Active Citizenship Lesson Plans , Activities, and Classroom Debates

Social Emotional Learning SEL: Citizenship - 8 lessons - Active Citizenship, Class Debates, Fair does not always mean equal. Why? 17 debates - Growth Mindset 6Cs Learning Skills - Product Cover

Active Citizenship Lesson Plans for Middle School / High School – March 1, 2024 – Use this fun lesson before a new unit to rebuild classroom community!

8 Classroom Citizenship Lesson Plans to help your students become Active Citizens in 2024 – at home, at school, and in the community.

These classroom debates start with easy topics (left vs right handed) but build to more controversial topics (i.e. racism vs sexism).

The lesson explicitly teaches how to have a respectful conversation when you disagree. Is this a skill that your students will need throughout the school year? Absolutely!

Being a good citizen at home and school is more than just helping out with chores or helping your classmates.

Teaching good citizenship lessons to students also means helping them develop life skills and civic engagement.

Set up expectations for Classroom Community with FUN debates

It’s easy to say “be respectful” on a list of classroom rules.

It’s harder to actually be respectful when you feel strongly about an issue (or an injustice).

So, here are a series of classroom debates to use in January during New Year activities. It’s a fun way to actually practice being respectful when you disagree.

ChatGPT, Education, and the Need for Active Citizenship

ChatGPT and artificial intelligence will completely change the world.

Should ChatGPT be allowed in schools? Or is it cheating? (Vote here.)

That’s a controversial topic with strong opinions on either side of the educational debate.

The challenge is that machine algorithms (like Google Search or ChatGPT) learn from humans.

It might surprise you to know that Google Search has learned to give sexist misinformation.

  • Don’t just believe or disbelieve that statement. Confirmation bias is a thing. We should look for primary source information to help us make a more informed opinion about whether Google Search does give out sexist answers.
  • Here’s an experiment you can do with your class to test this assertion. Watch this video lesson at 36:45

Because Google Search and ChatGPT aren’t going anywhere, we need to incorporate digital literacy to help our students become active citizens.

  • Here’s a FREE ChatGPT video lesson that shows how machines seem unbiased (i.e. calculators), but can learn to be biased (i.e. Google Search.)
  • The video lesson also includes a section on how to help fix the internet.
  • Active citizenship means taking part in our communities to help make them better. Raising awareness about the pros and cons of ChatGPT and Artificial Intelligence is just the beginning. Using these tools appropriately is the next step!

We live in crazy times. Things are not always fair or just.

Sometimes, bad things happen to good people.

  • Why do we need a Black History Month or Women’s History Month? (Read this.) Why do Black Lives Matter?
  • Should we be allowed to use ChatGPT in schools? Is this cheating?
  • What do we do when we see something wrong? (i.e. bullying? racism? social injustice?)
  • Does equal mean the same thing as fair? Why or why not?

Helping students develop social awareness is an essential part of Social and Emotional Learning.

But, remember… teaching what it means to be a “good citizen” to elementary students, middle school kids, or high school teenagers will not solve all of humanity’s problems.

Citizenship is an ongoing process!

  • Being a “citizen” is more than just having a passport. It’s about being an active citizen and taking part in your community.
  • Likewise, being a “student” is more than just about being enrolled at school. It’s about being active in your education and learning community.

Here are some citizenship activities for middle school and high school students to get the conversation started in the new year.

What is Citizenship? (School Citizenship Definition)

Citizenship education and building a classroom community can start with creating a list of classroom rules and signing the poster, but it’s much more than that!

Class discussions are a way to explore and discuss what it means to be part of a community.

  • School citizenship is about doing your part and being active in the classroom community.
  • Active citizenship isn’t about everyone agreeing, the sun shining and unicorns flying across rainbows.
  • Citizenship is about helping your community: your class, your school, your local area or the country you live in.
  • Active Citizenship is about doing your part. That includes speaking up to defend your friends, classmates, and community. It also means speaking up when you think what your community is doing something wrong. (It’s about helping to change the system from within.)

This Citizenship Unit includes 17 high-interest classroom community citizenship debates to help reboot your classroom:

BUILD classroom community as students explore the difference between a citizen and a good citizen (or active citizen) 

REMIND students how to communicate respectfully, even when they disagree.

