One of the best ways to promote civic engagement is to put students in touch with local government and law. Local government often has more power and influence over local matters than any other level, and there are many avenues for students to participate in and explore their local level. Many activities can help students understand how to access information and influence decision-makers at the local level.


Look for opportunities to extend lessons by “localizing” concepts and topics. Assign students to learn and then report about local procedures and laws. For example, you might ask students to do a WebQuest of the websites of their local government to find out what services and resources they offer, how to contact decision makers, or how regular people can interact with the government online. This is sometimes referred to as “e-government.” Alternatively, ask students to follow a local news story or local group attempting to improve their community.