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First Amendment Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Della McGuire

Della has been teaching secondary and adult education for over 20 years. She holds a BS in Sociology, MEd in Reading, and is ABD on the MComm in Storytelling.

This lesson plan ask students to break the First Amendment down into its component parts and then find a current event that represents each of the six major protections. Students will present their examples to the class in a lively discussion.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson plan, students will be able to:

  • Define the elements of the First Amendment
  • Identify examples of the First Amendment in action from current events
  • Describe connections between current events and components of the First Amendment

Length

1 - 2 hours

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.1

Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.9

Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.4

Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

Vocabulary

  • The Constitution
  • Amendment
  • Bill of Rights
  • Establishment of religion
  • Prohibiting
  • Abridging
  • Assemble
  • Redress of grievances

Materials

Instructions

  • Pass out the First Amendment: Lesson for Kids text lesson.
  • Have a student volunteer read the introduction and 'The Constitution' section. Then, discuss the term 'amendment'.
    • In what ways have the rules changed or 'been amended' in your house as you've gotten older?
      • Later bedtimes, extended screen time, and overnight playdates might be some examples of how their families' rules have been amended as they've gotten older.
  • Now, have a student read 'The First Amendment' section, then discuss the Bill of Rights.
  • Have a student read the 'What Does It Say? section. Discuss the meanings of the terms listed in each phrase to ensure students know what they mean.
    • Congress shall make no law:
      • respecting an establishment of religion
      • prohibiting the free exercise of religion
      • abridging the freedom of speech
      • abridging the freedom of the press
      • abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble
      • abridging the right of the people to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
  • Read the 'Lesson Summary' and allow the students to ask any remaining questions.
  • Distribute the lesson's printable worksheet to assess understanding.

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