– screenshot of civics website
Civics! An American Musical can be used as an engagement activity, or to reinforce prior learning about primary sources.

Introduction and Overview

Welcome to Civics Backstage: Setting the Scene with Primary Sources, a professional development module for middle school educators. This module provides an overview of inquiry-based learning as well as an introduction to Civics! An American Musical, a web-based role-playing game (RPG) to help teachers implement inquiry-based learning in civics education.

Why Civics?

Students spend a great deal of time learning about the history of our nation, our political system, and the branches of government. By the time they enter high school, most students can articulate the purpose of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But civics is more than an understanding of how our government was created and how it works. Civics is also about the rights and responsibilities, or duties, that all citizens have to actively participate in their communities. The National Council for Social Studies clearly outlines the rationale for designing learning experiences to help students develop a deeper understanding of civics.

Active, thoughtful, and deliberate participation in a democracy has never been more important than it is today. The internet, social media, and a 24-hour news cycle means we all have the opportunity to be informed. Students are witnessing, first-hand, how civic engagement works, and realizing that young people can truly influence institutions, political leaders, and communities. The students in your classroom today will be the social and political leaders of tomorrow. As educators, you play an essential role in helping students become informed and better understand information they read, see, and hear.
- C3 Framework, 2013

Module Objectives

In this module, you will:

  • Learn about the importance of inquiry-based learning.
  • Understand the six stages of the Stripling Model of Inquiry.
  • Explore the document analysis process using the Library of Congress Primary Source Analysis Tool.
  • Learn how to implement Civics! An American Musical.
  • Understand how Civics! An American Musical aligns with the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) for Social Studies State Standards.