Thomas Dunn Learning Center

Civics for Teens

What is Civics?

the study of the rights and duties of citizenship

-Google-Oxford Languages

the study or science of the privileges and obligations of citizens

-League of Women Voters

civic education: active, responsible, and knowledgeable members of their communities


What is Government? How can I vote?

The Government is a body of people who make decisions that effects us–that is why it is so important to know who they are, what they do, and how we can have a say in their decisions that change our lives. 

Local Government

In charge of just your community– the town, country, or district you live in. 

Major Tishaura O. Jones

Board of Aldermen- President Megan Green

Alderman of Dutchtown Shane Cohn

Missouri State Government

In charge of this state, Missouri. Consists of 3 smaller branches.

Legislative Branch

Creates Laws

Executive Branch


Judicial Branch

Missouri Courts


  • Makes sure state laws are carried out
  • Oversees everything in the state
  • Can serve 1 or 2 terms (each term is 4 years)

Federal Government

The National Government (control over the entire country). Also called “Washington”, because they operate in Washington DC in Virginia, where the president lives in the White House. It is made up of three chambers, or parts, each with a specific job. 

Legislative Branch

Creates Laws

Executive Branch


Judicial Branch


Legislative Branch

Creates Laws


  • Makes and passes laws​
  • Approves Presidential appointments (people picked to have important jobs
  • Each state gets two senators each
  • Missouri senators: Josh Hawley (R) and Eric Schmitt (R)

House of Representatives

  • Makes and passes laws
  • The number of people from each state in the House depends on the population of the state
  • Missouri gets 8 people in the House, there are a total of 435
  • District 1 Missouri Rep: Cori Bush (D)

Executive Branch



  • We vote for the President
  • Head of the U.S. Government


  • Helps the president

  • We do not vote for the Cabinet

    • President picks someone, and the senate approves them

Vice President

  • We vote for the Vice President

  • In charge of the senate

Judicial Branch


Supreme Court

  • A court is a gathering to debate a disagreement between two parties–the judge makes the final decision
  • Made up of 9 Justices (someone who sits on a court and makes decisions on cases)
  • 1-Chief Justice: the head of the Supreme Court, the one in charge
  • Justices stay on the supreme court as long as they want to
  • There are also smaller courts that hear local cases–the Supreme Court is only for extreme cases


Many of the people in our government are elected–the public votes for them. That means you have a voice and can make a difference! By learning about who is running for office and what they plan on doing, you can vote for the person who would make the best impact on your life. Voting is one of the most important things we can do to have a say–register to vote now!


Must be 17 ½ years of age to register
Must be 18 years of age to vote
Must be a U.S. Citizen
Must be a Resident of the state you’re voting in
 (live in Missouri)

If you meet these requirements, click below and follow the instructions to submit an application

Election Essentials

Find your Polling Place

To vote, after you are registered, you need to find a place to go–this is where you will cast your ballot (vote)

Election Results

After everyone has voted, the ballots will be counted and you can see here who won the election


Before voting, you need to make sure you learn a little about each person running so you can vote for the person who will have a positive impact on your life

My School Votes

Learn about the importance of voting with Michelle Obama, and how to involve your school

Election Headquarters

Learn about elections and the government through games

Voting on the Civics Center

Another way to register not only yourself, but to help your classmates register as wel

Important Documents

Many documents are required for a variety of things, such as getting a job. If you cannot find these documents at home and your parents don’t know where they are, follow the instructions below and click on the links to get replacements. 

Birth Certificates

Social Security Card

Replacement birth certificates:

1. Go to your local local public health agency with a parent

The Gasconade locations can be found here

2. Make sure your parent brings identification (a list of acceptable documents can be found on the website linked below)

3. Each replacement costs $15 (for financial help, visit St. Francis Xavier (College) Church)

4. You can also request a replacement through mail–send this application, along with a check for $15 to:

Vital Records
Springfield-Greene County Health Department
227 East Chestnut Expressway
Springfield, MO 65802

Replacement Social Security Card:

1. Have your parent fill out this survey with you and follow the instructions that follow

2. Or, fill out this application with your parent and bring it to your local social security office along with identification

3. If you need more help, call +1 800-772-1213 and tell them you want to request a replacement social security card

State ID

State ID:

1. Have your parent take you to your local license office with identification (proof of both your and your parent’s identity is needed–find a list of acceptable documents here)

2. There you will apply and pay for a nondriver ID (Class ND)

3. The payment is about $12-18 (for financial help, visit St. Francis Xavier (College) Church)

Want to learn more?

If you are interested in other issues and how to solve them (such as pothole, garbage, legal or financial issues), visit our adults civics tab.