2nd Grade New York

Civic Ideals and Practices

Through the compelling question “Do we have to have rules?” this annotated inquiry investigates the relationship between rules and values as well as the role that rules play in maintaining a civil society. This question acknowledges outright that many students wonder about their roles in and responsibility for rule making. It gives voice to their legitimate concerns about the source of rules, the benefits of following them, and the consequences of not doing so. This inquiry taps into a common set of ideas that students have about the authority of rules and validates their honest hesitancy to follow rules simply because they are told to do so. Students learn that there is a key relationship between what we value and the rules we develop, follow, and enforce. Rules and laws are intended to express the shared values of a community, acting as statutes to uphold and protect such principles as fairness, equality, respect, and safety.


Compelling Question:

Do We Have to Have Rules?

Staging the Question:

Brainstorm what a rule is and why it is considered important to follow rules.

Supporting Question What are my values and how do I show them?

Formative Task List examples of values and explain how we show our values.

Sources Source A: What Are My Values?
Source B: Image bank: Help Wanted ads from 1915 and 2015


Supporting Question Can we make classroom rules that reflect our values?

Formative Task Categorize values and establish a set of classroom rules.

Sources Source A: “Great Seal of the United States”
Source B: Excerpt from the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA)


Supporting Question What would happen if we did not have rules?

Formative Task Create a two-sided argument chart with reasons for and against having rules.

Sources Source A: “School Ditches Rules and Loses Bullies”
Source B: “Why Do We Need Rules?”

Summative Performance Task

Argument: Do we have to have rules? Construct an argument supported with evidence that addresses the question of whether rules are necessary.
Extension: Express these arguments in a letter that responds to a kindergartner who asks the compelling question.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Review the school rules in light of whether they reflect all students' values.
Assess: Discuss any rules that do not reflect the class values and consider whether there are alternative rules that would be more satisfactory.
Act: Write a letter to the school principal requesting a meeting to discuss any rules that could be revised.