U.S. v. Lopez (1995)

Did Congress have the power to pass the Gun Free School Zones Act? After a 12th-grade student was arrested under the act, he and his lawyers challenged the constitutionality of the law.

  • Resource Type: Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Guns and School Safety

The Constitutional Rights Foundation provides resources to help students, teachers, administrators, and districts think about the best way forward for their communities and states. Resources include a simulation activity in which students act as state legislators trying to design the most effective policy for reduction of gun violence in their state (grades 9-12); a civil conversation in which students participate in a small-group discussion (middle school); talking points on the causes of school violence; and more.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Simulation
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Interactive Constitution: Second Amendment (High School)

This lesson introduces students to different viewpoints and debates surrounding the 2nd Amendment by using the National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution. Students will build understanding of the resources and methods used by justices on the Supreme Court and Constitutional scholars when analyzing and forming opinions about articles, sections, and clauses of the Constitution.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Essays, Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 12

Interactive Constitution: Second Amendment (Middle Level)

This lesson introduces students to different viewpoints and debates surrounding the 2nd Amendment by using the National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution. Students will build understanding of the resources and methods used by justices on the Supreme Court and Constitutional scholars when analyzing and forming opinions about articles, sections, and clauses of the Constitution.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 8

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

The Second Amendment

Why do we have a right to bear arms? How has that right changed? This video lecture is part of an online course called “Introduction to Key Constitutional Concepts and Supreme Court Cases,” taught by University of Pennsylvania law professor Kermit Roosevelt III. The course explores the questions: Where does the Constitution come from? How has it changed over the years? How do we know what it means?

  • Resource Type: Video
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

D.C. v. Heller (2008)

Do D.C. provisions violate the rights of private citizens who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court answered that question in 2008.

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

8th Grade: Understanding the Second Amendment through Primary Sources: Assessing the Supreme Court’s Opinion in D.C. v. Heller

In this lesson students, will examine the scope, origins and development of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Students will assess and evaluate the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) by assuming the role of Supreme Court justice and engaging directly with the historical source materials used by the Court. Students will then work together as a class to decide on the scope and meaning of the Second Amendment.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 8

Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights is on permanent display at the National Archives in Washington, DC. This original joint resolution of Congress proposed 12 amendments to the United States Constitution, but only 10 were ratified. Added to the Constitution in 1791 as the first 10 amendments, the Bill of Rights explicitly protected freedom of speech, of the press, of religion, and of assembly, among many other rights.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12