Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.
By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:
- Explain what the Bill of Rights is
- Describe the amendments in the Bill of Rights
- Summarize what they have learned about the Bill of Rights
This lesson will take approximately 45-60 minutes.
This lesson is aligned to the following Common Core standard:
Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Students will need to understand the meaning of following words to be able to do this activity:
- Printed copies of the Bill of Rights, one per student
- Chart paper
- Graphic organizer with 10 squares and labeled with the different amendments
- Writing paper
- Write the word freedom on the board.
- Ask students what they think of when they think of the word freedom.
- Write student responses around the word freedom to make a word splash.
- If technology is available, you could also have students submit their responses via apps like Wordle or Metametrics.
- Explain that today they are going to learn about a document that was created to protect their freedoms. This is called the Bill of Rights, and it is part of the Constitution. There are ten amendments in the Bill of Rights, each of which protects a certain freedom or right.
- Explain to the students that they are each going to become an Amendment expert.
- It is going to be their job to teach the rest of the class about one specific amendment.
- Put a piece of chart paper on the board.
- Explain that you are going to do the first amendment as a class.
- Write 'Amendment One' at the top of the chart paper.
- Distribute paper copies of the Bill of Rights.
- Read the Bill of Rights text together and pull out vital pieces of information.
- As you read, draw illustrations and write keywords that illustrate what the First Amendment is.
- Depending on the number of students, you can have students work in pairs or individually.
- Each student or pair will have a piece of chart paper, markers, and text about their amendment.
- If your students are not able to read the text yet, you can give them a QR code to a video that will explain the amendment to them. The students will draw pictures and write keywords that will teach others about their amendment.
- Circulate to check for understanding and support students that need extra help.
- Once the posters are completed, the students will engage in a gallery walk.
- They will rotate and visit the posters around the room.
- They will take notes on a clipboard about what they have learned about each amendment in their graphic organizer.
- Have students come back together to discuss what they've learned as a group.
- As a formative assessment, have students write a 3-2-1 about the Bill of Rights:
- What are three things you learned about the Bill of Rights?
- What are the two things that you thought were the most interesting about the Bill of Rights?
- What is one question you still have about the Bill of Rights?
Use these related lessons to enhance today's activity:
- What amendment from the Bill of Rights is the most important to you? How so?
- If you could add any amendment to the Bill of rights, what would it be?
Have students apply their knowledge about the Bill of Rights to real-world contexts in a 'You Be the Judge' exercise. In this activity, students view political cartoons, images, and text about current events or issues on index cards. They will also have a set of index cards with the different amendments on it. After reading the cards, the students will match the scenario to the amendment that is being violated or fought for in the cartoon, image, or text. Students must defend their answers by explaining their thought process.
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