The Bill of Rights Unit Plan

Instructor: Anthony Cognata

Anthony has taught multiple grade levels in middle school, coached across contents, and has a master's degree in Educational Leadership.

Use this unit plan to learn about the Bill of Rights and the foundations of American freedom. You will find a variety of lesson plans, discussion questions, essay prompts, and project ideas to help students learn about America's List of Freedom.

The Bill of Rights - America's List of Freedom

Today, most Americans take their given rights and freedoms for granted. Americans know the phrases - 'freedom of press,' 'freedom of speech,' 'freedom of assembly,' etc. - but rarely know the nuances of what those terms mean. Understanding the Bill of Rights is critical for students to make the connections that the rights Americans are guaranteed now, weren't always available to all people. It is also crucial for students to understand that even when the Bill of Rights was created, it was not meant for all people living in the United States. The historical context of the Bill of Rights, its truly revolutionary solidification of long-debated ideals, and its continuing effects on America today are essential lessons for all students to learn.

Defining the Basics... Online Pre-Learning

To get students started on this unit, have them do a little pre-reading and video watching to gear themselves up for the lessons and projects that they will dive into later in the unit. There are a plethora of online videos and resources available. You can assign lessons and have them complete watching videos and readings with partners. Have students jot down notes in an interactive notebook - or formulate specific learning questions that they have to answer before you dive into whole class learning.

Defining the Basics... Together

After students have basic background knowledge and context for learning about the Bill of Rights, you will want to teach the whole group about where the Bill of Rights came from and what they meant for Americans. You could begin with theBill of Rights Lesson Plan and follow it up with Understanding the Bill of Rights Lesson Plan. Then, you can discuss more philosophical origins of the Bill of Rights and the idea that while these rights were codified in the Constitution, they were actually natural to all men. The Natural Rights Lesson Plan provides useful context for this idea and the origins of Americans' rights.

The Bill of Rights - Diving Deeper into the First 10 Amendments

With a basic understanding of the overall origins and term 'Bill of Rights,' you can now dive more deeply into what the specific rights guaranteed to Americans are - and what they truly mean. Exactly how deep you want to go within the unit may depend upon your curriculum and the number of days you have for this unit, but any or all of the following will help you to solidify learning for students:

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