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Grades 6-8: Disability, Civic Engagement, and Government

A group of ADAPT Activists protest for accessible public transportation in the street outside a transit center. The activists are mostly wheelchair users. They hold or wear handmade signs, including one saying, "I can't even get to the back of the bus."
I Can't Event Get to the Back of the Bus. ADAPT Protest. (1990). Photo by Tom Olin. Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Grades 6-8 Unit Overview: Disability, Civic Engagement, and Government

The Unit Overview features a grid of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies and tools employed, standards, and a list of nearly 30 primary sources used in the unit with thumbnails for each. (Lists of primary sources in lesson plans include hyperlinks to sources as readable text. Lesson plans detail the UDL strategies and tools that they use.) The Unit Overview also lists all secondary sources and background materials for teachers used in the unit. 

This unit works particularly well in a course on civics and government. The intro lesson introduces key information and can be useful to check student knowledge and experiences. Lesson 1 is essential to introduce the unit's study of disability. Lessons 2 & 3 delves into work for disability rights, including transformative legislation. In lesson 4, students apply what they have learned about civic action to research, plan, and carry out their own civic engagement project. (This lesson is also used for Grades 9-12.) Lesson 5 can stand alone or fit within the unit; it adds disability rights as an option for study of historic Supreme Court cases. Link to Grades 6-8 Unit Overview

Grades 6-12 - Intro Lesson: Introduction to Disability History

Introductory lesson slides call students to use words about disability with respect. The slides also include a definition of disability and feature pictures from the Library of Congress that show tools for access. Students generate questions. 

Grades 6-8 - Lesson 1: What Are Disability Rights? 

Students consider disability and discuss disability rights through analysis of images of disability rights leaders. Students discuss how the class and broader society can be inclusive. Students commit to use words about disability with respect. 

Grades 6-8 - Lesson 2: Disability Rights Activism

Students use the Question Formulation Technique to generate questions about disability rights. Two case study handouts aid study of citizen participation by disability rights activists Lois Curtis and Ed Roberts. Students use a RAFT process to make an argument about disability rights. 

Grades 6-8 - Lesson 3: Disability Rights Legislation

Students study the Disability Rights Movement through primary sources posted in a carousel activity and through analysis of secondary sources on the 1990 ADA and IDEA federal legislation. 

Grades 6-8 - Lesson 4: Inclusive Civics Project - Disability Rights  

Lesson 4 offers an extensive–and optional process to guide research, planning, and organizing civic engagement projects that are genuinely inclusive. The lesson also offers resources to work on disability rights projects. 

Grades 6-8 - Lesson 5: Supreme Court Case: Olmstead v. L.C. 

In lesson 5, students analyze and report on a 1999 landmark disability-related decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. Other students would research and report on other landmark decisions. Students study the story of plaintiff Lois Curtis (L.C.), beginning in lesson 2.

Screen cap of the cover of the Grades 6-8 unit overview, featuring photo of  ADAPT Activists. The activists are mostly wheelchair users. They hold or wear handmade signs, including one saying, "I can't even get to the back of the bus."
Grades 6-8 Unit Overview: Disability, Civic Engagement, and Government
Link to a google doc of the grades 6-8 Unit Overview.
A photograph of President George H.W. Bush signing the Americans with Disabilities Act into law. He is seated at a table outside, there is a fountain in the background. Four other people surround the table, three men and one woman, two men are using wheelchairs. Justin Dart sits to the president's left, wearing his trademark cowboy hat, a suit, and a button that supports the ADA on his lapel.
Grades 6-12 Lesson: Introduction to Disability History

Link to a google doc of the grades 6-12 lesson: Introduction to Disability History. 

Includes slides. 

A poster featuring a drawing of a young woman looking up towards the viewer. She has short black hair and wears glasses and a T-shirt that says "Disabled & Proud" and has a plaid button down shirt over the top. The poster says "We the future are building Disability Justice."
Grades 6-8 - Lesson 1: What Are Disability Rights? 

Link to a google doc of lesson 1 for grades 6-8. 

 

 

A diverse group of ADAPT activist surround a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. The activists are young and old, black and white, ambulatory and wheelchair users. The group is gathered around the base of the statue, most of them are sitting around it in a clump. Other activists in the background are at the entrance of a building, showing the lack of accessibility to wheelchair users via the building's steps.
Grades 6-8 Lesson 2: Disability Rights Activism
Link to a google doc of lesson 2 for grades 6-8. 
A photo taken in the chambers of the US House of Representatives. Justin Dart, a white man who is sitting in a wheelchair and wearing a suit and a cowboy hat, shakes hands with Reverend Jesse Jackson, an African American man with a mustache who is also wearing a suit.
Grades 6-8 Lesson 3: Disability Rights Legislation
Link to a google doc of lesson 3 for grades 6-8. 
A photograph of activist Tony Young on a street in Washington, D.C. with the Capitol Dome in the background. Young is wearing a suit and uses a motorized wheelchair.
Grades 6-8 Lesson 4: Inclusive Civics Project - Disability Rights
Link to a google doc of lesson 4 for grades 6-8. 
A group picture in the Oval Office. President Obama, wearing a suit, is holding a large picture frame in front of a group of four other people. To his right stands Lois Curtis, an African American woman with short curly hair wearing a blazer, gestures at the picture frame that holds her artwork.
Grades 6-8 Lesson 5: Supreme Court Case: Olmstead v. L.C.
Link to a google doc of lesson 5 for grades 6-8. 

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