Civic Literacy Curriculum
This curriculum guide is intended to cover questions 67 and 68.
Q67: All of the following are promises you make when you become a United States citizen except which of the following?
A. to become a government official in the United States
B. to serve in the United States military (if needed)
C. to give up loyalty to other countries
D. to defend the Constitution and obey the laws of the United States
Q68: Which is not a way to become a U.S. citizen?
A. To be naturalized
B. To derive citizenship from your parents
C. To be born in the United States
D. To graduate from an American college or university
For most Americans, citizenship comes from their place of birth. “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States,” according to the Fourteenth Amendment. Similarly, some derive it from being the children of a citizen or citizens even if born abroad.
For others, however, citizenship comes not from where or to whom one was born, but from a choice, a decision to move to America and join its political community, pursuant to the naturalization power given to Congress in Article I, Section 8. Such applicants for citizenship must take the following oath:
"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen...”
Not only that, but these applicants pledge, before God and their soon-to-be-fellow-citizens, to be loyal to the Constitution, to defend it, and to serve in the defense of the Constitution and nation:
“…. that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."
In addition, becoming a citizen requires an immigrant to have a grasp of the English language and pass a written citizenship test.
This exercise has students take a selection of questions from the US citizenship test and then have a short discussion about it.
You will provide each group with the abridged copy of the U.S. Citizenship test.
Print a copy of the discussion prompts for yourself.
The Teaching Materials for this exercise includes an answer key.
- Explain to the class that they are going to take (all or part of) the citizenship test.
- The exam is divided into several sections and can be edited down to meet the needs of the class.
- The students can work individually or in pairs.
- Once they complete the exam, review the answers as a class.
- Depending on time constraints, you may want to consider dividing the students into teams and having them compete to see which team can get the most questions correct.
- Use the prompts to facilitate a class discussion on the importance of the exam as well as the questions that are asked.
Below are two discussion prompts that can be used by teachers in a classroom setting.
- The first discussion prompt will be one that is designed to support students that are not really understanding the content in a way that would help them to answer the test question.
- The second discussion prompt will be one that is designed to further student understanding of the content by making real-world connections, including connections to current events and historical events.
When a person becomes a citizen of a nation, he or she pledges to be loyal to that country. In the United States, pledging loyalty includes being willing to take up arms and serve in the military to defend his or her new home. Other expectations revolve around general, everyday behavior, such as following the law including defending and being loyal to the US Constitution.
There are three ways to become a citizen: Name one of them.
When someone becomes a citizen of the United States by naturalization, he or she gains new rights, such as the ability to vote in a federal election and run for office. In return, the new citizen promises to do certain things. What are two promises that people make when they go through the naturalization process to become a United States citizen? Why is it important for you to promise this?
Becoming a citizen takes more than just moving to a new country and deciding to stay. In the U.S., someone who wants to become a citizen needs to pass a test, have working knowledge of the English language, be of good character, and have lived in the U.S. for a certain amount of time. We also require citizenship applicants to pledge loyalty to the United States Constitution specifically. Why do you think that these requirements are in place? Do pre-existing citizens have a right to make new applicants take such an oath or meet such requirements? Do you think that these requirements are ultimately beneficial to a nation and its people or that they are detrimental? Why do you think this way? Use current and past events to support your answer.
Should every citizen, including those born as citizens, know the answers to the citizenship test? In some states, students must pass the citizenship test to graduate from high school. Do you agree with this requirement for graduation?