution,” a video series explaining what the U.S. system of government is about and why it is different from other nations’ governments.

The series is designed as a fun, engaging, and educational way for students to learn the seven principles identified in the social studies standards of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills:
• Popular sovereignty
• Republicanism
• Federalism
• Separation of powers
• Checks and balances
• Limited government
• Individual rights

The principles are required learning for students in fifth grade through high school, but they have proven to be some of the most difficult for students to master when tested, says Jan Miller, the State Bar’s law-related education director.

“It is not enough to teach the definition of the principles, as students are asked to analyze how these principles are reflected in the Constitution and understand the impact of these principles in American history,” Miller says. “The videos will explain the concepts and point out real-world examples students can relate to.”

The videos will be five to six minutes in length. Video viewing guides for each concept will be created as part of the project.

Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $15 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably funded bar foundation. For more information, follow the State Bar on Twitter @statebaroftexas, like the State Bar on Facebook at facebook.com/statebaroftexas, or visit texasbar.com.