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Bill of Rights Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

You have the right to enlighten your students on the Bill of Rights! Students get the chance to analyze each amendment of the Bill of Rights and a video lesson provides the opportunity to self check their answers. If you wish to keep moving forward on this topic, take advantage of our suggestions for extra activities and related materials.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define the Bill of Rights
  • analyze the meaning, importance and relevance of the Bill of Rights

Length

1 hour

Materials

  • Photocopies of the Bill of Rights

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.5

Analyze how a text uses structure to emphasize key points or advance an explanation or analysis.

Instructions

  • Begin by asking students to write down a couple of sentences describing the Bill of Rights.
  • When all students have their definitions jotted down, have them swap papers with a fellow student. Did their ideas coincide? If not, what were the differences? Discuss this as a class and write key points about the Bill of Rights on the board.
  • Now play the Study.com video lesson The Bill of Rights: Summary & Analysis, pausing at 1.45.
  • Revisit the key points about the Bill of Rights that are displayed on the board. Does this information match up with what the video lesson stated about the Bill of Rights? If not, fill in any missing information.
  • Pass out the photocopies of the Bill of Rights, one per student.
  • Ask students to read through the Bill of Rights and summarize the main idea of each amendment in a sentence or two on their papers.
  • When all students have finished reading and summarizing the amendments, resume the video lesson. Pause it at 2.55.
  • Have students review their summaries for amendment one based on what was stated in the lesson, making any necessary changes.
  • Play the video lesson again and pause at 3.31.
  • Now have students review their summaries for amendment two, making any necessary edits.
  • Play the video lesson once more and pause at 4.12.
  • Once again, students should review their summary for amendment three and make any necessary changes based on what they learned in the video lesson.
  • Play the video lesson, pausing it at 4.45.
  • Next, students should review their summaries for amendment four and make any necessary updates to their papers.
  • Resume the video lesson and pause at 5.28.
  • Ask students to review their summaries for amendment five and make any necessary changes.
  • Play the video lesson, pausing this time at 6.09.
  • Again, the students should review what they have written to summarize amendment six and edit where necessary.
  • Play the video lesson and pause it at 6.26.
  • Have students review what they wrote about amendment seven and make any changes according to what was explained in the video lesson.
  • Play the video lesson once more, pausing at 7.19.
  • Now ask students to review what they wrote about the eighth amendment, making any necessary changes.
  • Play the video lesson and pause it at 7.46.
  • Have students review their notes regarding amendment nine and make any updates as needed.
  • Resume the video lesson and pause it at 8.08.
  • Have the students check what they wrote for amendment ten and edit as necessary.
  • Now play the remainder of the video lesson for the class.
  • When the video lesson is complete, have students rank order the amendments in terms of importance in modern society. Discuss these ranks as a class. Is there a general consensus? Why or why not?

Discussion Questions

  • Have some aspects of the Bill of Rights become obsolete? Why or why not?
  • Are there any amendments that are more relevant to our lives than others?
  • How different might our lives be without these rights?

Extensions

  • Have students research and report on the political events of the time that led up to the formation of the Bill of Rights.
  • Ask students to translate the Bill of Rights into language that is more representative of modern society. Does this change the meaning of the document?

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