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Flipped Learning and AP® U.S. Government: A Case Study

Flipping out over instructional methodology? Frank Franz, who teaches AP U.S. Government and Politics at James Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia, introduced flipped learning to Fairfax County schools back in 2011. Here Frank shares his approach to teaching the 25th Amendment (presidential disability and succession).

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Veteran AP U.S. Government teacher Frank Franz (appearing on the lower right of his students’ screens) is a huge advocate of flipped learning.

  1. At home, students follow a link to go to the Google site where Frank organizes his videos.
  2. Students watch the 25th Amendment video prepared by Frank.
  3. To respond to the video, students use a Google form on which they summarize the video in a format specified by Frank and mention something they did not understand well. (Alternatively, if they did understand, they specify what they found most interesting.)
  4. Back in class, Frank reviews the questions submitted by the students and clarifies points when necessary.
  5. Next, the class engages in a case study of the 25th Amendment using the historical example of the Reagan assassination attempt. Frank shows them a brief video of the attempt and a clip of news coverage first reporting it.
  6. Frank next answers students’ questions about the event and asks them for specifics of how the 25th Amendment would be applied in that particular situation.
  7. At their seats, students read excerpts from the book Rawhide Down. (The book goes into detail about events and decisions related to the assassination attempt.)
  8. After reading the excerpts, the class discusses if and how the 25th Amendment should have been applied.

So how are things in AP U.S. Government since Frank introduced flipped learning?  He explains, “Students spending more time being actively engaged in the course material with teacher support in class is more effective than students passively engaged during a teacher’s lecture.”

Adds Ken Halla, Frank’s colleague and a veteran AP teacher and blogger, “Talking is the least effective method of teaching. The most effective is making the kids get into the detail and do something with it.”

AP Teachers: Learningpod exercises are ideal for flipped learning! Check out our  AP resources, including our  2015 AP U.S. History workbook organized by seven themes.

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