Know Your Rights
Teaching Students About The Bill of Rights
There are few more controversial topics in our nation than the rights and freedoms of American citizens. Take an in-depth look at the 10 amendments that make up the Bill of Rights. Before engaging with the materials in this playlist, students should already have some knowledge of the Constitution and other important historical events that precluded the creation of the Bill of Rights in 1791.
Ready for a crash course in the Bill of Rights? In this animated video, Belinda Stutzman breaks down the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution and what they mean for the citizens of our country.
This article recounts the road to the creation of the Constitution and the role of the Bill of Rights, introducing key terms and giving students a more personal context to understand the importance of this document. This version of the article is written for a 5th-grade reading level but other reading levels can be unlocked by signing up for a free trial.
When teaching about the Bill of Rights, it’s important to note that despite its inclusive wording, the Constitution, even with the addition of the Bill of Rights, would not apply to all Americans for at least another 130 years. Black people wouldn’t receive equal protection under the law (on paper) until 1868. Women couldn’t vote until 1920. Native Americans weren’t considered citizens until 1924. This article explores some of the viewpoints of people left unprotected by the Constitution.
If you’re looking for a more accessible way for students to learn about the purpose of each of the first 10 amendments, Newsela provides an adapted version of the Bill, using simplified language for young learners.
Give your students a challenge with this Bill of Rights virtual card game. Students can play against one another or with an AI competitor, choosing from 3 levels of difficulty. Students select several amendments to play with and must match them with real-world situations to get points. We highly suggest having students view the tutorial before playing and starting off with the easy level because this game is not entirely intuitive but is really valuable once you get the hang of it.
This 10 question quiz can assess student comprehension of the language used in the Bill of Rights as well as the details of each amendment.
Through a series of engaging activities (including one involving an alien invasion!) students will be able to describe the circumstances that led up to the creation of the Bill of Rights, identify and categorize the rights granted by the amendments, and predict what might’ve happened if the Bill of Rights had never been created. Utilize the whole lesson or simply borrow some of its fun activities.
Eboni has extensive experience in curriculum development, with a focus on culturally-responsive and arts-based approaches. Having spent years creating academic content and providing professional development to teachers, she now curates themed playlists meant to provide educators with valuable, time-saving resources.
This resource contains an updated list of current events that demonstrate how each amendment plays out in our nation today. Although most of the articles are written for adults, they can provide you with examples of current conversations around civil liberties to share with your students.
This American Life podcast recently released an episode featuring this 30-minute story about Barbara Jordan, the first black congresswoman to come out of Texas, who led a bipartisan team in the 1990s tasked with finding a solution to the immigration debate. Jordan’s passion for the Bill of Rights informed many of the tough decisions she was asked to make. But mostly we think you need to bear witness to one of the most iconic speaking voices to ever hit the House floor.
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