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30-60 minutes
  • Civil Rights
  • 6-12

  1. Break students into small groups and ask them to read the “Allowed or Not Allowed?” worksheet and circle yes or no for each scenario. They should attempt to agree as a group on one answer per scenario.
  2. As a class, discuss each scenario and the decision-making process using the prompts below.

  • Allowed or Not Allowed worksheet (download), one per student
  • Allowed or Not Allowed teacher background sheet (included in Allowed or Not Allowed overview) 

  • How did you reach a decision for each scenario? Did you think about whether the action described was illegal? (Do you know?) Whether it was annoying to others? Whether it would produce a positive or negative outcome?
  • Was it hard to come to an agreement as a group for each scenario? Why or why not?
  • In the world beyond the classroom, how do you think the authorities — police officers or judges in court — decide whether an action should be allowed or not?
  • What if I told you that all of these actions are indeed protected by the First Amendment? Would that surprise you? Why or why not?
  • In the world beyond our classroom, do you think everyone always agrees about whether actions like these should be allowed? Why happens when people disagree?
  • The First Amendment freedoms are broad, but they are not unlimited. Where would you draw the line between what should be protected and what shouldn’t?

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