EMPOWER students to reflect on their ideas and to think about how equal doesn’t always mean fair.

EXPLORE how equal and fair don’t always mean the same thing.

Diversity / Anti-Racism Lesson Plans for Middle School, Elementary, and High School

PRO TIP: You might want to start with some easier citizenship activities for middle school and high school before jumping into the next few questions.

(Jump to the lesson plan with 17 debate questions that start easy and build up to deeper ethical dilemmas.)

Why do we need a Woman’s History Month if we don’t have a Men’s History Month?

Why do we need a Black History Month if we don’t have a White History Month?

If these questions upset or excite you, please leave a comment with your perspective so others can benefit from your point of view.

First of all, I believe active citizenship means participating in the communities we belong to and helping to make them better.

  • We don’t have to agree.
  • Sometimes, it’s through controversial issues that we can shine a spotlight on marginalized communities.
  • This means controversial issues on the LEFT side and the RIGHT side of the political spectrum.

Secondly, I believe critical thinking means we don’t simply accepting what we are told. We can analyze information from different points of view. The goal of critical thinking is to create our own informed options.

  • A key part of this relies on independently verifying information ourselves using primary sources.
  • We use criteria to make decisions with the understanding that as we gain more information, we’re allowed to change our opinions.

Middle School and High School citizenship lesson plans are an opportunity to empower students to help make their world a better place.

With that in mind, I think a powerful way to explain to students why we need a “Black History Month” or “Women’s History Month” (or any other month, week, or day) is by having students figure out the answer for themselves.

If this is to be a true critical thinking task, then it means we’re not guiding them to the answer we think they should find. (i.e. Yes, you can come up with your own opinion, but if you get an answer different from me, then you’re wrong.)

Do we need Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March?

Check out this free Who is Invisible slideshow lesson.

It doesn’t say Women’s History Month in the content of the slideshow lesson, but it has everything to do with Women’s History Month (and every other day, week, or month that tries to amplify the voices of marginalized communities.)

The conversation helps build self-awareness and social awareness in students by watching a series of short goal-setting videos.

  • Do you see yourself reflected in the content?
  • Do you see people who look like you?
  • Which groups of people do we see?
  • Which groups of people are invisible?
  • How are different groups of people represented?

The Who is Invisible lesson walks students through

  • Analyzing how groups of people are shown in media text
  • Evaluating whether groups of people are visible or invisible. (What’re the criteria for saying a group of people is poorly represented? Do all groups of people have to be shown equally?)
  • Creating a way to amplify the voices of stories we don’t always hear.

Check out the free slideshow lesson on Who Is

(By the way, middle school and high school citizenship lesson plans don’t have to be overtly about “good citizenship.” We don’t have to say, today, we’re learning about how to be a good citizen.

Instead, the “Who is Invisible?” challenge provides a way for us to become active citizens just be asking guiding questions.

Events in the US and around the world have highlighted the need for conversations around racism, social justice, equity, and equality!

Are teachers part of the problem with systemic racism in the classroom / education system? (Agree or Disagree?)

If we say we don’t see colour and everyone is equal, what about the pencil crayon analogy?

Just look at your pencil crayons. Do some colours get used more than others – even though colours are “equal”?

  • Fairness does not mean treating everyone the same.
  • Fairness means giving everyone what they need so that everyone has equal opportunity.

When we say everyone gets treated “equally” so things are fair – that’s usually when we stop asking ourselves if things are actually fair by looking at the outcomes.

Anti-racism lesson plans need to empower students to look at outcomes and not just inputs.

Citizenship lessons have the opportunity to challenge students to think about the big picture.

  • Do some groups of people have more advantages (privileges) than others?
  • Which groups of people in your community – school, city, our country – are invisible?
  • Which groups are marginalized or demonized?

Psst: Check out this free resource that looks at which groups of people are invisible in society.

Anti-Racism lesson plans can look at racial discrimination and prejudice. This is a stepping stone into larger conversations about social justice, diversity, and fairness.

These are all essential concepts we need to grapple with in order to be good citizens… at school, in our community or in the world.

