Image of the Bill of Rights

When the idea of a government over the people of the United States arose and its Constitution was written, people were nervous that the government would take too much power and people would lose important rights.

In our country, we have added to the Constitution amendments that change the Constitution. The first 10 amendments were added right away and are called the Bill of Rights. Because of the Bill of Rights, United States citizens enjoy many freedoms that other countries do not have. In this lesson you and your student will identify constitutional rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

Activator:

Visit the National Archives to see the original Bill of Rights. 

The Bill of Rights was ratified by three-fourths of the newly formed United States in 1791 to ensure individual rights that were not addressed in the United States Constitution. These first 10 amendments to the Constitution enumerate and protect many of our rights, including freedom of speech, worship, the press, and assembly. 

Activity #1:

Watch videos from The Constitution Center: The Bill of Rights video

  • There are two videos linked on this web page. The first video is shorter (15 minutes) and provides an overview of the first ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights. 
  • Consider this question, how does the Bill of Rights impact you, a student? 

Activity #2:

Play Do I have a Right? Game

  • In this game, students will run their own firm of lawyers specializing in constitutional law.
  • Select "no thanks" when asked to create an account.
  • Select “new game”
  • And then select “Bill of Rights edition"

Closure:

After completing the activator and activity, close the lesson through a discussion with your student.

  1. What are amendments?
  2. What is the purpose of amendments?
  3. What are some individual rights protected by the Constitution?
  4. What do you think is the most important right for a citizen to have in a free country?
  5. What are some things you are free to do that some people in other countries are not? 

(Additional Resource: Bill of Rights – Select PDF Version )

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