Bill of Rights for Elementary School Students

Teacher: Martha Madsen, George Dello Russo & Janet Mulligan

General Description

Objectives:
Students will be able to demonstrate understanding and communicate the meanings of the 10 Amendments of the Bill of Rights. They will be able to identify the rights that mean the most to them. They will be able to connect the relevance of the amendments in connection with their own lives.

Materials:

  • Photocopies of Bill of Rights
  • Index cards
  • Crayons/colored pencils
  • Graph paper
  • Vocabulary list

Resources:
  • National Constitution Center Classroom Ready Resource –“Decoding the Bill of Rights”

Activities:
For each Amendment, discuss the meaning, define vocabulary. Discuss origin/historical reason for each Amendment. Cite relevance in past and also today.

Ask students to (at first, individually) put each amendment in his/her own words (or draw a picture to explicate meaning.)

Have a class discussion and agree as a class on a class summary for each Amendment. . Create a shared class document with Constitutional amendments paraphrased by the class and distribute to students. Before discussion, identify rules for gaining the floor, listening to others, speaking one at a time, etc.

Each student creates a set of 10 cards – one card for each Amendment summary and an accompanying drawing/visual.


Questions:

If you had to pick the most important 3, 4, or 5 (depending on student grade or level) Amendments/Rights, which would you select and why?

Write a paragraph for each of the Amendments you choose, explaining how the amendment affects your life. Remember to use a topic sentence, two or three supporting details, and a concluding sentence.


Have each student present his/her most important amendments to the class. Encourage students to speak clearly and at an understandable pace. Give class members a chance to comment or ask questions.

Materials and Documents

Quote
I am ready to go back and teach my students about voting and the court system! Everything was GREAT!
- Teacher, 2016
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