Battle for the Bill of Rights: Ultimate Survivor Amendment Game
Using laws and writings that inﬂuenced the development of the First Amendment, students “vote off” proposed amendments from the time period.
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- Distribute copies of Group 1 Draft Amendments to one group, Group 2 Draft Amendments to another, and Group 3 Amendments to a third group. Group 4 (the jury) should receive copies of all draft amendments.
- Let students know they will be playing a game to select the Ultimate Survivor Amendments. A “jury” of students will listen to several “draft” amendments, organized by theme, and then select three to adequately protect freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.
- In each group, students should read each draft amendment on their handout.
- Students should have a clear understanding of each proposal, and craft a compelling argument for including each one in a bill of rights.
- Then it’s time to plead their case to the jury/Group 4. At least four students from each group should argue passionately for their amendments before the jury. After the group has presented, the jury should deliberate and pick just one amendment from that group. Then, four students from Group 2 should present their arguments before the jury. Same for Group 3. By the end, the jury will have picked one amendment from each group, for a total of three.
After the winning amendments have been selected, reveal the originals of all proposals on the board. Then, ask:
- Did the class’ Ultimate Survivor Amendments fail or succeed in 1789–1791? How did they differ (or not) from the final First Amendment?
- Which was the ﬁrst amendment in each group voted out? What did students not like about them?
- What did the winning amendments have in common?
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4Present information such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
National Center for History in the Schools: NCHS.US History.Era 3Standard 1: The causes of the American Revolution, the ideas and interests involved in forging the revolutionary movement, and the reasons for the American victory Standard 2: The impact of the American Revolution on politics, economy, and society Standard 3: The institutions and practices of government created during the Revolution and how they were revised between 1787 and 1815 to create the foundation of the American political system based on the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights
National Council of Teachers of English: NCTE.12Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).