U.S. History: Revolution- The Bill of Rights

The first ten amendments to the Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. Written by James Madison in response to calls from several states for greater constitutional protection for individual liberties, the Bill of Rights lists specific prohibitions on governmental power. For example, what the Founders saw as the natural right of individuals to speak and worship freely was protected by the First Amendment’s prohibitions on Congress from making laws establishing a religion or abridging freedom of speech. Furthermore, the natural right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion in one’s home was safeguarded by the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirements. The rights listed in the Bill of Rights are still being interpreted, discussed, and argued by Americans in the 21st century.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Analyze how the Bill of Rights limits the powers of the federal government and state governments.
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; cite the strongest, most compelling textual evidence to support conclusions.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development; provide an objective or critical summary.
Analyze how complex characters, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text to impact meaning.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Support and defend interpretations, analyses, reflections, or research with evidence found in literature or informational texts, applying grade band...
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning supported by relevant and sufficient evidence.
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Learning objectives: 

Students will examine and interpret primary sources to write an opinion piece on the impact of the Bill of Rights on individuals or a group of citizens. 

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 

Activity 1 – Student Game titled “Life Without the Bill of Rights”
The students with their laptop computer or I-Pad could log into this Bill of Rights Institute game titled “Life Without the Bill of Rights.” If the students do not have access to a laptop computer or an iPad, the teacher can display and facilitate this game on the Smart Board/projector. The teacher will first model how the game is played and then walk around the classroom to answer student questions as they play the game. After the students have completed the game, the teacher will ask the students what their lives would be like if they did not have the rights listed in the Bill of Rights.
Activity 2 – Watch a YouTube video titled “Bill of Rights (Shake it Off)”
As a refresher from the previous lesson on the Constitution/Bill of Rights, show on the Smart Board /projector a short YouTube video clip, “Bill of Rights (Shake It Off).” After students have watched the video once or twice, the teacher will randomly select students to explain their reactions to the content of the video. Time permitting, the teacher will instruct each student to write his or her own four-line song about their understanding of the American Bill of Rights. 

Helpful Hints

Smart Board/Projector
A 3-minute guide to the Bill of Rights - Belinda Stutzman, YouTube video
Chart of Selected Amendments and Their Origins (pp. 5-6 below)
Creating the Bill of Rights, Special Presentation within Creating the United States exhibition
Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor exhibition
Sheets of lined notebook paper
TPS-MTSU Image Analysis Form
Index cards (for exit tickets)
POW TREE + C graphic organizer for writing an essay