First Amendment: Speech

When does the First Amendment allow the government to limit speech? Many Americans struggle with understanding the language and subsequent interpretation of the Constitution, especially when it comes to the rights encapsulated in the First Amendment. While many Americans can agree that speech should be protected, there are disagreements over when, where, and how speech should be limited or restricted. This lesson encourages students to examine their own assumptions and to deepen their understanding of current accepted interpretation of speech rights under the First Amendment, including when and where speech is protected and/or limited. It should reinforce the robustness of the First Amendment protections of speech.

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

Interactive Constitution: Eighth Amendment (High School)

This lesson introduces students to different viewpoints and debates surrounding the 8th 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, Interactives, Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 12

Interactive Constitution: Eighth Amendment (Middle Level)

This lesson introduces students to different viewpoints and debates surrounding the 8th 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, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 8

Interactive Constitution: Fourth Amendment (High School)

This lesson introduces students to different viewpoints and debates surrounding the 4th 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, Interactives, Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 12

Interactive Constitution: Fourth Amendment (Middle Level)

This lesson introduces students to different viewpoints and debates surrounding the 4th 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, Interactives, Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 8

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

Landmark Supreme Court Cases: Scott v. Sandford

Using video clips from the Landmark Supreme Court Case series, a partnership between C-SPAN and the National Constitution Center, students will research and role-play to better understand the legal, social, and economic factors relating to– and implications of– the majority and dissenting opinions in this infamous case.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Essays, Interactives, Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Landmark Supreme Court Cases: Slaughterhouse Cases

In this lesson, students examine a constitutional challenge to the regulation of the New Orleans meat butchering industry under the Fourteenth Amendment. Students will use short clips from C-Span’s Landmark Cases program on the Slaughterhouse Cases and additional resources respond to an essay prompt. A rubric to assess student’s writing and understanding of content is provided.

  • Resource Type: Interactives, Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12