You Can’t Say That: In My Opinion

Apply what you learned about constitutional exceptions to the First Amendment by studying a modern situations. Be sure to summarize the facts of the situation and then present your opinion about whether the actions of the individual in the scenario were protected by the First Amendment. If you disagree with the court, school or law enforcement’s decision, be sure to explain why you disagree.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Freedom and Religion: A Lesson Plan on “The May-Pole of Merry Mount”

What kind of religious beliefs and practices support civic freedom and virtue? Compare two guiding ideas of the American republic—the pursuit of happiness and the spirit of reverence—as editors Amy A. Kass, Leon R. Kass, and Diana Schaub discuss Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story with Yuval Levin (Ethics and Public Policy Center). Includes a discussion guide and model conversation.

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

Free to be You: Grades 6-8

This lesson is designed to be used in conjunction with the National Constitution Center’s Free to be You show, which is available as part of themed museum packages for groups and the Traveling History & Civics Program for schools.

Together, they help students understand how the First Amendment establishes five key freedoms of expression for Americans: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom to assemble peacefully, and freedom to petition the government.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

Free to be You: Grades 9-12

This lesson is designed to be used in conjunction with the National Constitution Center’s Free to be You show, which is available as part of themed museum packages for groups and the Traveling History & Civics Program for schools.

Together, they help students understand how the First Amendment establishes five key freedoms of expression for Americans: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom to assemble peacefully, and freedom to petition the government.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 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

Life Without the Bill of Rights?

Celebrate Constitution Day with a fun, interactive game – Life Without the Bill of Rights? is a click-and-explore activity that asks you to consider how life would change without some of our most cherished freedoms. Life Without the Bill of Rights invites you to understand the significance of constitutionally-protected rights including freedom of religion, speech, and press, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and the rights of private property.

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

Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972)

Under what conditions does the state’s interest in promoting compulsory education override parents’ First Amendment right to free exercise of religion? This resource is a case summary of Wisconsin v. Yoder, which tested the right of parents to withdraw their child from school for religious reasons.

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

James Madison and the First Amendment

This short video traces the evolution of Madison’s attitude towards the religious liberty guarantees of the First Amendment. Initially opposed to a Bill of Rights as both inappropriate and dangerous, Madison’s views changed as a result of political and philosophical considerations. Professor Jeffry Morrison emphasizes Madison’s belief that religion should play a vital but informal role in the life of the republic.

  • Resource Type: Video
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 11, 12