Prepare for Trial

In this lesson, students will learn about the relationship between constitutional rights and fair and unbiased jury selection. Jury duty is an important civic responsibility, and justice in America requires the work of each branch of government as well as the citizens who serve on juries.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

Participating in the Jury System

Students will 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 will discover how constitutional amendments such as the Fourteenth Amendment influence lawsuits, and they will apply concepts within the Bill of Rights to jury trials.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

A History of Conflict and Resolution and the Jury System

Students will gain an understanding of the modern jury system and historical methods of conflict resolution. They will compare and contrast the different trial methods of past and present, and analyze each as a way to resolve conflict. They will examine jury trials and the responsibility to decide the facts. Then students will write a persuasive essay arguing for their preferred method of trial.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

Making Decisions by Group: The Jury System

Students will 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.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

What Makes an Amendment?

Students will learn about the process of amending the Constitution. They will review the details of the amendment process and discuss its pros and cons. In class activities, assignments, and the Lesson Extensions, student partners and groups will create persuasive presentations that they will share with the class to gain support for an amendment.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

We the People: An Analysis of the Constitution

Students will recognize the different parts of the U.S. Constitution and conduct a close text reading to discover the meaning and significance of each part. In the main activities, they will analyze the way in which the document balances the workings of the government with the rights of the individual. The Lesson Extensions will support these analyses with text-based evidence from primary text sources.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

Voting and the Constitution

Students will learn about the Constitution’s many provisions for voting, including how votes affect the makeup of the government and its branches. The lesson and lesson extensions will have students engage in activities and participate in discussions about how officials are chosen in the three branches of government and how the election process includes the Electoral College.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

The Jury System

In this lesson, students will learn about the jury system. Its origins are important to understanding how the Constitution was developed and comprehending how the jury system fulfills dual roles: engaging citizens in their government and ensuring individual liberty. Students should understand the ongoing balance between the common good and individual freedom.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8