These high-interest citizenship debates are a safe but powerful (and open-ended) way to teach students about respect:

Here are the ground rules introduced at the start of this middle school / high school citizenship lesson plan package:

  1. We can have opinions.
  2. My opinions can be different from yours.
  3. Your opinions can be different from mine.
  4. And our opinions are both equally valid.

17 debate questions go through a series of “fun” questions to more “serious” questions to get students wondering about fairness and equality.

This is not just a conversation about race and anti-racism. This is a broader conversation about equality, equity, diversity, and fairness.

From a social-emotional learning perspective, the power of citizenship lessons is in helping students to become more self-aware and more socially aware.

The slideshow lesson teaches the concepts and explains the citizenship activities for middle school and high school students.

You can also EDIT THE FILES to fit your classroom needs.

BONUS: You might also be interested in

School Citizenship Activities and Classroom Community Lessons
for Middle School and High School

The Covid-19 pandemic made it painfully obvious how we are all interconnected global citizens.

Sometimes, an issue affects some people more than others. This can be dangerous. It’s very easy for us to think it’s not my problem.

That’s why now is an especially important time for us to teach our students what it means to be good citizens and why it matters.

Citizenship lesson plans can cover more than just classroom routines like:

  • Raising your hand to participate in the conversation.
  • Signing the washroom log when you leave the classroom.
  • Active listening and treating people the way you want to be treated.
  • Staying physically distant (during covid).

These can be important systems to help our classroom run smoothly.

But, a good citizenship lesson plan can also explore big ideas:

  • how do we participate in society?
  • how do we speak up when we see something wrong?

Empathy, fairness, inclusion, and equality.

Building a classroom community is a great way to explore issues of empathy, fairness, and equality.

Covid brought about a lot of change. Lock downs, changing health guidelines, controversial opinions, and how the media and government (and then back online during Omicron, and then new year)… talking about the pandemic might be a great way to start conversations about fairness:

  • Why do I need to stay at home or do physical distancing? I’m not going to get sick. I’m already vaccinated!
  • It’s mostly older people who are in danger. It’s not my problem. (No offense.)
  • It’s mostly younger adults who aren’t getting vaccinated.
  • I want to get vaccinated but I’m too young. That’s not fair!
  • It’s that country’s fault. Or, I don’t have to worry about it because my country / state / city is fine.
  • The problem is the government. They’re doing this. They’re not doing that!
  • The problem is anti-vaxxers. They’re doing that. They’re not doing this!

Controversial conversations are a great time to remind students that while everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, we do have to respect other people may have opinions different from ours.

(And those opinions matter just as much to them as our opinions matter to us!)

Whether we’re at school or at home, we need to explore how to be a good citizen… in the classroom, in our families, and in all of the communities we belong to, especially the global community.

Good Citizenship Lesson Plans: How to be a good citizen at school

Good Citizenship activities for Middle School and High School help students explore how to be good, successful contributing members of society.

  • What does it mean to be a citizen
  • What does it mean to be a good citizen?
  • What is citizenship for students?
  • How can we contribute to our school community, local community, country, or global community?

The start of the school year is a great time to ask our students how to be a good citizen at school.

The second best time to show students how to be good citizens… is right now.

We need to explain to students the concept of good citizenship. Being a student at school is more than just about being physically at school (as Covid-19 can attest to.) It’s about learning, growing, and adding to our class community.

Likewise, being a community member is more than just being physically in a community. It’s about benefiting from being in the community, but also taking an active part in that community and giving back.

Good Citizenship Lesson Plans for Middle School, Elementary grades and High School – Table of Contents

What is a Good Citizen? Screenshot of Good Citizenship definition with notes on top: A citizen is someone who is part of a community. A good citizen is someone who also gives back to the community.

School Good Citizenship Definition

How do you define good citizenship?

Being a citizen, and being a good citizen are two very different ideas.

What is a good citizen?

If we look at the dictionary definition of citizen, we see that being a citizen means you’re literally part of that community.

Citizen: a legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized… an inhabitant of a particular town or city.

SOURCE: Google Search: Citizen Definition

So, being a citizen means you’re part of a community. You could be a citizen of a country, or province/state, city, town, school, or even classroom!

But, just because you’re a citizen in your community doesn’t automatically mean you’re a good citizen of that place.

Teaching citizenship means thinking about what we do

Think about it: you can be a student, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good student, right?

