September 18, 2015
by Sanayya Sohail

Lesson plan

Do You Know Your Rights?

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Grade Subject

Students will learn the amendments listed in the Bill of Rights.

(10 minutes)
  • Ask your students if they know what the word right means.
  • Explain that a right is something that is given and cannot be taken away.
  • Ask your students about some rights that they have.
  • List the rights that they say on the board.
  • Make sure that they are stating rights, not privileges, which are special rights given to only some people.
(30 minutes)
  • Pass the Bill of Rights worksheet to your students.
  • Go over the amendments with the students, and instruct them to take notes.
  • As you go over each amendment, explain them more in detail.
  • Teach your students that the First Amendment grants people the right to choose their own religion and lets them speak freely, unless someone is offended and conducts a lawsuit.
  • Explain that the Second Amendment grants people the right to own weapons, but different states have different laws.
  • Note that the Third Amendment states that people don't have to keep soldiers in their houses, explaining that in the past, civilians were forced to do this.
  • Tell your students that the Fourth Amendment states that people can't be arrested without a warrant, or proof of an order from the court.
  • Inform your students that the Fifth Amendment states that people do not have to go through a court trial without a jury. Explain to your students that a jury is a group of people who don't know anything about the case and have sworn to decide based on the evidence and proof they see. Tell your students that if the jury decides that a person is not guilty, then they will not have to through another trial for that crime.
  • Explain that the Sixth Amendment states that a person has the right to know his crime, to see the people who are speaking against him, and have a lawyer to defend him.
  • The Seventh Amendment states that people can demand a jury trial even if they get in a fight with another person over a legal issue such as a business deal.
  • Teach your students that the Eight Amendment states that the government cannot give people an unfair punishment or fine to pay for their crime. For example, the court cannot order a person to stay in prison for 5 years for stealing 20 dollars.
  • Explain that the Ninth Amendment states that people have certain rights that are not listed in the Constitution. Give your students the example of a right to privacy.
  • Tell your students that the Tenth Amendment states that any power that doesn't belong to the federal government belongs to the state. Explain to your students that there are some laws that all United States citizens have to follow and some laws that only citizens of a certain state have to follow.
(20 minutes)
  • Ask your students to complete the Bill of Rights worksheet.
(30 minutes)
  • Ask your students to pick one amendment from the Bill of Rights.
  • Direct them to write and explain the amendment in one paragraph.
  • Then, instruct your students to write and explain two problems that would arise if the country didn't have that amendment in the second and third paragraphs.
  • Enrichment: Ask your students to write 5 rights that they wish they had in school. Instruct them to explain in two or three sentences why each right is important to have.
  • Support: Give each student 10 index cards. Ask your students to use their Bill of Rights worksheet to write an amendment on each index card. Ask your students to write examples for each amendment on the back of the card. Tell your students to use their notes.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask your students to complete The First Ten Amendments worksheet.
(15 minutes)
  • Have your students present the essays that they wrote for independent practice.

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