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Objectives: By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
Enduring Understanding: Students will understand the structure and function of the United States government established by the Constitution.
Background For Teachers:
Student Prior Knowledge:
Step 2: Write “Bill of Rights” on the board and ask the class for definitions. Explain to the class that the Bill of Rights is the 1st 10 amendments made to the Constitution. Make sure students understand that an amendment is a change to the Constitution. (You may want to review Article 5 of the Constitution in which the process of constitutional amendments is discussed. It may also be interesting to note that in the 200-plus years since the writing of this sacred document, only 27 “changes” or amendments have been made.) Also, explain that these first 10 are our guarantees or certain rights as people. Some of these rights protect those accused of a crime; others rights protect the minority: each of the amendments included in the Bill of Rights help to ensure a more democratic society and lessens the possibility of an usurpation of power by those in authority.
Step 3: At this point, tell the students that we are going to look at each of these 10 amendments in terms of examples that might apply to us. Have students read the examples (attached) and have students look in their Constitution to find the appropriate Bill of Rights that applies to each example. (These examples were created for my students at my school; please feel free to adjust or to make up your own.) As students read and identify the proper Bill of Rights, list them on the board ad encourage students to write them down. (It is easier for students to remember if keywords are used rather than entire definitions.) Also, discuss the historical reasons for each amendment. (For example, the 3rd amendment was passed as a direct result of the Quartering Act so hated by the colonists.)
Step 4: Once all the examples have been read and each amendment has been discussed, review their knowledge with the “Bill of Rights BINGO”. You may create a BINGO card for each student, or have them create their own in class (see attachment for example). Students should create a table (5 rows, 5 columns) with an amendment (1-10) in each space, leaving the center space FREE. You will also need to provide students “markers” (beans or popcorn kernels work well) and be prepared with the lettered numbers (B-1, N-8) to call out. When everyone has a BINGO card, begin the “game.” However, instead of simply calling the letter and number, call the letter and the guarantee or the amendment. For example, B-Freedom or speech. N- No cruel or unusual punishment. It’s up to you if you want to let students use their books or notes. You may want to play a couple games, allowing books/notes at first and then having students put these things away. When a student gets “BINGO”, he/she doesn’t not win unless he/she can go through each square and recite what the amendment is and explain what it means. You may even want to require the student to provide an example with each amendment named to truly assess his/her understanding.
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