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First Amendment: Freedom of Religion

This activity explores the line between religion and public schools with a focus on the Supreme Court case Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962). Students will examine the question: Is school-sponsored prayer in public schools unconstitutional?

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How to Use These Resources

This activity is a modified Oxford style debate.

  1. To get started, have participants read theEngel v. Vitale facts and case summary.
  2. Assign student attorneys to the issues listed in the talking points. They are suggested points– not a script–for the debate. Student attorneys are encouraged to add their own arguments.
  3. All other students are jurors who deliberate (and may refer to these talking points) during the open floor debate. They debate among themselves in the large group or smaller groups and come to a verdict after the attorneys present closing arguments.