Nebraska Law Students Teach Elementary Students Through Community Legal Education Project

05 Mar 2019    

Community Legal Education Project

The Community Legal Education Project (CLEP) provides law students with the opportunity to teach elementary students about the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and other legal issues.

Starting early during the spring semester, law students go into local elementary classrooms once a week to teach prepared lessons. The students engage in a discussion-based series of activities and games through which they explore the history and implications of the Constitution, the Bill or Rights, and specifically the way they structure the government, allocate rights, and provide for our various liberties.

“My classroom did a fantastic job of engaging in deep discussions about rights, the separation of powers, the intricacies of passing equitable legislation, and the implications of federalism,” said Carey Collingham, ’20. “The activities tied into their classroom curriculum very well, and seemed to enhance their comprehension of the subject matter. Despite having several years of experience working with 5th graders, I am always surprised how thoughtful and intuitive the students are when it comes to contemplating complex social matters.”

CLEP volunteers spend an hour every week over a five-week period in a 5th grade classroom at one of Lincoln’s Title I schools working with their students. Activities include: mock elections, drafting a classroom Constitution, drafting a bill and voting it into classroom law, checks and balances activities, and Constitution Jeopardy.

“To at least a small extent, I’d like to think that the program inspired a classroom of students who will enter the community soon as more thoughtful, objective, and considerate adults.” 

CLEP also organizes an annual Constitution day program in which law students lead local 8th graders through Constitution-based activities.

Students involved in this year’s spring program were: Claire Allen, Logen Bartz, Madi Barbee, Amanda Berman, Carey Collingham, Katie Curtiss, Julia Dohan, Jim Glover, David Gottschalk, Stewart Guderian, Dee Hobbs, Dana Jurgensmeier, Bobby Larsen, Aaron Macchietto, Aja Martin, Mauricio Murga Rios, Shannon Seim, Matt Soltys, Josh Waltjer, and Jared West