Main content

Bill of Rights Day

Celebrate more than 225 years of the Bill of Rights — the First Ten Amendments to the Constitution — on its December 15 anniversary, or anytime throughout December. 

Bill of Rights Day is Every Day

Celebrate the impact of the Bill of Rights on everyday life with this video, discussion starter, and a selection of courtroom simulations that illuminate rights that easily can be taken for granted.

In addition to these assets, find Bill of Rights offerings produced by leading civics education organizations that are aggregated on the Civics Renewal Network (CRN) website. The nation's leading civics education organizations have pooled their best Bill of Rights content -- more than 200 resources -- on the CRN website with a wide range of other civics education topics. This one-stop, living archive presents resources that are searchable by topic, grade, resource type, standards, and teaching strategy. The Civics Renewal Network is a consortium of nonpartisan, nonprofit entities that produce free, high-quality resources for teachers. Lifelong learners also find a lot to appreciate on the site.

Another approach to studying the Bill of Rights is accessible on the National Constitution Center's Interactive Constitution. This website and mobile app stimulate critical thinking by offering a way to  examine different perspectives on the U.S. Constitution and its Amendments put forward by Constitutional scholars.

Discussion Prompt: What's On Your Mind?

This 50-minute activity includes showing a three-minute, thought-provoking video. 

Students Sound Off About the Bill of Rights. Supporting materials are ready for immediate use in courtrooms and classrooms with no additional research, or reading required.

The video stimulates students to think about an Amendment that has a significant impact on what is important to them in their lives. The video is followed by a question formation activity that sets the stage for students to get invested and involved in critical thinking and civil discussion. The activity can be facilitated by a teacher, a federal judge, or an attorney.

Calendar Note: December 15, 2017 is the 226th anniversary of the Bill of Rights; however, it is celebrated throughout the month. An option to consider, contact a local chapter of the Federal Bar Association and request a lawyer to lead this activity.

Objectives

  • To give students experience with the vital skills of 1) forming and asking questions and 2) engaging in civil discussion on controversial issues with peers and adults.
  • To give students the experience of claiming their personal stake in the Bill of Rights and the role of the courts in protecting those rights.

Activity Overview

  • Agenda

    • Participants:  High school students
    • Teacher/Student Preparation:  None
    • Judge/Lawyer Preparation: 10 minutes reviewing the video and the guidance tips
  • Activity Duration: 50 minutes
  • Location:  Courtroom or classroom.
  • Centerpiece Resource:  3-Minute Video -- Students Sound Off About the Bill of Rights

Distribute the Handouts. Give participants a one-page list of the Bill of Rights. Because students are most likely to show interest in the First Amendment and Fourth Amendment, they should receive two handouts that focus on these two Amendments. Word clouds for the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment are spring boards for students’ questions.