Copyright

First Amendment Activities

Instructor: Kristen Goode

Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.

The First Amendment is an important piece of the Bill or Rights that all United States citizens should understand. The activities in this asset will help your students connect with and understand each part of this important amendment to the US Constitution.

The First Amendment

The First Amendment guarantees certain rights to American citizens. These rights include the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right of citizens to peaceably assemble, and the right to petition the government to address grievances or promote possible change. The activities below, designed for use with middle and/or high school students, are meant to help students develop an understanding of this important piece of the Bill or Rights and make personal connections to all of the freedoms guaranteed within.

If You Had to Remove One

Materials: writing paper and pen or computer for writing

  • Begin with a discussion of each of the five rights that are promised in the First Amendment.
    • Ask students to make connections and try to imagine situations for which each right might be applied.
    • Talk about the importance of each right and consider having students verbally rank the importance of each right (one through five).
  • Next, explain that students are to consider the idea that they have been tasked with the job of eliminating one of the five rights that are promised in the First Amendment.
  • Either individually or in groups, students are to carefully consider each right and select which they would eliminate.
  • Now, ask students to write a paper that will explain their choice and the reasons for it. In doing so, students should consider explaining:
    • Why their choice for elimination is the best choice.
    • Why the other rights are more important than the one they have chosen to eliminate.
  • When finished, students will present and explain their work. Explain that they will need to be prepared to defend their choice if challenged.

Create a Poster

Materials: poster board and markers

  • Give students poster board and markers to work with (either individually or in groups).
  • Explain the project.
    • Students are to create a poster that advertises and explains the First Amendment.
    • Each poster must include both graphics and writing.
    • Each poster must say something about each of the five rights given in the First Amendment.
    • Each poster must clearly explain each right.
  • Allow time for students to work.
  • When finished, have students present and explain their posters.

Defend the First Amendment

Materials: writing paper and pen or computer for writing

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