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Educational Resources

Classroom Materials

The National Constitution Center offers cutting-edge, standards-based civic education programs that connect the Constitution with classroom curriculum. This includes a variety of lesson plans around the Bill of Rights, focusing on topics such as the First Amendment, privacy rights in schools, and more. Lesson are both created by the museum’s education staff and featured from the museum’s educational partners.

Videos

Constitution Hall Pass “Constitution Day 2014: The Bill of Rights”

Our brand-new episode, “Constitution Day 2014: The Bill of Rights,” provides a behind-the-scenes look at how these 10 amendments were created and interpreted. Students will:

  • DISCOVER the roots of the Bill of Rights in the Revolutionary War and the state constitutions.
  • VISIT the Constitutional Convention to listen in on the debates about a bill of rights.
  • HEAR the voices of the ratifying conventions as they influenced James Madison’s work in writing the Bill of Rights.
  • LEARN what the Bill of Rights actually says—and how long it’s taken to make those rights a reality.
  • EXPLORE the process of judicial review and the ways citizens use the courts to bring the Bill of Rights to life.

Constitution Hall Pass: “The Bill of Rights

Tune in to the Bill of Rights Day episode of the National Constitution Center’s free webcast and live chat that’s a hit with students and teachers nationwide. All you need is an internet connection to participate! In this engaging episode of Constitution Hall Pass, explore the fascinating story of our Constitution’s first ten amendments—from James Madison’s efforts to compile a list of essential freedoms, through the years when the document’s provisions were seldom applied, to present-day court cases that impact all Americans.
Produced by the National Constitution Center, Constitution Hall Pass is a free, fun, and fascinating webcast and live chat series.

Constitution Hall Pass: The Bill of Rights 2010
In this episode of Constitution Hall Pass, explore the compelling story of our Constitution’s first ten amendments, from James Madison’s efforts to compile a list of essential freedoms, through the years when the document’s provisions were seldom applied, to present-day court cases that impact all Americans.

Constitution Hall Pass: Freedom of Expression
In this episode of Constitution Hall Pass, take a look at why we needed a Constitution so badly—especially after some people expressed themselves with another rebellion! See and hear the story of creating that Constitution and the efforts it took to get it ratified, topping it off with a trip to New Hampshire to see where the Constitution went into effect. And learn about how the Constitution gave us a three-branched government to protect our rights, and how the Bill of Rights gave us the First Amendment and the freedom to express ourselves—out loud!

Lesson Plans

Understanding Your Rights Lesson Plan

In this lesson students will first become acquainted with the wording of the Bill of Rights and determine language that needs further defining. Then, students will apply their knowledge of the Bill of Rights to images illustrating specific liberties. Afterwards, students will reflect on their knowledge and inquire about rights in other settings. A range of assessment options are presented for instructors.

The Bill of Rights Grades 3-5 and Grades 6-8
This lesson, which includes a pre-lesson and several post-lesson ideas, is designed to be used in conjunction with the National Constitution Center’s Bill of Rights show, which is available as part of themed museum packages for groups and the Traveling History & Civics Program for schools. Together, they provide students with first-hand experience about one of our nation’s most important documents. In this lesson, students begin by learning about the specific rights and freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights.

The Exchange: Should Students’ Cyber Speech be Protected Under the First Amendment?
This lesson encourages students to deliberate on the issue of cyber speech and the First Amendment. Through the use of court cases and school policy, students will be able to define student expression rights and then evaluate the necessity and constitutionality of censoring and reprimanding students’ online social networking behavior.

The Exchange: When Should Increased Security Measures Outweigh Your Privacy Rights in Schools?
This activity encourages students to deliberate on the issue of balancing privacy and security. From bag searches in schools to body scans in airports, some citizens claim certain security actions are intrusive and unconstitutional. Others say protecting students and the public from harm justifies enhanced security measures.

What Can I Say in School? An Examination of Students’ Freedom of Speech
Students will investigate the legal language defining their freedom of speech rights. Participants will analyze landmark Supreme Court cases that define students’ freedom of speech, and then examine a recent challenge, Hawk and McDonald-Martinez v. Easton Areas School district(2013)—otherwise known as the I Heart Boobies case. To guide thinking, students will apply the IRAC case analysis technique and then will write majority and dissenting opinions as Supreme Court Justices.

Activities

Amendment Cootie Catchers
This clever twist on the classic cootie catcher tests your knowledge of the first 10 amendments. Can you guess the rights hidden behind each amendment?

Bill of Rights Bingo
Get more familiar with the Bill of Rights with this simple bingo game.

Games

Bill of Rights Game
Help restore the Bill of Rights in this online game.

Museum Programs

The Center offers themed museum packages for groups visiting the museum, as well as the Traveling History & Civics Program for in the classroom. These programs engage and entertain students with interactive activities on specific constitutional topics, including the Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights
Who wants to be a “Bill-ionaire?” Students learn about the Bill of Rights and its creation during this fast-paced game show.

Free to Be You
This fast-paced game show explores the First Amendment and the freedoms it protects.

Historical Documents

Interactive Constitution: The Bill of Rights
Read the text of the first 10 amendments and explore phrase-by-phrase, easy-to-understand analysis.

The U.S. Constitution: Full Text
Read the full text of the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, and download a printable PDF.

The U.S. Constitution: Full-Text Translations
Download printable PDFs of the text in Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean,
Portuguese, Russian, and Simplified Chinese.

Virginia Declaration of Rights
Drafted by George Mason, this declaration of rights later became a model for other state constitutions and the Bill of Rights.

Online Resources

Visit the Center’s blog, Constitution Daily,  for smart, straightforward commentary on the latest constitutional issues in the news.