Civics Education Resource Site

The First 100 Days

The 2020 election season come with its share of twists and turns. IllinoisCivics.org is committed to supporting classrooms in processing the election. Below are resources to help address common questions you and your students might have at this critical juncture in the history of our republic.

strategies to discuss the election and its aftermath with students

An IllinoisCivics.org blog post from October 2020 shared resources from Teaching Tolerance, Facing History and Ourselves, Project Zero, iCivics, and more to help classrooms reflect, revisit norms, and have ongoing civil dialogue about the election.

helping students understand how the peaceful transfer of power is designed to work

iCivics designed an infographic around the Peaceful Transfer of Power and the Bill of Rights Institute published this timely lesson on Contentious Elections and the Peaceful Transfer of Power.

Did the youth vote make a difference?

Our friends at the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) are analyzing the data and updating their Election Week 2020 documenting youth turnout and impact in battleground states daily.

What does the President's Cabinet do? How does one become a member of the Cabinet?

  • Civics 101 Podcast from New Hampshire Public Radio has an episode that explains the role of the Cabinet. They also have an Executive Branch Starter Kit with a mnemonic device students can use to learn the executive departments in order of creation.
  • KQED has a lesson plan about the President's Cabinet.
  • A Very Big Branch from iCivics helps students learn how the executive departments and agencies regulate and enforce governmental policies, and they explore the roles and responsibilities of the presidential cabinet.
  • C-Span Classroom has a Bell Ringer about the Role of the President's Cabinet.
  • Politico, the Washington Post, and The New York Times all recently did pieces speculating who might serve in President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet.

the significance of the first 100 days of a presidency

  • For over two centuries, American political offices have peacefully transferred power after every election. Use this infographic from iCivics to show students how precedent, tradition, and legitimacy have helped create this democratic norm. Consider the importance of a peaceful transfer of power and why it is important to a democratic form of government.
  • The FDR Library provides a historical perspective of the first 100 days of a presidency during times of crisis.
  • The First 100 Days lesson from our civic learning partners at Mikva Challenge has students identify what they think should be the top priorities for the new President and Vice President of the United States and how they should use their first 100 days to make an impact. Students will also explore the idea of political capital.
  • The History Channel has "fast facts" on the "First 100 Days."
  • How does Washington's First 100 Days stack up against his successors? This lesson from Mt. Vernon helps students explore this question.
  • This 4 minute interview from NPR answers listener questions about the importance of a president's first 100 days.
  • NYT Upfront Magazine has a middle school level appropriate article on the challenges facing Joe Biden, which can provide a needed context to Biden’s 100 day promises.
  • PBS News Hour has video resources and can be used to teach remotely hybrid or traditional environments.

resources to help classrooms process the recent violence at the U.S. capitol

  • Facing History and Ourselves created a Teaching Idea: Responding to Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol with strategies to support educators and students.
  • The Social Studies Chat Network hosted a special discussion where educators crowdsourced resources for classroom use.
  • The Bill of Rights Institute created a playlist of resources considering principles, processes, and examples of constitutionally guided transitions of power.
  • Share My Lesson from AFT has curated video clips and lesson plans to help facilitate meaningful discussions with students and communities about the attempt of a mob to infiltrate the capital and impede election certification in Washington, DC, and to put a focus on how crucial the foundations of democracy are to the preservation of a functional government.
  • Three ways to teach the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol from PBS News Hour Extra includes video, text, and discussion questions.
  • The Conversation has a powerful piece, How should schools teach kids about what happened at the US Capitol on Jan. 6? We asked 6 education experts.

Resources to help students understand terms such as insurrection, sedition, treason, and coups

Helping students understand how the impeachment process works

The role of the National Guard

  • Civics 101 Podcast has a brief primer on the history and role of the National Guard.
  • Civics 101 Podcast has an overview of the Posse Comitatus Act, passed in 1878 to prevent the military from enforcing laws.
  • Share My Lesson has a lesson on the Mobilization of the National Guard Amid Protests.