  • What is a student? What’re the criteria for being a student? What’s a student supposed to do?
  • What is a good student? Why do we think of some students as “good” students? Is it because they’re compliant and complaisant? Do they memorized facts that they can regurgitate? Is it because they have a growth mindset and an “I can do this” positive attitude?

The bottom line is just because you’re a student, it doesn’t automatically make you a good student.

Likewise, just because you’re a citizen, it doesn’t automatically make you a good citizen.

School Citizenship activities can help our students recognize the connection between

  • being a good student (i.e. an active learner who contribute to the class community) and
  • being a good citizen (i.e. an active community member who helps others and gives back to the community.)

Citizenship is about what we do, not just who we are.

So, Citizenship Activities for Middle School and High School students are an opportunity to get students to reflect on themselves (i.e. self-awareness) as well as their role in society (i.e. social awareness.)

Definition of a Good Citizen:

Good Citizen: someone who is part of a community and also gives back to the community.


So, the important part of being a citizen is that you figure out ways to participate in the community and give back to the community. And, that’s what turns you into a good citizen.

Another strategy to figure out what is a good citizen is to ask the opposite. What would a bad citizen look like? (Or, a citizen who made bad choices.)

  • Brainstorm a list of things that bad citizens might do, then
  • Look through your list and figure out the opposite – what would a good citizen do?

We belong to many different groups of people / communities. Here are some examples:

  • family
  • neighbourhood
  • school
  • city
  • province / state
  • country
  • world

How we help our communities changes based on our age and comfort level.

You could create a bulletin board with ideas generated by students. Then, the bulletin board serves as a visual reminder of things you could do – at home, in the classroom, on the school yard, in the community, etc.

What does Good citizenship look like at home?

Here are some examples of what good citizenship might look like at home.

  • wash dishes
  • help make dinner
  • feed the pet
  • keep your room tidy
  • get the mail
  • take out the trash
  • help parents / adults
  • do chores

Examples of Classroom Citizenship at good citizenship at School

Classroom citizenship is a great way to “think global and act local.”

Here are some examples of what good citizenship might look like at school:

  • participate in classroom conversations
  • help classmates
  • respect other people’s opinions
  • be kind
  • let teachers / adults know if there’s a problem
  • stand up for yourself and others
  • listen to instructions
  • follow classroom rules (i.e. raise your hand to share ideas)
  • ask for help when you need it

Other examples of Good Citizenship outside of the classroom

  • Good citizenship in our community might be looking out for each other. If you see something, say something. It might be voting and participating in conversations about choices our government makes. It might be speaking up about a problem, raising awareness, or using your power to make things right.
  • Good citizenship for our world might look like walking more (instead of driving), choosing products with less packaging, buying at businesses that make ethical choices, becoming informed about issues…

HOW do you teach students to be good citizens? What is citizenship?

What makes a good citizen Lesson Plan Big Idea

It’s very easy to give your students a list of 5 ways to be good citizens!

  • Volunteer
  • Help out in the community
  • Don’t litter
  • Vote
  • Support local business

But, if we give our students a list of ways to be good citizens, are we really teaching them how to be good citizens? Or simply teaching them to be good followers?

A key idea of 21st century compentencies / learning skills is that we need to prepare our students to be able to handle unknown problems by themselves:

Because being part of a community can be hard work:

Global Citizenship Lesson Plans need to start at home

You know that phrase, think global, act local? As teachers, we can encourage this by teaching students HOW to be good citizens… in the classroom and in our school community.

A key part of teaching students to be good citizens is to help them get a handle on concepts of empathy, diversity, fairness, and contributing to the communities that we are a part of.

So we created a good citizen lesson plan / unit to help teachers introduce the CITIZENSHIP character trait (21st Century Competencies)

How to be an active participant:

  • at school,
  • in our local community, and
  • our global community.

After this chapter, students will be able to explain that Citizenship is about:

  1. Being part of a community (i.e. literally a citizen of a country or community)
  2. Giving back to the community (i.e. being a good citizen / an ideal citizen)
  3. Being part of several communities: school, country, global citizen

Students will have the opportunity to:

  • EXPERIENCE increasingly tough choices exploring fairness, empathy, critical thinking, and argument support
  • WATCH a visual representation of global facts and inequity
  • UNDERSTAND what “citizenship” is by using a vocabulary building graphic organizer (Frayer model) to brainstorm features of Citizenship, examples, and non-examples of being a citizen, and finally narrow down essential characteristics of the word.

