Protecting our Freedoms: The Bill of Rights

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Lesson at a Glance

This standards-based lesson is the second in a series of three lessons that address the connection between the Preamble of the Constitution and its relevance to the need for rules that protect the rights of citizens.  It focuses on understanding the Bill of Rights and its relationship to the formation of a classroom Bill Of Rights.


  • Students will begin to understand the Bill of Rights, its historical context, and how it protects our freedoms.
  • Students will collaborate with a partner to improvise and present a dramatization of the assigned constitutional amendment.

Standards Addressed:

History-Social Science

3.4.1 Determine the reasons for rules, laws, and the U.S. Constitution; the role of citizenship in the promotion of rules and laws; and the consequences for people who violate rules and laws.

3.4.2 Discuss the importance of public virtue and the role of citizens, including how to participate in the classroom, in the community, and in civic life.

Visual and Performing Arts: Theatre

Creative Expression

2.1 Participate in cooperative script writing or improvisations that incorporate the five Ws.

Common Core State Standards for ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects K-5

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading K-5

Key Ideas and Details

1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

Big Ideas:

  • The strength of a democracy is equal to the strength of its citizens. (i.e., knowledge and process of participation).
  • E Pluribus Unum: out of many, one. (Within our classroom community, “one”; made up of “many” students.)

Essential questions and issues:

  1. What is the Bill of Rights and how does it protect the freedoms established in the Preamble?
  2. What needs did the Bill of Rights address at the time it was written?

Higher Order Thinking Questions:

  • What scene could you and your partner create that shows your understanding of the amendment? (Synthesis)
  • How does the Bill of Rights protect our freedoms? (analysis)
  • How do these words or ideas of the Bill of Rights help us understand the needs of our classroom community? (evaluation)



Students will be evaluated through informal checks for understanding, teacher observation, and performance of an authentic task, which will be evaluated by a rubric.

Click here to download assessment tools.


Activity Steps

Click here to download activity steps

 Purpose  Teacher  Students

5 minutes

Recall the previous lesson, reviewing the Preamble.  Ask students:  “What do you think our forefathers did to make sure that the freedoms in the Preamble would be protected?  Participate in answering the question.

15 minutes

Read The Bill of Rights.  (Pearl) Review the book stopping for clarification and discussion of terms.  List on a chart each amendment and, opposite each one, the corresponding student definition. Participate in the discussion.

Ask students to perform their vignette
for the class.

Ask audience to provide feedback after each presentation, giving clarification when needed.

Students perform their vignette.

Students participate in discussion.

Next Lessons:

Establishing a Bill of Rights for the Classroom

How does the Bill of Rights relate to the establishment of a fair, safe, and productive community in our classroom?

Materials and Resources Needed: 

  • The Bill of Rights: Protecting Our Freedom Then and Now, by Sil Solel, J.D.
  • The Bill of Rights, By Norman Pearl
  • Paper and pencils
  • Student copies of each amendment and explanation

Outline of Unit Plan

This unit is designed to focus on becoming an active citizen through an understanding of the rights of citizens and the establishment of rules to protect those rights.  This unit includes lessons addressing theatre standards to ensure that drama vignette’s are created with quality and use of the elements of theatre.

Next Lessons:

Establishing a Bill of Rights for the Classroom

How does the Bill of Rights relate to the establishment of a fair, safe, and productive community in our classroom?