Teaching LGBT Rights

The history of equal rights for members of the LGBT community is something often overlooked in classroom curriculum. With the Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, it is important to look back at the men and women who fought for equality, especially right here in Philadelphia. Events, such as Reminder Day, are examples of how we can remember the contribution of men and women in the community who fought for their rights as citizens.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

From Provocative to Productive: Teaching Controversial Topics

Get first steps for creating a respectful yet vibrant environment for students to explore diverse ideas on controversial topics, from politics to profanity, religion to racism. Four guidelines and a debate leader checklist provide a foundation for those seeking to steer productive conversations about controversial subjects.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Obergefell v. Hodges and consolidated cases (2015)

Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license same-sex marriages? Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a same-sex marriage that was lawfully licensed out-of-state? Street Law provides case summaries for the major Supreme Court cases dealing with these questions.

  • Resource Type: Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Lawrence v. Texas (2003)

Does a Texas law that criminalizes sexual intimacy by same-sex couples violate the Fourteenth Amendment? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court answered that question in 2003.

  • Resource Type: Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Defining Marriage

This unit gives an overview of the legal history of marriage in the United States. It presents some of the privileges, benefits, and obligations that go along with getting married. It explains the current controversy about same-sex marriage. And it provides a model for discussion, called “structured academic controversy,” for exploring the facts, arguments, and options surrounding these issues.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Documents of Freedom: History, Government, and Economics Through Primary Sources

This complete online textbook covers American history, government, and economic concepts. Resources include readings for students, activity directions for teachers, and handouts that are downloadable and printable for classroom use. Content is geared toward students in grades 8-12. All materials are aligned with Common Core and individual state standards.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Essays, Games, Interactives, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Quizzes, Special Needs/Language Focus, Surveys, Video
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 12

Free Lesson Plans

The Bill of Rights Institute offers free eLessons to supplement current curriculum or to be used as independent lesson plans by educators in their own schedules. Teachers may subscribe to our newsletter and receive two free lesson plans each month, or simply visit our website and choose from our archive. Each eLesson contains historical content, connections to real life, classroom activities, downloadable PDFs, answer keys, discussion questions, and/or suggestions for further reading.

  • Resource Type: Books, Editorial Cartoons, ESL Appropriate, ESL Materials, Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Photography, Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Teaching With Current Events

Read breaking news related to the Bill of Rights, gathered by Institute staff every school day, from reputable news sources across the country. Our news stories are chosen with young people in mind and on the basis of ease of use in the classroom, clarity of the constitutional issue, and neutral presentation.

  • Resource Type: Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6