NCSS Standard X: Civic Ideals & Practices

            Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic republic.


I. Standard Addressed:

            d. Practice forms of civic discussion and participation consistent with the ideals of citizens in a democratic republic.


II. Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will organize a mock city council meeting to illustrate the issues and concerns that a real city council faces day to day.


III. Evaluation:

            Students will be evaluated on their participation in the mock city council. This means their cooperation within their groups, contribution to the proposal, contracts, loans, and city council meeting. Group members can evaluate each other on their contributions, along with the teacher's observations.


IV. Curriculum:          12th Grade Civics

            This lesson can be modified to be used in economics classes, political science classes, and environmental science classes.


V. Instruction:

            Day 1-

            1.) Students will watch a public access cable TV tape of a real city council meeting to see the format.

            2.) If available, a city council member will come to the class to talk about the format of meetings, why they are held, the types of issues discussed, past issues, and his/her own experiences, or questions students have.

            3.) Students will then get into their groups and be assigned their role for the meeting and have time to work together. This is the time for groups to plan their proposals, combine with other groups, or approach council members. Students can be organized in two ways, depending on how much time can be devoted to the lesson. One is to assign specific roles with identified issues & positions, the other is to arrange the students in groups of two and a city council of five, with each small group developing their own issues and positions.

            Day 2-

            1.) Group proposals should be turned in to the city council for review.

            2.) The mayor will then open the city council meeting by calling the role, approving the agenda, making announcements, and so on.

            3.) The mayor will then open the floor for public comment; each will have a maximum time of 5 minutes.

            4.) The city council will then discuss the testimony they have heard, and offer proposals for formal vote (in a real council, many issues would have to come to the council meeting a second time before a vote could be taken).


VI. Questions:

            1.) How does this city council meeting apply to the ideals of citizens?

            2.) How did the city council members arrive at their decisions?

            3.) Why is it important to know about your local government?

            4.) How could you use this information outside of the classroom, how could you apply this knowledge?

            5.) What factors determine the decisions a city council makes?

            6.) What decisions is a city council responsible for? How about our local city council? What issues is our current city council handling? Can you predict how they might solve those issues?

            7.) From local public opinion, can you judge the effectiveness of our city council? Do you think our city council is making the right decisions? What could you do to make things better?



Carrie Klagge

MSU Mankato Social Studies student

Land Allocation Activity


            Bill Johnson, a long standing city employee and council member of 30 years, has sadly past away. He has no living relative and has left all of his land to the city for it's' benefit. All 2100 acres have not been stipulated for specific projects, but must be used for the cities benefit. The city has decided to sell the land to whomever or whatever will benefit the city the greatest. Several groups have come forward with plans that will bring benefits to the city.


            Form into groups of three, and each group will represent an agency that has designs for a part of the land. Any students left over will form the city council, and the teacher will perform the duties of mayor and happens to be the head loan officer at the city bank.



Tri-Area Conservation League: Has been petitioning for 5 years to conserve marshland and wetlands for native and endangered species, and to provide a protective habitat.

Land Requested: 400 acres                 Funds at Fund: $150,000


Camp Caruso: Purpose is to give under privileged children a good time away from home, and provide for new experiences such as water activities, ropes courses, archery, horseback riding, and hiking.

Land Requested: 300 acres                 Funds at Fund: $75,000


Hilltop Resorts: Purpose is to provide for a quiet getaway along the water's edge with specialization in spa treatments, boat rentals, guided hikes, outdoor bar and patio, beach access, and outdoor dining.

Land Requested: 500 acres                 Money at Fund: $400,000


Glamco Paper Factory: Purpose is to provide quality paper products to customers, specializing in greeting cards, invitations, business cards, pamphlets, stationary, business fliers, and letterheads. Company needs access to large water source.

Land Requested: 300 acres                 Money at Fund: $350,000


Anderson Housing Construction: Purpose is to provide quality homes at affordable prices to the average family, looking for new land to build housing division.

Land Requested: 700 acres                 Money at Fund: $600,000


County Historical Society: Looking to preserve a local 19th century farm to be turned into a living period farm with guided tours and hands on experiences. There is a possibility of expanding the farm into a small town replica with period general store, saloon, and doctor's office.

Land Requested: 300 acres                 Money at Fund: $250,000


Storight, Inc.: Just added a new department store with full grocery and is looking to build a distribution center for the Midwest store locations.

Land Requested: 800 acres                 Money at Fund: $1,000,000


Great Prairie Gun Club: The local fire arms league wants to build a gun club, featuring outdoor and indoor shooting ranges, private hunting land, taxidermy and meat processing services, license services, and a supply store.

Land Requested: 400 acres                 Money Fund: $500,000



1.) Each group has their land requirements and funds; they should not exceed their funds and must obtain their lot requirements.

2.) Any group that needs to do construction on their land must purchase land needed for access roads, or pay the owner compensation for using those roads.

3.) Two groups may combine upon these conditions:

  • All members of both groups must agree to the union.
  • A contract must be drawn up, outlining the division of land and money.
  • The mayor must approve all contracts before the city council meeting.

4.) If a group does not have sufficient funds for the purchase of required land, they may ask the head loan officer for the funding. A group applying for a loan must submit a financial payback plan, outlining steps that will be taken to pay back the loan as soon as possible.

5.) Each group must submit to the council members a proposal consisting of:

  • Lots intended for purchase
  • Price offering of each plot
  • Building plans
  • Benefits to the city
  • Combined groups must also include plans for division of land and money.

6.) At the city council meeting, a representative will present his/her group's proposal, contract, or loan plan.

7.) The city council will hear from all groups and then confer in the presence of the mayor until a decision is reached and award the property to the chosen groups.



  • There are a total of 42 lots; each lot is exactly 50 acres, with a total of 2100 acres.
  • The total amount of land requested is 3700 acres, so not every group will be awarded their land.
  • Dual usage of land can be allowed, but must be laid out in the proposal and in the contract when groups combine. The mayor can reject the dual usage if there are conflicts.