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Language Arts Unit 1
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Social Studies Unit 1
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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 7: Amendments 4 & 9 - Search & Seizure Laws Under the Patriot Act

Class Time Required: two 45 minute periods.

Purpose, Background and Context: Students will read an article about the Patriot Act and decide if they want to change the law.

Objectives for Student Understandings: Students should understand the principles and workings of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the legal implications of the War on Terror.

Objectives for Student Skill Development: Students should be able to read for understanding, evaluate secondary documents using a variety of strategies, learn to make choices based on reasoned arguments, assess contrasting theories, generalize from given facts, predict and draw conclusions based on partial information, predict consequences of actions, and verify the value of evidence.

Materials, Resources and Readings: Reading on the USA Patriot Act from the Constitutional Rights Foundation (; information about the Patriot Act from the Wikipedia (

Lesson Questions:           
What do you do that you don’t want people to know about?
What is the ‘right to privacy’?
How does the current government understand this right?

Procedure 1 (15 Minutes)
Start by telling your students that everyone does things they don’t want other people to know about, even the teacher. Mention things like going to the bathroom. If you have a strong relationship with your students, they will volunteer things that they do that they probably shouldn’t tell you, like underage drinking or smoking, or taking money or alcohol from their parents. Your students might even tell you about crimes they may know about that they or other students have committed. Give them time to write down some of the things they do in private that they don’t want people to know about. When they are done, ask them to tell you what they have written. Students may emphatically say that they will not tell you, or write anything down, but you will know that they indeed do things they do not want to tell you. This desire for secrecy adds to the lesson, as you will see.

Conclude this part of the lesson by asking them broadly what a right to privacy means. They should be able to define this right by using information from the last few lessons.

Procedure 2 (5 Minutes)
Remind the students about the 9th Amendment, which says that there are rights that they have that are not in the Constitution. This amendment is sometimes used to guarantee people a right to privacy. Also, the 4th amendment protects them from unreasonable search and seizure of their property by the government. Remind students that under this amendment, in most cases, the government MUST get a search warrant before they can look into their lives or take anything they own.

Procedure 3 (10 Minutes)
Restate the Franklin quotation from the last page of the document: “If you want give up your rights, you don’t deserve to have them in the first place.” Ask them to tell you what Franklin means by it, and then give them some background knowledge of the Patriot Act (passed by Congress right after 9/11, surrenders rights to government, etc.).

Procedure 4 (30 Minutes)
Before class, you can establishing some groups using what you have seen the previous lessons. Each group should have a good mix of high ability and lower ability students, as well as talkers and writers, and experienced and inexperienced students. Have them answer targeted questions. So, start off by giving half the groups Discussion and Writing Question 1, and half the groups Discussion and Writing Question 2. Also, ask each group to explain to each other what Sections 213, 215, and 216 specifically do to help the government fight terrorists.

You may try to break them into groups by ability and give the high ability students more difficult questions. However, the low ability learners may require more help than you can provide during this lesson. After they are done, return to whole class discussion, and have them give their answers out loud.

Procedure 5 (5 Minutes)
Return to group work, and assign each group one of the aspects of the Patriot Act to either support or not support. Give them five minutes to think of specific reasons why they think the act violates the 4th and 9th Amendments, or why each part of the Patriot Act is necessary to protect our freedoms. If they do not support the specific part of the act, ask them to explain why that part is not important to the War on Terror. Students need to know before discussion they cannot repeat other’s responses; therefore they must prepare multiple responses.

After they are done, ask each group to explain why they do or do not support the specific Patriot Act provisions about privacy. Be sure each group gives examples and reasons for their decisions. Collect and evaluate notebooks at the end of the lesson for 5 points.


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