The concept of citizenship for students can be a little tricky.

There are 3 separate ideas that we explore in these High School and Middle School Citizenship Activities:

What is a citizen, literally?

The dictionary / literal definition of citizen is about “being a citizen of a particular country” (as in having a passport, and having legal rights from the government.)

What is a good citizen? (an active citizen or an “ideal citizen”)?

We also explore the learning skills definition of a citizen, which is really about being a “good” citizen or an “ideal citizen” that is an active participant in society:

  • Do you understand local and global perspectives and address environmental, social, and economic problems through engaged citizenship
  • Do you take action to make a positive difference in the community and the world?
  • Do you participate in physical and virtual communities in a socially responsible and sustainable manner?

What are different communities that you can belong to (and be a citizen of)

We explore being a citizen of a country, being a citizen of your local community / school community, as well as being a global citizen through a series of Citizenship Activities for middle school and high school students.


In this school citizenship lesson package, we:

  • introduce the concepts of empathy, fairness, and respecting different perspectives.
  • allow students to explore citizenship and community involvement by working through 17 question debates to develop critical thinking and the ability to support arguments and consider other points of view from our own.
  • provide discussion points of a YouTube video visually exploring global statistics – if the world were a village of 100..
  • allow for deeper exploration of the concept of “Citizenship” by playing with the term using the Frayer Model of understanding and a Venn diagram.

You get good citizenship worksheets / handouts:

  • Two different versions of a graphic organizer to help students analyze choices in the “Food for Thought” activity debate and sample answer key (Teacher Example)
  • Vocabulary Builder graphic organizer (to develop a deeper understanding of what citizenship means.)
  • Venn Diagram handout for students to clarify the difference between “citizen” and good citizen / “ideal citizen”
  • Student Self Evaluation of their “Citizenship” Learning Skill
  • Chapter Review assessment and answer key.

You also get 3 different versions of the lesson slideshow (79 slides):

  • A link to the Google Slideshow so you can show it to your students right away. (Get started in seconds!).
  • A link to a version of the Google Slideshow that you can make a copy of the presentation. (This way you can edit / tweak the content to fix your exact classroom needs.
  • A powerpoint file that you can download (PPT) and modify. (Edit the presentation to fit your needs, and use the presentation when the internet is down!)
Example of Citizenship Activities for Middle School: Which would you choose? Chips or chocolate? Vacation or cash? Equal or Fair?
Good Citizen Lesson Plan idea: try this simple citizenship activity for middle school / high school students. Explore simple “which would you choose” debates to make connections with bigger issues.



Teachers could use this High School / Middle School Citizenship Activity to introduce the big idea of citizenship and the need to actively participate in the classroom, at school, and beyond.

Being a good citizen at home and school can start with a simple conversation about what citizenship means.

Rather than just brainstorm a to-do list to “help out” around home and school, let’s dive a little deeper. How do we make our communities more “fair”?

Middle School Advisory / Homeroom teachers – Good Citizenship Activities

You can use this package in the first month of class to reflect on citizenship.

You can also use this package throughout the year when your students are getting a little crazy. Sometimes, you need to give a pep talk about respectful communication. These 17 debate questions for students can bring up different opinions. It’s an opportunity to practice respectful dialogue.

Are you a teacher who likes to focus on social justice, diversity, inclusion, or equity issues in your classroom? You’ll love these debate questions. They start “easy” but then build onto “deeper” issues.

It’s a high-interest, interactive way to explore progressively difficult issues:

  • clean water vs medicine…
  • education vs war…
  • racism vs sexism…
  • Hunger – local vs global

English / Literacy / English Language Arts Teachers

This is an opportunity to link into oral communication / debate skills.

