You Be the Judge

Working with the Core Democratic Values and other social studies concepts is important at every grade level, especially as students enter middle school and need to be able to think critically about our constitutional rights. The Michigan EPIC web site has created some interactive, and engaging, activities to help students grasp the concept of the Core Democratic Values and how they apply to our everyday lives. In particular is “You be the Judge”, an interactive flash story that allows the reader to make choices, which in turn affect how the story unfolds. As students read about a small school and their fight to keep local property owners from cutting down a cherished tree near the school grounds, they are asked to apply their knowledge of constitutional rights to help decide what actions the school should take. Depending on their choices, the story unfolds in a number of different paths, with a number of different outcomes.

Unfortunately for me, I made a few poor decisions and overstepped my freedom of speech by encroaching on the land owners rights and property. The tree is question was cut down and I was asked to start again at the beginning of the story to try again. Perhaps you students will fair better. You can view the story here, or download a copy to view offline.


  1. I passed this on to several of our Civics teachers and they are taking a look at using it with their classes. I think it will bring home some of the concepts that they are teaching in their classes right now. Thanks!

  2. Glad it’s going to good use Sean. My sixth graders will have access to their laptops later this week, so I thought having something like this would be an engaging way for them to put our Core Democratic Value knowledge to good use.

  3. If folks read this, as of this morning, September 16, the link is no longer working. You are taken to a ‘domain name renewal’ site.

  4. Wow, I’m kind of upset that the entire site is gone 🙁 Thanks for pointing it out Sean. Perhaps the content will reappear elsewhere on the net (I’ll do some searching this weekend), but I’m dissapointed that the state let the domain name slide. I know the content was a bit old in web terms, but it was still useful.

    The site is back up and running. I was going to e-mail someone at the State level this morning, but apparently it was just a glitch. Don’t give up on this great resource yet 🙂

  5. Hello, I came across your site while searching for the Core Demo Values stories. I noticed one of the comments mentioned that the site had disappeared. My old link wouldn’t work but I see that this is an old thread. You may have it by now, but I did find these interactive stories finally at this new site:
    They are great, and I had a really tough time finding them this year. I wanted to share in case anyone else was still having trouble.

    1. Thanks for the update Heater. It’s hard to keep up on all of the links that change, sites that go dead, etc. I’ve updated the post now to reflect the new link!

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