Do You Know Your Rights?

Teacher: Marie Gagnon

General Description

Lesson Goal(s):
Know the different rights guaranteed to the citizens of the United States and the reason the rights were created.

Essential Question(s):
Why are the rights guaranteed to citizens in the United States important in ensuring liberty?

Lesson Plan:
  • Remind students that one of the biggest objections to ratifying the Constitution was the omission of a Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was passed in 1791, after ratification of the Constitution.
  • Hand out a copy of the Bill of Rights to each student and lead them through reading and a discussion of each of the amendments.
  • Have each student select an amendment. Write each amendment on a slip of paper, put them in a hat and have each student select one.  Give about thirty seconds for students to walk around the room and trade amendments if they are not happy with what they selected. If the amendment had many different parts, break it down into manageable sections for students. So it is possible that a couple of students could be working on the same amendment but different parts of it.
  • Hand out instruction sheet and grading rubric. Go over with students so that they know exactly what is expected of them.
  • Show students an example of a completed two slide presentation.
  • Allow research time with computers and in the library with printed materials, three days of class time is sufficient for this process.
  • Allow another two-three days for students to create their slides based on their research.
  • Students present their amendment to the class.


Students will present their slideshow to the class.  It may be easier to have each student contribute their slides to one large presentation so as to avoid the hassle of logging in and out of accounts to pull up presentations.  Amendments should be presented in order.


Students should address the following three topics when presenting their amendment.

  • What was the origin of the amendment (i.e. what historical circumstances created interest in creating a protected right?)
  • A linguistically straightforward explanation of how the right provides citizens with liberty and examples of this amendment in action.
  • Examples of the right’s protections being questioned or limited, and why the right’s protections were questioned or limited. 

Materials and Documents

Thank you so much for your organization. I truly am most appreciative of the financial gift. This is such a rarity for teachers. In fact, finding a no-cost professional development can be a difficulty. You showed respect by providing a no-cost training, a delicious lunch, and a stipend. Thank you so very much. Looking forward to future newsletters and workshops! Thank you for helping teachers grow in their knowledge of a most important subject and cause: civics education.
- Sabrina Maltby, Manchester Public Schools
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