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Common Read: 2021-2022 Our Declaration: Additional Resources

Democratic Knowledge Project

An initiative of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, the Democratic Knowledge Project Design Studio (DKP) is a studio for the creation of ethics and civics resources, at all educational levels: K-16, post-graduate, and lifelong learning. The studio supports faculty projects ranging from Embedded Ethics, which includes ethics modules in computer science courses, to Scientific Citizenship, which helps graduate students in the natural sciences learn how to participate in public affairs, to the DKP K-12 initiative, focused on curricular materials for Massachusetts schools. Danielle Allen is the Founding Director and principal investigator for the project.

Curriculum Materials

Declaration Resources Project: Resources about the United States Declaration of Independence

  • DRP on Twitter: (@declarationres)
  • Interactive map of when and how the Colonies found out about the Declaration
  • Video Game
    • Portrait of a Tyrant is a six-episode adventure game for students to learn about the Declaration of Independence, its historical context and contemporary relevance. It is designed to be embedded in a six-week curriculum unit on political institutions and the philosophical foundations of democracy.

      The Declaration is a text which at points makes far-reaching, open-ended philosophical claims, using words and phrases (“all men are created equal,” “inalienable rights,” “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” “consent of the governed,” “a free people,” “justice”) that inherently require interpretation. We hope that the immersive and inclusive nature of this game will help inspire students to engage with the philosophical aspects of the Declaration thoughtfully.

    • EdNext podcast, Episode 214: "Teaching the Declaration of Independence with a Video Game," October 14, 2020

A professor at Harvard University and the director of the Democratic Knowledge Project, Danielle S. Allen, and the CEO of Amplify, Larry Berger, join Education Next Editor-in-chief Marty West to discuss Portrait of a Tyrant, a video game designed for students to learn about the Declaration of Independence.

The game is available for free at

Student-led Civics Projects

This Student-led Civics Workbook is the last unit of the Democratic Knowledge Project Grade 8 year-long civics curriculum. For more details, visit the Democratic Knowledge Project or fill out the form on the left. Although primarily for Grade 8, the content of this site is transferrable to high school. Teachers, please review the full contents of this workbook to vet the tools before using any in your own class context.

Professional Development

The Democratic Knowledge Project, a K-12 civic education provider based at Harvard University, is happy to talk with you about our professional development workshops and instructional supports for educators. Contact to talk further about how we can support your district.

We offer professional development and instructional supports for both a year-long 8th grade civics curriculum (including a unit dedicated to student-led civics projects) and opportunities focused solely on supporting teachers in implementing student-led civics projects.


Digital Collections

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Teacher's Resources & Lesson Plans