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Compliment and strengthen your U.S. History or Civics Government course with this real-life exploration of First Amendment free speech, Supreme Court cases, and protest movements. What a great way to apply the message of your Abolition or Progressive Era unit or to apply students' understanding of Con Law to what really matters to them! This add-on project works with so many topics.
Challenge your students to grow beyond simply comprehending historical events and abstract case law and instead decide and demonstrate for themselves what is and isn’t a Constitutional act of free expression, both out in the street and within a public school campus.
After learning relevant Constitutional language and Supreme Court decisions, students explore recent lower court cases as well as the pages of their own school handbook to answer the question, “Is this protected speech?”
To culminate and demonstrate their learning, students research a social justice or another issue important them as well as advice from experts on effective protest sign messaging before creating one of their own. In doing so they must demonstrate understanding of the “school speech” rule as well as rules of design and wit!
By the end of this project, your students will be able to
- Infer the point-of-view of Founding Fathers' on first amendment rights
- Apply learning to a recent controversial Supreme Court decision as well as their own school setting
- Research and evaluate news media sources for current issues, developing own sign of protest or support
- Voice their position on a social justice to current issue of their choice
- Cite their sources and articulate their research process
Greatness is exercising one’s own voice to create positive change.
Leave the boring worksheet and lecture behind and instead lay the foundation and space for your students to knowledgeably practice their Constitutional right of free speech.
The beauty of this thematic project is that it fits with many different U.S. History or American Government and Civics units to best meet your needs, and allows your students to create an authentic product.
Included in this project kit:
- Project Overview & Daily Lesson Plans from the hook to the project assessment
- Rubrics, Driving Questions, Research & Citation Mini-Lessons
Student Materials & Activities
- Concept Definition- deeply consider the meaning of "free speech" using this note-taking format
- First Amendment Rights- closely read and analyze the Founding Fathers’ beliefs, the Constitution's language, and the Supreme Court’s positions on free speech to determine the “rules” regarding this highly protected right, followed by a formative assessment using the recent case, Morse v. Frederick
- My School’s Free Speech- explore your school’s own policies and rules regarding free speech to connect to just learned legal precedents and case law
- Free Speech Artifact- research a current and/or social justice issue and express support or opposition through an originally designed t-shirt, button, or backpack tag supported by step-by-step planning sheet, tips and guidelines, and student-friendly rubrics
- BONUS Skill Sheets- Annotating a Text, Analyzing News Media Sources, Finding Appropriate Sources, Creating a Works Cited, Annotating a Citation
- All student sheets come in both print PDF and digital Google Slides versions
Looking to make this into an inquiry-driven, project-based unit?
Protest in America Unit reconcile the ways in which protest and patriotism simultaneously exist and conflict to exist in this US History unit
Constitutional Rights Unit determine exactly how our rights translate into daily American life in this Civics unit