In 1791, three-fourths of the States ratified the first ten amendments (authored by James Madison) to the U.S. Constitution that now make up the Bill of Rights. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed December 15 as “Bill of Rights Day” in 1941, marking the 150th anniversary of its ratification.
Start by having your students read the Bill of Rights, found in America’s History in the Making, unit 6, “The New Nation.”
Try the critical thinking activity in Democracy in America, unit 4, “Civil Liberties: Safeguarding the Individual,” to learn about what happens when the exercise of our rights infringes upon the rights of others.
Watch as Wendy Ewbank and her students engage in two simulations – a press conference and a town hall meeting – examining the role of the Supreme Court in sustaining individual rights. Social Studies in Action, Grades 6-8, “Landmark Supreme Court Cases,” also includes ideas to try in your own classroom.
More resources for teaching about the Bill of Rights:
Democracy in America, unit 5, “Civil Rights: Demanding Equality”
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