Wednesday, February 18, 2009


My instructional unit topic is "Understanding Contracts--the Promises We Live By in a Civilized Society." Contracts and other binding agreements are a part of our everyday lives, including those entered into by juveniles; and the ramifications of these contracts, should they be breached by either party, must be understood by everyone who is a party to the contract. The agreement may be enforceable in our court system; therefore, it is very important for each party to the contract to understand clearly the many elements that must be considered in determining whether or not an agreement is a valid contract.

The following questions are my Curriculum-Framing Questions:

Essential Question - How are our everyday lives affected by contracts?

Unit Questions - How do genuine assent and consideration affect contracts? Who has the legal capacity to enter into a contract? When is a contract not valid because it lacks a legal purpose? When does a contract have to be in writing? What is sufficient consideration? What is duress and undue influence? When can a minor disaffirm a voidable contract? Must contracts be in any special form?

Content Questions - What are the requirements for a valid contract? What are the requirements for an offer and an acceptance? What are the ways that an offer may be ended? How can an offer be kept open? What are the exceptions to the requirement of mutual consideration? Are promises of financial support to charitable organizations enforceable? What is promissory estoppel? What are some examples of agreements that are illegal? What is fraud, and what are the elements of misrepresentation or concealment that must be present for fraud to exist? What contracts are subject to the Statute of Frauds? What contracts of minors cannot be disaffirmed? Does misstating one’s age bind a minor?


  1. I was surprised at the emphasis in the course on curriculum design and standards, but as you said, it makes sense and is very good for considering how to put together a unit.

    I think that you are right that the exposure to new options helps broaden our approach to teaching.

    In looking at your questions, and I may be wrong, the unit and content questions both look very specific, like those for an assessment, so I would think they would all be content questions. I wonder if your unit question should actually be what you have as an essential question and your essential question perhaps needs to be much broader. Your unit title seems to hold that essential question about what promises do we live by in a civilized world.

  2. Thanks for your initial comments; I hope you will see many useful teaching strategies as we continue through the course. I think what you have described will make a good unit. I think Kate’s assessment of your questions is valid. I think your essential question could function as your unit question. With the essential question, you want to focus on big ideas that might fit several subjects. In this case, what I see as your big ideas might be fairness or trust. A couple of suggested essential questions might be:
    How can we be fair to everyone?
    Who do you trust?
    As you get into your unit further, this will allow you decide which of your content questions are most appropriate.