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As Bill of Rights Day Approaches, Use These Resources to Teach About the Ten Amendments

As Bill of Rights Day Approaches, Use These Resources to Teach About the Ten Amendments

December 15 marks the annual celebration of Bill of Rights Day, as declared by former president Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 to honor the first 10 amendments becoming part of the U.S. Constitution on December 15, 1791.

The amendments, especially the First Amendment, have dominated national conversation throughout 2016 as people debate and discuss what rights they are afforded by the governing text.

Examples of recent headlines:

All of these varying stories relate back to the main idea that the First Amendment is a complicated document--and despite its long tenure as a guiding principle of our nation, is challenged and reinterpreted all the time.

This Bill of Rights Day, help your students grow up to be citizens with a solid foundational knowledge of their amendment rights with these educator-approved resources.

You’ve Got Rights! via iCivics

ICivics offers educators free lesson plans that are accompanied by fun games to test students’ knowledge.

With this resource, educators can teach students about what led to the creation of the Bill of Rights, how the rights can be categorized, and what might happen if any component of the rights was left out.

The lesson plan prepares students for "Do I Have a Right," a free online learning game that puts students in charge of their own firm of lawyers who specialize in constitutional law. Throughout the game, they will have decide if "potential clients 'have a right.'" 

Games, Lesson Plans and Songs from Bill of Rights Institute

Bill of Rights Institute wants to make sure you have everything you need to have a productive Bill of Rights Day.

That means free lesson plans, games, definitions of constitutional principles, videos and even a relevant song.

"Each lesson includes a warm-up activity, a full lesson, a wrap-up activity, and homework," says the Institute’s website.

Landmark Supreme Court Cases from Bill of Rights Institute

One way to explain the complexity of the Bill of Rights is by explaining the landmark Supreme Court cases that have helped to interpret their meaning. Each component of the amendments has the series of court cases thus far that have helped to define each amendment's respective meaning.

Bill of Rights in Simple Language

The American Civil Liberties Union has a to-the-point resource that lays out all 10 amendments in simple language, making for a great hand-out on the day of. 

Bill of Rights as Adapted by Newsela

One of the many reasons to get a Newsela account is because it offers adapted primary sources that students of all reading levels can access.

The Bill of Rights is one of those sources, available here after free registration. 

A 3-Minute Guide to the Bill of Rights

This TED-Ed Original lesson created by educator Belinda Stutzman explains the Bill of Rights in just three minutes, making it a great clip to squeeze into your busy classroom. The video is available here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor



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