Graham v. Florida (2010)

Is sentencing a minor to life without parole for a non-homicide crime “cruel and unusual” punishment under the Eighth Amendment? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court answered that question in 2010.

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

Kennedy v. Louisiana (2008)

Do states violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment by imposing the death sentence for the crime of child rape? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court answered that question in 2008.

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

Atkins v. Virginia (2002)

Does the Eighth Amendment prohibit the execution of prisoners with intellectual disabilities convicted of capital crimes? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court answered that question in 2002.

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

Baze v. Rees (2008)

Does Kentucky’s lethal injection method violate the Eighth Amendment? 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

Miller v. Alabama (2012)

Does a sentence of life without parole for a 14-year-old convicted of murder violate the Eighth Amendment? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court answered that question in 2012.

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

Bill of Rights: Hypothetical Cases

“No unreasonable search and seizure, free speech, no cruel and unusual punishment.” These phrases from the Bill of Rights are often seen by students as just more information to memorize. To truly understand the importance of the protections in the Bill of Rights, students must be asked to apply and discuss the amendments. This activity is designed to help them do just that— apply the amendments to hypothetical situations and discuss their importance.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

Putting the Bill of Rights to the Test

This primary source-based workbook (as PDF or eBook/ePub) helps students explore some of the protections found in the Bill of Rights and how they’ve been tested throughout U.S. history. Each chapter includes background information, guiding questions, analysis questions, primary sources, and discussion questions. Concepts include freedom of religion, speech and press; the right to assemble, petition, bear arms, and have counsel; search and seizure; due process; and cruel and unusual punishment.

  • Resource Type: Books, Photography, Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Kansas v. Marsh (2006)

Is a Kansas statute allowing the death penalty when mitigating and aggravating evidence are equal in violation of the Eighth Amendment? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court answered that question in 2006.

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

Annenberg Classroom’s That’s Your Right

This fun online card game teaches middle and high school students about their rights under the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. The game offers three skill levels as a player tries to match a right with scenario. Founder cards grant players special abilities that give them an advantage in game play.

  • Resource Type: Games
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12