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Crazy Laws: There Must Have Been a Good Reason?


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Subjects

  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts
    --Visual Arts
  • Social Studies
    --Civics
    --Government

Grade

  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

Investigate some crazy laws on Law Day, May 1.

Objectives

Students

  • reflect on the circumstances that might have resulted in lawmakers passing some laws that seem pretty crazy.
  • reflect on current laws that might seem outdated 50 years from now.
  • illustrate with humor one of the laws they consider crazy.

Keywords

law, lawmaker, ordinance

Materials Needed

  • photocopy Loony Laws onto a transparency (Copy only page 6 from this resource. Then cut from or block the link to the Web site dumblaws.com that appears at the bottom of the transparency; that site includes many laws that have been debunked and it contains some advertising that might be considered inappropriate for students.)
  • drawing paper, supplies
  • additional sources of "loony laws" (provided)

Lesson Plan

In this lesson students will investigate some crazy laws that are still on the books. There must be good reasons why some of those laws were passed. What might those reasons have been?

Learning About
The Law

The "Loony Law" resource used in this lesson is from the University of North Carolina's School of Government. The complete resource, Modeling Good Citizenship for the Next Generation, includes many practical ideas for involving students in a study of government and laws. The ideas come from North Carolina high-school teachers, but many of them can be adapted for use in the middle grades. The activities include a cooperative group activity (see page 4 of the document) in which students respond to scenarios that might occur in any community.

Introduce students to a dozen illustrated Loony Laws.
Note: At the above link, scroll down to page 6 to find the illustrated laws. We recommend copying this Loony Laws resource onto a transparency. Before projecting the transparency on a screen, cut off or cover the bottom part of the page that has discussion questions and a link to a site called dumblaws.com. That site includes many laws that are no longer on the books and advertising content that might be inappropriate for your students.
Apparently, some of the laws illustrated on this resource are still on the books -- but one has to wonder

Why might each law have been passed?
What good reasons might there have been for making such laws?

After talking about the possible reasons why each law exists, discuss with students the other thinking questions that appear at the bottom of the Loony Laws illustrated resource.

Extend the Lesson
Have students track down additional crazy laws (see Resources below) and illustrate one law in a style that mimics that used on the Loony Laws page. Create a class book of illustrated laws. Discuss what circumstances might have led to the passage of those laws.

Resources
Note: You should preview, and perhaps hand-select, the laws your students might illustrate. Some of the laws listed on the last resource below might not be appropriate for classroom use.

Assessment

Have students

  • select one of the illustrations and write about the circumstances that might have led to passage of that law, or
  • write a general essay in which they summarize their reasons why so many "loony laws" can still be found on the books.

Lesson Plan Source

EducationWorld.com

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

FINE ARTS: Visual Arts
GRADES 5 - 8
NA-VA.5-8.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
NA-VA.5-8.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 9 - 12
NA-VA.9-12.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
NA-VA.9-12.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.9-12.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

LANGUAGE ARTS: English
GRADES K - 12
NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

SOCIAL SCIENCES: Civics
GRADES 5 - 8
NSS-C.5-8.1 Civic Life, Politics, and Government
NSS-C.5-8.2 Foundations of the American Political System
NSS-C.5-8.3 Principles of Democracy
GRADES 9 - 12
NSS-C.9-12.1 Civic Life, Politics, and Government
NSS-C.9-12.2 Foundations of the Political System
NSS-C.9-12.3 Principles of Democracy

See more Lesson Plans of the Day in our Lesson Plan of the Day Archive. (There you can search for lessons by subject too.)

For additional social studies lesson plans, see these Education World resources:

Education World®
Copyright© 2008 Education World

Originally published 04/20/2006
Last updated 03/28/2008





 

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