Bill of Rights Activities for Middle School

Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

Learning about the Bill of Rights can be challenging -- there are many amendments, and it is easy to get them confused. Help students learn what they need to know with these activities appropriate for middle schoolers.

Bill Of Rights Activities

The Bill of Rights encompasses the first ten amendments that were made to the Constitution of the United States. They ensure many fundamental human rights fully protected for every US citizen (and, in most cases, every resident). Middle school students need to learn about the passage of the Bill of Rights, and what those amendments contained -- they need to know which is which. We can help them along this path, and allow them to have fun at the same time, by trying out some Bill of Rights games and activities.

Which Amendment?

Many classic Bill of Rights games involve matching each right with the amendment where it is found.

Materials

A deck of index cards with the right written out on one side of the card, and the number of the amendment where that right was protected on the other side for the pairs version of the game. (The single-player version requires two decks with the rights written on one deck's cards and the corresponding amendment numbers on the other deck's cards.)

Directions

This game can be done with students working pairs or individually.

Pairs Version

  • Tell the pairs to take turns.
  • One student chooses a card from the deck and reads the right.
  • The other student must respond with the number of the amendment in which that right was guaranteed. For example, one student might say 'freedom of speech,' and the other student might say 'first.'
  • The first student checks the answer on the back of the card. If the answer is correct, the student who answered gets a point.
  • The pair switches roles and repeats until time is up and the student with the most points wins the game.

Single Player Version

  • Students use the two decks of cards for this version of the game.
  • Students work to match the cards into pairs and check their answers when they have finished.

Rights Stories

This activity helps students connect the idea of rights with real-life situations, helping them understand why protecting rights is so important.

Materials

You will need several decks of index cards. The first deck is a set of numbered index cards, one card for each amendment (enough decks for all students). The second deck contains stories where somebody's rights protected by a certain amendment were violated (one deck per group).

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