Citizens of the United States watched in shock on Jan. 6 as pro-Trump supporters, who continue to maintain that the presidential election has been rigged, stormed the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., in an effort to disrupt the counting of electoral votes–a process mandated by the U.S. Constitution.
Many in the U.S. cite the tradition of a peaceful transition of power, despite the outcome of any election, as a guarantee in the nation–and many were stunned by the mob’s attack on a federal building and its attempt to halt democratic processes and prevent Joe Biden from becoming the nation’s next president in just a few short weeks.
January 6, 2021 calls for more than surface-level lessons on what our nation’s democracy is, what it stands for, and where our country is headed. Discussing events like this aren’t always easy, and teaching strategies will certainly vary with students’ ages.
Here are some resources educators can use to help their students process and understand what happened in the U.S. Capitol Building this week.
1. The New York Times offers a lesson plan on the topic. Teaching Resources for the Storming of the U.S. Capitol by Pro-Trump Extremists includes dozens of lesson plan ideas, activities and Times materials for exploring the causes and consequences of this assault on democracy in the United States.
2. PBS offers three ways to teach insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, intended for grades 6-12.
3. We Are Teachers recognizes that while we’re all still trying to process the events of Jan. 6, teachers also must be prepared to help their students learn about what happened. The site offers resources and tips to do just that.
4. Newsela offers a number of articles and insight on the events.
5. Teaching Tolerance shares resources to help educators guide students as they consider that events of Jan. 6 and discuss what led up to them and where the nation goes from here.
6. Facing History‘s resources can help educators teach their students about the insurrection in D.C., and the site will be continually updated with new ideas and resources.
7. This is an excellent time to teach the importance of critical evaluation when it comes to news and media resources. Common Sense Media offers a number of activities to do just that.