Estimated Lesson Duration:

Varies with level and resolution. Students focusing on identifying an individual goal and writing it up as a S.M.A.R.T. Goal will take about 45 minutes. Project Citizen will require a more extended commitment of time to complete all six steps and to present final portfolio(s) to a governing body whether that is a school’s administration, school board, local city council or state legislative committee.


Project Citizen, a program co-sponsored by the Center for Civic Education, is a curriculum where students learn how to influence public policy by studying problems in their own community. It is designed to promote responsible participation in local and state government. In this lesson, students will be able to use Let’s Get Healthy! data and apply it with the Project Citizen framework.

When participating in Project Citizen, students work together to identify a public policy issue in their community and develop an action plan for local government leaders to use in addressing the issue. The work culminates with a class portfolio that can be part of a state and national showcase. Students learn about local government while honing reading, research, writing, speaking, and critical analysis skills. Research shows that students participating in Project Citizen develop a greater understanding of the democratic process and a commitment to active citizenship.

Key Concepts and Standards:

 Key Concepts: Analyze and interpret, group data, healthy, influence public policy, action plan, local government, democratic process civics

Standards: Download the briefing sheet about how this lesson meets standards

The standards listed were identified using key concepts from each individual lesson. These key concepts were aligned with the specific Oregon State Standards, Common Core Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards that apply specifically to each individual lesson.

Teachers may consult the Oregon Department of Education’s website for additional terms related to each lesson.


Preparations/ Materials

Before students identify a public policy issue in their community and develop an action plan, they are encouraged to look at their own individual and family habits and choices to improve or maintain healthy lifestyles. For example, a student might decide to exercise more by walking in his or her community. His or her family might also decide to focus on walking more often as a family to increase physical activity. Yet if students and families live in a community that doesn’t have sidewalks or a safe way places to walk and exercise, they might decide to influence public policy within their community to develop a solution for providing safe walking paths.

Thus this lesson is broken into three different levels:

  1. Creating an individual action plan – How can a student improve or maintain a healthy lifestyle?
  2. Creating a family action plan – How can a student and his or her family work together to improve or maintain a healthy lifestyle?
  3. Identifying and studying a problem within a community using Project Citizen – How can public policy be influenced or changed to create an environment that will improve or help maintain a healthy lifestyle for a community?


Downloadable Lesson and Supporting Materials

Lesson Plans



  • Diagram
  • Websites:
    • Classroom Law Project, Portland, OR (
    • Project Citizen (
  • References
    • Meyer, Paul J (2003). “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?  Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals”.  Attitude Is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond. Meyer Resource Group, Incorporated.