MIDDLE SCHOOL RESOURCES


Through our partnership with Bard High School Early College, a public school with campuses in Manhattan and Queens operated with Bard College, we have developed middle school curriculum for Bard’s after-school program the Bard Early College Academy. The pilot program launched in spring of 2012 for students in grades 7 and 8. The goal is to teach students about the role of courts in a civil society; the importance of the New York State and United States constitutions; the operation of the Rule of Law; and how courts, judges, and lawyers contribute to the administration of justice. Below we have provided resources for educators that can help students develop critical thinking skills relating to these themes. The Society plans to continue work to bring judges and lawyers into the classroom and students into the courthouses.

If you have used any of these materials in your classroom, we are interested in hearing your feedback. How did you adapt our resources to meet the needs of your classroom? What activities worked for you? What activities didn't work? We invite you to email us at the Historical Society of the New York Courts.

Alphabetical course listing
Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, & the Empire State
The Lemmon Slave Case
The Role of the Courts in a Democratic Society

Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, & the Empire State
Created by Dr. Julia Rose Kraut
Adapted from Dr. Kraut's high school curriculum

This course focuses on teaching middle school students civil rights and liberties law andhistory in the United States, and specifically in New York. Students will gain a greater understanding of how law and the courts have helped to shape history and pave the way for the nation's current freedoms, protections, and challenges. Students will explore past struggles for freedom, equality, and protection through activism, legislation, and litigation, while connecting these struggles and triumphs to the present. The curriculum also focuses on sparking students' interest in the law and potential careers on the law. Students will not only learn more about their civil rights and civil liberties by studying legal history, but also by studying legal precedent and learning how to interpret law and to apply this legal precedent to new cases and fact patterns. The middle school curriculum was adapted from Dr. Kraut's high school curriculum; both are included here for reference.

Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, & the Empire State High School Syllabus
Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, & the Empire State 2015 High School Curriculum Connections

Historical Society Resources
New York Under Dutch Rule
New York Under British Rule
Revolution & the Emerging State
Crown v. John Peter Zenger
Charters & Constitutions
Courts of New York State
Antebellum, Civil War, & Reconstruction New York
Judicial Notice: The Lemmon Slave Case by John D. Gordan, III
Garfinkel Essay Scholarship 2008: The Courts and Human Rights in New York
Garfinkel Essay Scholarship 2012: The Blue and the Gray - New York During the Civil War
Judith S. Kaye
Judicial Notice: People v. Sanger and the Birth of Family Planning Clinics in America by Maria T. Vullo
Garfinkel Essay Scholarship 2011: The Legal Legacy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
Garfinkel Essay Scholarship 2015: LGBT: The Road to Equality - How Have the New York Courts Addressed Equal Human Rights for the LGBT Community?
Courthouse Tours & Classroom Speakers

The Lemmon Slave Case
Created by Petra Riviere
Adapted from Prof. Laura A. Hymson's high school curriculum

The Lemmon Slave Case provides students of U.S. history a window into the legal challenges and moral conflicts over slavery before the Civil War. This case requires a close examination of federal and state law. The New York courts freed slaves brought into the free state, while the United States Supreme Court decided Dred Scott was not free though he had travelled to a free state with his master’s family. Many curricula place a strong emphasis on the Dred Scott decision, but the Lemmon case shifts focus to New York and allows students to contemplate state’s rights implications and the interpretation of the law through a lens of human equality. The middle school curriculum was adapted from Prof. Laura Hymson’s high school curriculum; both are included here for reference.

Lemmon Slave Case Teacher's Guide for High School Students
Lemmon Slave Case Lesson Plan for High School Students
Lemmon Slave Case 2015 High School Curriculum Connections

Historical Society Resources
Judicial Notice: The Lemmon Slave Case by John D. Gordan, III
Louis Napoleon
Chester A. Arthur
William M. Evarts
John Jay
Charles O'Conor
Henry D. Lapaugh
Elijah Paine, Jr.
Hiram Denio
William Wright
Garfinkel Essay Scholarship 2008: The Courts and Human Rights in New York
Gibbons v. Ogden

The Role of the Courts in Democratic Society
Created by Meghann Walk & Steven Mazie

The purpose of this unit plan is to provide an introduction to the judicial branch of government and the role of the courts in American democracy. Students learn about conceptual matters of justice and the need for an independent judiciary; the structure of the court system in the United States; and how judges should be selected and how their roles should be conceived. Students also have the opportunity to view courts in action through a field trip to some of New York State’s courts while developing writing, critical thinking, and discussion skills.

The Role of Courts in a Democratic Society Reading Materials

Historical Society Resources
Judicial Notice: Rutgers v. Waddington: Alexander Hamilton and the Birth Pangs of Judicial Review by David A. Weinstein
Alexander Hamilton
Judicial Notice: Foward to The Nature of the Judicial Process by Andrew L. Kaufman
The Federalist
New York & the Ratification of the Federal Constitution (1788) Primary Source Document and Transcript
Garfinkel Essay Scholarship 2016: You the Juror
Courthouse Tours







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