The goal of this activity is to introduce 8th grade students to the Fourteenth Amendment of the U. S. Constitution (equal protection under the law).
Constitution Day Lesson 14th Amendment
The President’s Roles and Responsibilities: Communicating with the President
Through several activities, students learn about the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. president and their own duties as citizens of a democracy
Why Do We Have a House and Senate, Anyway?
Students learn why there are two houses of Congress and discover how a bicameral legislature ensures that states have a voice in bills. Together, the class creates a school cell phone policy and experiments with different voting groups that demonstrate why the bicameral compromise was necessary. Students also examine how things might be different today if there were just a House or a Senate.
To Sign or Not to Sign: The Ultimate Constitution Day Lesson Plan
This lesson plan was developed to help schools meet the Constitution Day education requirement. Students examine the role of the people in shaping the U.S. Constitution and the ratification process. The lesson closes with an opportunity for students to sign the Constitution, if they choose, and to discuss what it means to sign or not sign.
In this lesson, students are asked which of two chocolate bars – one with nuts, one without – they prefer. A single representative is taken from each preference group. These representatives are given the chocolate bar that they prefer less, motivating a contractual trade. One student unknowingly has an empty wrapper, eliciting debate after the trade is completed. The class concludes by discussing possible equitable solutions.
Participating in the Jury System
Students participate in activities and discussions about the relationship of a democratic society to its legal institutions, and the issues of fairness and equality under the law and legal system. They learn how constitutional amendments such as the Fourteenth Amendment influence lawsuits, and they will apply concepts within the Bill of Rights to jury trials. Students conduct research to compare the U.S. jury trial system to trial systems in other countries.
What Is A Good Rule? Creating Our Ballot Questions
This lesson offers students the opportunity to play the role of voters with special interests. Students draw up initiatives for new classroom or school rules. Working in groups of four or five, students share their ideas and rationale for new rules.
Interpreting the Law
Students learn why laws need to be interpreted by discussing laws/constitutional provisions. They present their findings to the class.
American colonists had some strong ideas about what they wanted in a government. These ideas surface in colonial documents, and eventually became a part of the founding documents like the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. But where did they come from? This lesson looks at the Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, English Bill of Rights, Cato’s Letters and Common Sense.
Making Decisions: by Group: The Jury System
Students learn about the nation’s jury system and its importance to the rule of law in the United States. Students will experience the Sixth and Seventh Amendments at work as they engage in the main lesson activities, including one in which they will serve as jurors.