IP 42 Law and Justice 2 Course DevelopmentUnit 2: History & Structure of the American Legal System

Unit Details

  • Course Weight: 10%
  • Hours of Instruction: 15+/-
  • Course Assessment Questions: 10
  • Standard: The Learner will be able to understand the history and structure of the american legal system (RBT: B2)


  1. Describe the development of the court system in America.
  2. Evaluate the judicial system’s role in our society today.
  3. Describe the development of the court system in America.
  4. Evaluate the judicial system’s role in our society today.
  5. Explain the concept of the dual-court system.
  6. Compare state and federal court systems.
  7. Explain criminal and civil court structures and processes.

My Lesson

  • Feel free to use my plans as a guide. My course is based on 52 minute class periods.
  • My students in the second year course are 10th, 11th or 12th graders.
  • These materials may need updating. Be sure to check web links.
  • I break this into 2 parts for easier digestion for the students.
  • I have many activities in this unit
  • My goal is to have the students understand how law provides protection and stabilizes society
  • Also, throughout the year the kids are in 3-4 student "law firms." These "firms" do group work all year. The start by creating a business plan for a law firm to learn the business side of law firms.
  • We also read the novel Blacks Law by Roy Black (not the reference book). We are required to have students read novels. Plus - this book allows us to talk about what lawyers do.

Daily Outline

  1. Discuss “Why did people form into societies” and “What did they then expect from society” and “What makes a society just?” Discuss patriarchal justice, blood lust, animism and early justice systems. Assign historical figure project.
  2. Notes, review Cornell Notes
  3. Notes (magazines, dues, forms)
  4. Notes, Assign Criminal Procedure Chapter 1, review Cornell Notes for readings
  5. Notes, Assign Blacks Law 9-15, 173-178, review Sequence Chains
  6. Review
  7. Test
  8. Bills of Rights Artifact, Creating a Law Firm
  9. Notes, Chapter 1 due
  10. Notes
  11. Notes
  12. Notes
  13. Control Holds, Blacks Law #1: 9-15, 173-178
  14. Review
  15. Test

My Dropbox

All the files I used in the this unit can be viewed and downloaded. To print, be sure to download first. Click Here.

Lesson Plan

You may find using this file to design your lesson plan useful.

Additional Resources

CTE Online

Offers free online content for teachers. Registration required.
  • None for this unit


Texas Education Agency has online teacher materials for Texas courses.
Principles of LPSCS
  • Unit 1: History and Development of Criminal Law & Unit 3: Court Roles, Processes and Procedures Click Here