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Time Frame

3 class periods of 70 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups

Life Skills

  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Communication
  • Social & Civic Responsibility


Carolee Cluny


Enduring Understanding:

  • Students will understand the significance and impact of the Constitution on everyday life.
    Essential Questions:
  • What were the ideas that influenced the creation of the Constitution?
  • How did the philosophies of John Locke relate to the basic tenets of the Constitution?
    What is the "state of nature" philosophy?


    Paper, Pen
    movie-Lord of the Flies
    NR black and white version (available from

    Background for Teachers

    This lesson helps students understand the most important philosophical ideas underlying our Constitutional government.
    There are ideas accepted by almost everyone in the colonies even before the Revolutionary War. These basic ideas were developed and refined by philosophers like John Locke (1623-1704) and by many others in Europe and in the colonies. The political philosophy Locke wrote about is often called the Natural Rights Philosophy.
    The Natural Rights Philosophy is based on imagining what life would be like if there were no government. Locke and others called this imaginary situation a state of nature.
    This lesson helps students understand the basis for the formation of government and states.

    Student Prior Knowledge

    Students should understand the nature of the state. This should include the definition of a state, the characteristics of a state, the theories of how states came into being, and the basic tenets of Natural Rights Philosophy. This should include a discussion of John Locke and other philosophers that contributed to these theories.

    Intended Learning Outcomes

    Students will understand the significance and impact of the Constitution on everyday life.
    Students will understand the ideas that influenced the creation of the Constition.
    Students understand the philosophies of Locke.
    Students understand the state of nature philosophy.

    Instructional Procedures

    Students would have already had the basic vocabulary and a lecture/discussion on the basics of the formation of the state.

    Anticipatory Set-Lead the students into a discussion of imagining what society would be like without government.
    Explore the possible reasons why governments are created.

    Lesson: Survival

    1. Hand out assignments-Survival
    2. Divide students into small groups of no more than four people.
      Teacher must model and go over directions with the students.
      Students must be reminded that the questions will be answered by the group and they must try to reach a consensus.
    3. Students will break up into groups at this point.
      Groups should be diverse, including both male and female, having different opinions, and not being with their friends that are like minded.
      Numbering off can be helpful.
    4. Students will begin a discussion of the assignment questions and all group members will answer the questions on a separate piece of paper.
    5. Give students approximately thirty(30) minutes to answer the questions as a group.
      Monitor the groups carefully to make sure that students are on task.
      Teacher can pose "what if or about" questions to the group while monitoring progress.
    6. The class comes back together as whole and discusses each group responses to the questions.
      Each group should share their responses.
    7. This will lead to the introduction of the film:
      Are you a survivor?
      Do you have the skills and the knowledge to stay alive in a life threatening situation? If you're not sure, you need to watch the following film: Lord of the Flies. A group of boys are stranded on an island much like you were in the simulation. See if they act like you (imagine yourself acting).
      Hand out assignment "Lord of the Flies-making connections." Go over the directions with the class carefully.
    8. This film takes approximately two class periods based on a trimester system-70 minute classes.
    9. Debriefing questions for the film- Did the boys need a government or rules?
      What happens in a state of nature?
      Can we live in a state of nature?
    10. For further assessment-hand out ,"Lord of the Flies-In Retrospect..." This is a great critical thinking and reflection assessment.

    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    Enrichment-Challenge students
    Students can do library/Internet research on one ancient government and report their findings to the class, individually, or in small groups.
    Students can also research for a civilization that existed without a government.

    Assessment Plan

  • Created: 08/05/2002
    Updated: 02/01/2018