Project Overview
Language Arts Unit 1
Language Arts Unit 2
Science Unit
Social Studies Unit 1
Social Studies Unit 2

Studies (1)

Unit Overview

1. Introduction

2. Rights Scorecard

3. Amendment Comics

4. Separation of Powers

5. Vocabulary Assessment

6. Graphic Images

7. Search and Seizure

8. A Debate on Cruel and Unusual Punishment

9. Due Process

10. Project



Lesson 2: News Flash: Save Your Rights!

Class Time Required: two 45 minute periods.

Purpose, Background and Context: Students will be introduced to basic rights by completing a chart ranking those rights. To check for understanding, the class will discuss what rights they think are the most important. Moreover, this lesson will offer the teacher the opportunity to witness student capabilities and to track those capabilities for differentiation in the rest of the unit. Also, the pre-assessment quality of this lesson will allow teachers to focus on what students need to learn about the Bill of Rights.

Objectives for Student Understandings: Students should understand vocabulary words relevant to the Constitution and the federal government, the principles and workings of the Constitution, the Constitution and its amendment process, and the Bill of Rights.

Objectives for Student Skill Development: Students should read for understanding, learn to make choices based on reasoned arguments, predict and draw conclusions based on partial information, and verify the value of evidence.

Materials, Resources and Readings: News Flash Worksheet (

Lesson Questions:           
What is a basic right?
What basic rights are the most important to you?
Which of your basic rights are being violated?

Preface (5 Minutes)
Vocabulary words (See vocab list at end of the unit’s overview).

Procedure 1 (10 Minutes)
Write the first lesson question on the board: Give students time to answer. Then ask them for their answers, and write them on the board. Make sure you have all of the basic rights from the worksheet on the board. You may have to list additional rights to complete the list. Be sure you explain each right by writing down the definition or an example on the board.

Procedure 2 (15 Minutes)
Pass out the News Flash Worksheet. Ask for a volunteer/s to read through the “Mad Scientist’s Bulletin.” The instructions for the worksheet are as follows: students should identify which of the 10 rights are the most important to them. They should then rank them from most important to least important, five being the most important right to them. Because students will be working with a partner in the second part of this assignment, they work alone on this part.

For example, a student might rank rights as follows;
5 Points: Freedom of Speech
4 Points: Right to Bear Arms
3 Points: Access to Legal Counsel
2 Points: Freedom to Assemble
1 Point: Freedom of Religion

Procedure 3 (20 Minutes)
Explain the back half of the worksheet. In Column 1, they should place the number of points for each right next to the right’s name. So, in Column 1, the above student should have the number 5 in the box that aligns with Freedom of Speech, 4 in the box that aligns with Arms, 3 should align in Column 1 with Counsel, and so forth. Complete the words in our example.

After they have placed their rights on the scoreboard, they should share their answers, in 6 groups or less. As a pre-assessment for the next lesson, be sure to take notes on performance and ability so you can differentiate for following exercises.

The groups of students should come to some consensus about rights and priorities, and those answers should be placed in Column 2. After students are done doing this, you are ready to return to whole group instruction again.

Procedure 4 (20 Minutes)
Use a different column for each group’s answers. You can ask groups to come to the board to place their numbers, or you can have them read their answers aloud, and place them in the columns yourself. Once you have all of the columns filled in, you can total them up in the far right hand column. The rights with the highest column total are the ones that are most important to the class. The ones with the lowest are the least important. Begin the discussion by asking the class what basic rights are the most important to them, based on what they learned from this exercise.

Procedure 5 (20 minutes)
You can check for student understanding by asking them what rights they feel are being violated. At an alternative school, you should have no problem finding a student who feels that their rights are being violated, and you should ask them for an example. Put the example on the board. Then pass out paper for them to draw a cartoon of their basic rights being violated. For example, they may think that their parents violate a protection from unreasonable search and seizure, and they may choose to illustrate that violation. They may all chose the same right, but the purpose of this part of the exercise is to conduct a second pre-assessment, an evaluation of their artistic skills. The cartoons will allow you figure out which students are high ability artists, and which may be approached for further artistic investigation. When they have completed their cartoon, you are ready for the next lesson. If students permit, you can put the cartoons on the classroom wall. Or, you can have a discussion about the content of the cartoons and lesson questions. They should receive 10 points for the cartoon they finish.


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