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FDR and the Supreme Court
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Cartoon of Senate Debates
Lesson Plans for FDR and the Supreme Court

Lesson 1: Analyzing the Letters

Estimated Class Time: 2 to 3 class periods

Description: This lesson provides a general structure for thoughtfully reading and interrogating the letters sent to President Roosevelt from constituents around the country. Through a variety of tasks that might be combined or employed separately by teachers, students are provided with an opportunity to share the impact of FDR's controversial court proposal with those who experienced it first hand.

Lesson 2: A Sample Document Based Question

Estimated Class time: 1 to 2 class periods

Description: Students of history are increasingly being required to analyze and synthesize primary sources. Whether as a lesson strategy or a formal assessment, the Document Based Question can provide an important experience for students undertaking the study of their nation's past. This lesson offers teachers a sample DBQ on the Supreme Court controversy as well as a variety of resources to employ in assembling a DBQ adapted for their own use.

Lesson 3: Advocating a Point of View

Estimated Class Time: 3 to 5 class periods

Description: This lesson offers students a chance to exercise and increase their technological skills as they advocate a particular viewpoint relating to the Supreme Court controversy. Working in small groups, students will assume the role of publicists in political action committees. They will use desktop publishing software to design and publish a newsletter or brochure, which represents the ideas of their constituents and captures the essential arguments of their committee's point of view.

Lesson 4: FDR and the Reorganization of the Judiciary

Estimated Class Time: 5 to 10 class periods (This lesson consists of several parts and each may be adapted to meet the needs and time schedule of individual teachers and students)

Description: Students will carefully investigate formal speeches, constituent letters, political cartoons and other commentary related to FDR's Supreme Court Reorganization proposal. In a lesson designed to lead pupils to an understanding of the complexities of the political process each student will assume the character of one of the personalities engaged in the debate during the 1930's and formally advocate their character's viewpoint in a simulated press briefing/ news conference.

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