Designed for differentiated learning, this activity pack includes 4 viewing worksheet and 4 dual-level crossword puzzles to help students pay attention and learn as they watch the acclaimed PBS series The Supreme Court!
I think all teachers know that some students regard a video as "free time." These Supreme Court worksheets will help put an end to that attitude. Students will feel accountable for their time and learning and will have an engaging, hands-on activity to keep them attentive and engaged with the video -- which means, of course, that they'll learn more!
After each episode is shown and the worksheet answers reviewed and discussed, students can then be assigned to work on that episode's crossword puzzle -- a fun way to review, either that same week or much later as a substitute lesson plan, enrichment activity, or cyclic review.
For teacher convenience, both an "easy" and "hard" crossword puzzle are included for each episode. This makes them perfect for differentiated learning, but also for a clever review-then-test cycle: Use the hard version as a review, go over it thoroughly, and then the next day assign an easy version as a quiz or test. Since the easy version is a scaled down variant of the hard version, this allows students maximum opportunity to learn and then demonstrate their learning!
ABOUT THE PBS SUPREME COURT SERIES
This PBS series consists of four episodes covering in chronological order the cultural and political history of the United States as seen through the lens of landmark Supreme Court decisions. The series plays on PBS stations on an occasional basis and can be purchased on DVD. For more information about the series and online video clips, go here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/supremecourt/index.html
These Supreme Court Worksheets offer a comprehensive lesson plan solution
You will receive student worksheets, puzzles, and complete answer keys for ALL FOUR of the series' episodes, all in PDF format:
Episode 1, "One Nation Under Law" 1787 - 1857
Episode 2, "A New Kind of Justice" 1865 - 1937
Episode 3, "A Nation of Liberties" 1940 - 1965
Episode 4, "The Rehnquist Revolution" 1969 - 2001
Materials for each episode listed above consist of:
• Fill-in-the-blank student worksheet
• Student answer sheet to help with fast grading
• Simple linear answer key for fast grading
• Contextual answer key for going over answers in class
• Full-transcript answer key to assist with more in-depth discussion of each episode's material
• Crossword puzzle in standard format
• Crossword puzzle with word bank supplied
• Crossword puzzle solution grid
• Vocabulary list (terms and definitions) for the crossword puzzle
WHAT EACH EPISODE COVERS:
Episode 1: One Nation Under Law
examines the creation of the Court and follows it through the brink of the Civil War, paying particular attention to the fourth chief justice of the Supreme Court -- John Marshall -- and to his successor, Roger Taney. Marshall presided over one of the most famous cases before the Court; Taney, over one of the most infamous. In Marbury v. Madison (1803), Marshall used an obscure case involving an unsigned judicial appointment as an opportunity to assert the Court's most important power -- that of judicial review, which gives federal courts the right to strike down laws that clash with the Constitution. A half century later, in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), Taney exercised that same power against the national government, this time to protect slavery.
Court cases considered:
Marbury v. Madison
Fletcher v. Peck
McCulloch v. Maryland
Dred Scott v. Sanford
Episode 2: A New Kind of Justice
explores the issues before the Court during the period after the Civil War -- a time of unprecedented economic growth, when industrialists like Carnegie and Rockefeller were earning millions. As corporations grew more powerful, they found an unlikely ally in the Supreme Court. Although the Fourteenth Amendment was passed to ensure that the states recognized the rights of the newly freed slaves, the Court would for almost 100 years interpret the amendment not as a protect not blacks but rather for big business, recognizing corporations as "persons" and awarding them sweeping legal protections.
Court cases / laws considered:
Civil Rights Act of 1875
Civil Rights Cases
Lochner v. New York
Buck v. Bell
Adkins versus Children's Hospital
West Coast Hotel v. Parrish
Episode 3: A Nation of Liberties
focuses on the Court's reaction to state and federal legislation on Bill of Rights freedoms, with special attention to the explosion of civil rights cases from the early 1940s to the present. This program highlights the Warren Court as it confronted the issues of race, gender and religion in the post-war period, when six newly-appointed justices were just beginning to find their way on the Court. Over the next quarter century, the belief in individual freedoms and rights would push the nation, and the Supreme Court, towards a new agenda.
Court cases considered:
Barnette v. West Virginia
Plessy v. Ferguson
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas
Griswold v. Connecticut
Miranda v. Arizona
Gideon v. Wainwright
Episode 4: The Rehnquist Revolution
details the extraordinary opportunity availed by President Richard Nixon: to name four of the Court's nine judges, effectively replacing almost half of the Warren court. The last hour of the series also investigates how the Court, especially under the leadership of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, rose in importance to become the institution most responsible for resolving the central questions of American life. The program also addresses the right to privacy, a key component in 1973's Roe v. Wade, and the surprising actions of an activist court in Bush v. Gore.
Court cases considered:
Brown v. Board of Education
Roe v. Wade
Miranda v. Arizona
Fay v. Noia
Wainwright v. Sykes
Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey
United States v. Lopez
Dickerson v. United States
DESIGNED FOR TEACHER AND STUDENT CONVENIENCE!
These PBS Supreme Court worksheets are structured as fill-in-the-blank activities for students to complete as they watch the video rather than after viewing. All of the problems are in "video" order to enable students to follow along; key statements have words or phrases blanked out. As students watch the video carefully, they fill in the missing words or phrases.
I know how busy teachers are! Therefore, the worksheets are designed to be reusable so that you can make one class set and use it with different groups of students, year after year. Save on ink, paper, and your valuable time.
The student answer sheet and fast-grade answer key are also designed to help teachers correct word quickly and accurately!
LOTS OF ANSWER KEYS TO CHOOSE FROM -- ONE TO MEET YOUR NEEDS!
Teacher materials are also designed with your convenience in mind. For each part of the video there are three answer keys, each one designed to meet a specific instructional need:
1) a simple answer key that is best for fast correcting
2) an answer key that has all the context students were working with. This is best to use when reviewing the answers with the class or calling on people to supply answers, and
3) a full transcript of the video with answer words/phrases clearly marked. This key is best to use when you are conducting class discussions about the material in the video and you need a fuller context to enrich and deepen student understanding.
Looking for more detailed information on these Supreme Court Worksheets?
The links below will take you to the product pages for each individual episode's worksheet. The links will also help you if you only want a worksheet for a single episode. If you want the entire series bundle, however, be sure to come back to this page so you can save by purchasing the bargain bundle!
The Supreme Court Episode 1 Worksheet
The Supreme Court Episode 2 Worksheet
The Supreme Court Episode 3 Worksheet
The Supreme Court Episode 4 Worksheet
Video Worksheets by Elise Parker
Note: The video that goes with these worksheets plays on PBS stations on an occasional basis. It can readily be found on various online streaming services; the best way to find where it might be playing at any given time is to run a simple Google search. For teachers who prefer hard media, the series is also available for purchase from major video outlets including pbs.org. For more information on the video, go to
PBS The Supreme Court -- Official Website for the Series
Video Activities by Elise Parker
keywords: John Marshall, Earl Warren, William Rehnquist, John Roberts, Thurgood Marshall, judicial review, Brown v. Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona, Roe v. Wade, Marbury v. Madison, Dred Scott, federalism, federal power, New Deal, Reconstruction