Students will be looking into defending their choices with support through oral debate using a written graphic organizer to help them prepare their ideas. This can become a precursor to persuasive paragraph and essay writing. From a Bloom’s Taxonomy perspective, students get a chance to:

  • List ideas about their choice. (REMEMBER)
  • Explain their ideas / concepts (UNDERSTAND)
  • Compare / contrast their ideas with other student points of view (ANALYZE)
  • Justify an opinion by appraising key criteria of their ideas. Then, weigh which criteria might be more important to them. (EVALUATE)
  • Some students may be able to analyze the arguments of people on the other side of the debate, appraise which criteria are most important to them, and then develop a counterargument to change their minds. (CREATE)

Geography / Social Studies / Civics Teachers:

Possible ideas of how you could link these Citizenship Activities for Middle School / High School to the curriculum. (Sample Ontario Curriculum links are included):

  • Roles and Responsibilities of Government and Citizens (Ontario Gr 5)
  • Responding to Global Issues (Ontario Gr 6)
  • Global Inequities – economic development & quality of life (Ontario Gr 8)

School leaders (Principals, Admin, Division Leaders) could use this Character Learning Skills lesson package in their schools to create a common language and exploration of growth mindset.

Good Citizenship Lesson Plans High School

Our goal as educators is to help students be successful in life. We do this by embedding 21st century global competency skills into our curriculum.

High school is an interesting phase. We become so focused on our subject-based specialities, and yet we need to look at basic skills that are common to all subjects and fields.

(And, if you’re new to teaching, chances are you’ll be teaching things that AREN’T your teachable subject, at some point in your career. Welcome to teaching!)

You can edit all of our materials to find your class and grade.

School Activities / Ideas about creating a culture of Good Citizenship, School Community, Diversity or Critical Thinking

This citizenship activity for middle school and high school students consists of 17 mini debate questions. The “Good Citizenship” Lesson Plan provides an opportunity for students to develop critical thinking skills and communication skills.

You could use this package and then explore ways students could help make the world a better place – both locally and globally.

Some of the debate questions begin to look at equity education concepts of empathy and fairness.

Common Language, Common Learning Goals

This unit provides a systematic way for a grade, division, or school to explore learning skills / character development as a framework of delivering provincial / state curriculum.

The debate questions provides everyone with a common experience between classes so that students can support each other, even though they’re in different classes. This is an opportunity for classes and extra-curricular clubs to develop social justice projects and open ended deep learning projects.

Doing the same (Frayer model) vocabulary building graphic organizer provides a common tool / framework that students and teachers can build around in other areas (i.e. math concepts, grammar concepts, science concepts, etc).

Launch a school year of discussion with these Citizenship Activities for Middle School and High School

Ultimately, this chapter is meant to kick off a year / lifetime of discussion, as opposed to being a one-off activity.

If all classes start off with the same approach, then throughout the year, as teachers do different activities, you could still connect it back to concepts of perspective, and recognizing that it’s okay for other people to disagree with you – can you empathize with their perspective, even though you don’t agree?

what makes a good citizen lesson plan screenshot showing that you can edit the files for your specific needs using powerpoint, word, or google slides.
Save HOURS of prep work. Get the Citizenship lesson package

Digital Resources / 1:1 Google Classroom lesson plan

On July 10, 2020, this product was updated to a Distance Learning / Remote Learning / Google Classroom-ready format (version 2.0).

If you already bought this Citizenship Activity for Middle School / High School package, you are able to upgrade to the newer version.

  • Just sign in to your TpT account and go to the citizenship product page.
  • You will have access to the Google Drive folders for this product.

What’s new in this version?

The main content of this remote learning lesson plan update is identical to the original (version 1.0)

But now, this middle school / high school citizenship lesson plan package contains additional files to make it easier for online use and distance learning.

  • The files are all in Google Drive for 1-click easy copying of the lesson folder into your Google Drive
  • The slideshow in Google Slides format includes 1 large file with all of the slides but now you also get 8 smaller slideshow files for each lesson. (i.e. for easy uploading to Google Classroom assignments by lesson): ( File 3 Lesson A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1, C1, C2)
  • 6 NEW lesson review handouts for lessons that didn’t previously have Good citizenship worksheets / handouts ( File 4 A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1)
  • The vocabulary builder ( File 5b ) and the Venn Diagram ( File 5d ) are now converted into Google Slides format (so students can type responses directly in the graphic organizers.


Create the following assignments in your Google Classroom or LMS.

