Making Our Fourth Amendment Right Real

This lesson plan is based on the Annenberg Classroom video “Search and Seizure: Mapp v. Ohio,” which explores the landmark search-and-seizure case that makes state governments also responsible for protecting our Fourth Amendment right. With the exclusionary rule, this right becomes real for all of us.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The Fourth Amendment and Teens

What does the Fourth Amendment mean in the lives of teens? When they are driving? When they are using their cell phone? When they are at a house party? The Supreme Court has found that it is not a guarantee against all searches and seizures, but only those that are deemed unreasonable under law. These activities, which engage all learning styles, apply Supreme Court precedents to relatable, teen scenarios. The resources are ready for immediate use in courtrooms and classrooms

  • Resource Type: Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Legislative Branch/Congress
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 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

“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”

Frederick Douglass earned wide renown as an outspoken and eloquent critic of the institution of slavery. In this speech before a sizeable audience of New York abolitionists, Douglass reminds them that the Fourth of July, though a day of celebration for white Americans, was still a day of mourning for slaves and former slaves like himself, because they were reminded of the unfulfilled promise of equal liberty for all in the Declaration of Independence.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12

Search and Seizure: Mapp v. Ohio

This documentary explores the Fourth Amendment case Mapp v. Ohio in which the Supreme Court ruled that evidence illegally obtained by police is not admissible in state courts. The 1961 case redefined the rights of the accused. A PDF lesson plan accompanies this video.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Special Needs/Language Focus, Translated Materials, Video
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

A Conversation on Search and Seizure

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and a group of high school students discuss the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure and the importance of the exclusionary rule. This video complements the documentary Search and Seizure: Mapp v. Ohio.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Special Needs/Language Focus, Translated Materials, Video
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Bill of Rights In The News: Supreme Court GPS Warrant Ruling

The United States Supreme Court upheld a District of Columbia Appeals Court ruling on the case United States v. Jones (2012) on Monday, January 23, 2012. The unanimous decision affirmed that police must obtain a search warrant before using Global Positioning System (GPS) devices to track the vehicles of suspected criminals. The justices agreed that not obtaining a search warrant in this type of situation was a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

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