Bill of Rights
Students explore the amendments of the Bill of Rights and learn how important, and unique, our rights are from those in many other countries.
- Grades: 3–5
- Unit Plan:
Students will be able to identify why the Bill of Rights is so important to our freedoms.
- Write some of the important rights included in the Bill of Rights.
- Copies of the Bill of Rights, available online from The National Archives or the Bill of Rights Institute
- Bill of Rights Test (PDF)
- Bill of Rights Test Answers (PDF)
Set Up and Prepare
Step 1: Begin the lesson by explaining and discussing that when the idea of having a government over the people came up and the Constitution was being written, people got very nervous that the government would take too much power and people would lose important rights. Explain, "In our country, we have added to the Constitution amendments that change the Constitution. The first 10 of these were added right away and are called the Bill of Rights."
Step 2: Ask students to answer the following question: "Because of the Bill of Rights, we enjoy many freedoms that other countries do not have. What are some things we are free to do that some people in other countries are not?" Students might come up with freedom of religion, freedom to say what you think about the government, freedom to have a jury trial, freedom to have your privacy protected, the necessity of warrants, etc.
Step 3: Pass out the copies of the Bill of Rights. Ask students if they have heard of some of these before. Discuss. Go over what each amendment means.
Step 4: Hand out and go over the Bill of Rights Test (PDF). Students can work on their own, as partners, or in groups. Go over the answers in class.
Students complete the Bill of Rights Test. Ask the students to share what they have learned with their family at home and discuss the next day in class.
- Do the students understand the various rights?
- Can they use their sheet to help locate which rights apply?
- Do the students discuss their answers using the Bill of Rights?
- Do they seem to understand how important our rights are and how different they are from the rights of people in many other countries?
As students work on the Bill of Rights Test, you can monitor their discussion and adjust the lesson if they need help.