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The Bill of Rights in Action


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Keywords: Bill of Rights
Subject(s): Civics, Social Studies, History
Grade 8
School: Victory Lakes Intermediate, League City, TX
Planned By: Lori Diaz
Original Author: Lori Diaz, League City
In this lesson, students will view short video clips illustrating various rights in the first ten amendments to the Constitution. In groups, students will have to identify the right(s) in the video, discuss, and explain how that right is being celebrated.

Create a basic PowerPoint slide show of 11 slides.

Slide one is a warm up quotation from T. Jefferson..."[A] bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference."

In groups, have students ponder the quote and answer the following questions: Why do you think T.J. says “no just government should refuse” a bill of rights? What does he mean, “rest on inference?”

Slide two is an explanation of procedure: "Identify the Amendment AND specific part of the Amendment that protects the individual or state in the following video clips… Each video clip MAY represent more than one Amendment or part of Amendment"

The remaining slides are short clips of videos found on United Streaming. If your district does not subscribe, you can get a free 30 day trial and download the videos you will need during the trial period. You may also receive a "grant" from United Streaming for one year of service if you are the first campus in your district to contact them regarding subscription. Information regarding this opportunity is located on their website.

Do a search for video subjects that would illustrate a right being exercised or abused. You will need to use video editing software (such as MovieMaker) to edit the clips for time and relevance. My clips include...

"I have a dream speech" highlighting Amendment 1 (Speech, Assembly, Petition, and Press) Freedom: A History of US: Let Freedom Ring. PBS. 2002. Retrieved October 15, 2007, from unitedstreaming. http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com/
--Many students are aware of this speech and its effects; however, they have never heard it nor seen it delivered. The students are so interested in this clip that we view it several times to get the full essence of the experience.

"Instructions to the jury" highlighting Amendments 5, 6, & 7. You, the Jury. United Learning (1995). Retrieved November 12, 2005, from unitedstreaming: http://www.unitedstreaming.com/

"Petition to end war" highlighting Amendment 1. (Petition, Assembly, Press) Archives of War: The Vietnam War. United Learning (2004). Retrieved November 12, 2005, from unitedstreaming: http://www.unitedstreaming.com/

"Search" highlighting Amendment 4. Cops Are Tops: Our Police at Work. Rainbow Educational Media (1994). Retrieved November 12, 2005, from unitedstreaming: http://www.unitedstreaming.com/

"Guns" highlighting Amendment 2. Stop the Violence (A Sunburst Title). Sunburst (1996). Retrieved November 12, 2005, from unitedstreaming: http://www.unitedstreaming.com/

"Malcolm X" highlighting Amendment 1 (Speech, Assembly, Press, Religion). City Desk with Malcolm X. United Learning (1963). Retrieved November 12, 2005, from unitedstreaming: http://www.unitedstreaming.com/

"Secession" highlighting Amendment 10. Civil War. 100% Educational Videos (2003). Retrieved November 12, 2005, from unitedstreaming: http://www.unitedstreaming.com/

Students use a teacher created form to generally describe each clip they viewed and give detailed information about the rights they feel each clip refers to. There may be multiple rights associated with each clip and subject.
Follow-Up
Students reflect on their classroom experience by writing a response in their journal to this prompt:
"Reflect on the video clips you witnessed in class today. Which clip affected you the most? Explain. How did the existence of the Bill of Rights affect the people or events in the clip?"
Links: Link to United Streaming
Materials: Slideshow, Word Processor, Flash/USB Drives