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Bill of Rights Day

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

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, 2016 is the 225th 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.