Good Citizenship Assignment #1: 

  • File 3a Lesson A1 slideshow  (Student can view file)
  • File 4a Review – Lesson A1 (Make a copy for each student)

Good Citizenship Assignment #2: 

  • File 3a Lesson A2 slideshow (Student can view file)
  • File 5a Handout – option 1  (Make a copy for each student)
  • File 4a Review – Lesson A2 (Make a copy for each student)

Good Citizenship Assignment #3: 

  • File 3a Lesson A3 slideshow (Student can view file)
  • File 5a Handout – option 2 (Make a copy for each student)
  • File 4a Review – Lesson A3 (Make a copy for each student)

Good Citizenship Assignment #4: 

  • File 3a Lesson A4 slideshow (Student can view file)
  • File 5a Handout – option 2 (Make a copy for each student)
  • File 4a Review – Lesson A4 (Make a copy for each student)

Good Citizenship Assignment #5: 

  • File 3a Lesson A5 slideshow (Student can view file)
  • File 5a Handout – option 2 (Make a copy for each student)
  • File 4a Review – Lesson A5 (Make a copy for each student)

Good Citizenship Assignment #6: 

  • Link to video:
  • File 3b Lesson B1 slideshow (Student can view file)
  • File 4b Review – Lesson B1 (Make a copy for each student)

Good Citizenship Assignment #7: 

  • File 3c Lesson C1 slideshow (Student can view file)
  • File 5b Vocabulary Builder (Make a copy for each student)
  • File 5d Venn Diagram – Google Classroom version

Good Citizenship Assignment #8: 

  • File 3c Lesson C2 slideshow (Student can view file)
  • File 6 Student Self-Evaluation handout (Make a copy for each student)
  • File 7a Chapter Review (Make a copy for each student)

Quick Start Guide OPTION 2: FACE to FACE Learning 

  • Teach using the Google Slideshow (FILE #3) – all of the slides are in this file
  • Lesson Plan (File 2b) identifies which slides and handouts you need for each lesson.


This is based on a 50-minute teaching period with around 40-45 minutes of content per lesson.

(Let’s be honest. It takes your students a few minutes to wander into class, and you’ll probably need a few minutes at the end of class to go over homework or administrivia stuff for your class.)

Depending on your teaching style and the chattiness of your class, you may find that you can get through all 8 lessons in 5 days… or it stretches out to two full weeks (10 days).

TEACHER TIP: If you’re short on time, pick and choose the debate questions to use with your class.


DAY / LESSON 1 – Part 1 Activity Food for Thought – SLIDES 1-16 – 50 min

  • Introduction – What is a citizen (slide 1-2) – 5 minutes
  • Activity Food for Thought – Round 1 (slide 3 – 16) – 45 minutes
    • Introduction (slide 3 – 7)
    • Debate Question 1: Chips vs Chocolate (slide 8)
    • How to play (slide 9-13)
    • Debate Question 2: Early vs Night (slide 14)
    • Debate Question 3: Microwave vs Oven (slide 15)
    • Debate Question 4: Fork vs Spoon (slide 16)

DAY / LESSON 2 – Part 1 Activity Food for Thought (Cont) – SLIDES 17-30 – 50 min

  • Activity Food for Thought – Round 2 (slide 17-22) – 25 minutes
    • Review how we play (slide 18) – 5 min
    • Debate Question 5: Only child vs Siblings (slide 19-20) – 5 min
    • Debate Question 6: Left Hand vs Right Hand and videos (slide 21-23) – 15 min
  • Activity Food for Thought – Round 3 – 25 minutes
    • Intro + Handout (slide 24-28) – 5 min
      Note there are 2 versions of the handout. Choose one, or both versions as an extension.
    • Debate Question 7: Sight vs Hearing (slide 29) – 10 min
    • Debate Question 8: Dog vs cat (slide 30) – 10 min

DAY / LESSON 3 – Part 1 Activity Food for Thought (Cont) – SLIDES 31-36 – 45 min

  • Activity Food for Thought – Round 3 continued – 45 minutes
    • Review what we did last time (slide 31) – 5 min
    • Debate Question 9: Vacation vs $500 (slide 32) – 10 min
    • Debate Question 10: Social Media vs YouTube (slide 33) – 10 min
    • Debate Question 11: 5 instruments vs 5 languages (slide 34) – 10 min
    • Debate Question 12: Uniform vs No Uniform (slide 35-36) – 10 min

