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Standing Up Against Injustice


In this lesson, students will work in groups to review five legal cases in which attorney William Kunstler played a prominent role and consider the power and limitations of the legal system to bring about positive social change. The clips used in this lesson are from the film William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, a documentary on the life and legal cases of attorney William Kunstler. They are all accessible online.
Curriculum Link: Author: Cari Ladd, M.Ed.

Expected Student Outcomes/Objectives

• Form a personal opinion about standing up to injustice.
• Research and summarize a legal case related to civil rights.
• Evaluate the power and limitations of the U.S. legal system to bring about social change.

Description of Activities

After an introduction to Kunstler’s philosophy, students will view video clips that contextualize much of the legal work defending activists who stood up to injustice. Then, in groups, students will review material on different cases Kunstler argued, and present the cases to the class. Follow-up discussion questions are provided, as well as extension activities to address such issues as prisoner’s rights, housing discrimination, and FBI surveillance.

Instructional Materials Needed

Internet access and equipment to show the class online resources

Instructional Materials Provided

Complete lesson plan instructions, with embedded links to resource materials and video clips, and suggestions for extension activities.

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Additional criteria

Cost: Free

Curriculum type: Lesson

Academic subject areas: History/Social Sciences; Career-Technical Education

States' Career Clusters: Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Secruity; Government & Public Administration

California Industry sector(s): Public Services

Duration: Two 50 minute periods

Grade Targets: 9, 10, 11, 12

Levels of Expertise for CTE: Capstone/Advanced, Concentration/Skill building

Standards Addressed: Detailed documentation of alignment with Common Core, NGSS, C3 or CTE Standards provided

Keywords: legal argument, legal cases, political prosecutions, 1960s and 1970s, social movements

Source: Organization/Publisher-developed

Curriculum Link:

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