DAY / LESSON 4 – Part 1 Activity Food for Thought (Cont) – SLIDES 37-45 – 50 min

  • Activity Food for Thought – Round 4 – 50 minutes
  • Introduction of heavy stuff (slide 37) – 2 min
  • Minds on – 2 quotes (slide 38 – 42) – 15 min
    • What is empathy
    • What is fair?
  • Review what we did (slide 43) – 3 min
  • Good citizenship Worksheets Handouts / Respect
  • Debate Question 13: Clean water vs Medicine (slide 44) – 15 min
  • Debate Question 14: Food vs Shelter (slide 45) – 15 min

DAY / LESSON 5 – Part 1 Activity Food for Thought (Cont) SLIDES 46-49 – 50 min

  • Activity Food for Thought – Round 4 continued – 50 minutes
    • Review respect and note taking (slide 46) – 5 min
    • Debate Question 15: Racism vs Sexism (slide 47) – 15 min
    • Debate Question 16: Education vs War (slide 48) – 15 min
    • Debate Question 17: Helping your students vs helping a country (slide 49) – 15 min


DAY / LESSON 6 – Part 2 Video – SLIDES 50-56 – 45 min

  • Part 2 Video – 45 minutes
    • Introduction – Minds On (slide 50-53) – 20 minutes
    • Watch video (World as a 100 people) (slide 54-56) – 25 minutes


DAY / LESSON 7 – Part 3 Vocabulary Builder – SLIDES 57-74 – 40 min

  • Introduce Part 3 – Understand (Vocabulary Builder) – Slide 57
  • Graphic Organizer set up – Slide 58-59
  • Minds on – Slides 60-61
  • Filling out the graphic organizer – Slides 62-65
  • Revising graphic organizer – Slides 66-70
  • Other Communities – Slide 71
  • Summary – Slides 72-74

DAY / LESSON 8 – Self Evaluation / Review – SLIDES 75-79 – 40 min

  • Student Self Evaluation – slide 75 – 78 – 10 min
  • Chapter Review Test – Slide 79 – 30 min

Here’s what you get in the What Makes a Good Citizen Lesson Plan ZIPPED FILE

Exploring the Six Cs – Chapter 2 – CITIZENSHIP (Learning Skills)

This middle school / high school citizenship lesson plan is available in PDF format for printing. Pretty.

  • 79 Slides!
  • Customizable Google Slides files so you can change the slideshow to fit your classroom needs.

Good citizenship worksheets HANDOUT: 21 Graphic Organizers to Analyze choices (PDF)

2 Versions

  • a simple version breaking down ideas for two different perspectives
  • a more complex version identifying and weighing key characteristics / criteria per perspective

Answer Key provided

HANDOUT: “Citizenship” Vocabulary Builder (PDF)

Adapted from questions and answers in Carol Dweck’s book on Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. What is your mindset when it comes to:

  • Frayer Model graphic organizer for “CITIZENSHIP 
  • Venn diagram comparing “dictionary definition” and “learning skills” definition of “citizenship”
  • Answer Key provided

HANDOUT: Citizenship Learning Skills Self Assessment (PDF)

Student Self Evaluation of their “Citizenship” Learning Skill at the end of the week.

You can use the same handout at 3 different times in the term to get diagnostic, formative, and summative information to help with Learning Skills comments for the Report Card.

HANDOUT: Chapter Review Assessment (PDF)

7 short answer questions to see what students remember from the week’s worth of lessons. 

Answer Key is provided.

Screenshot of handouts, answer keys, and lesson plans for debates / citizenship activity for middle school and high school

What GOOD CITIZENSHIP lesson plans do you use in your classroom?

Citizenship education is more than just brainstorming a list of classroom rules and good citizen poster making.

Class discussions can help show students that active citizenship means standing up and helping to make our communities better.

Use this middle school / high school citizenship lesson plan package to have 17 “safe” debates and class discussions. Once students know the ground rules for healthy discussions, you can dive into your own class discussions and teachable movements around controversial but important topics: Black Lives Matter, the Russian War in Ukraine, pandemic responses by governments, and the latest school TikTok trend.