1. Set this imaginary scene for your students:
You have heard that a committee in Washington has met and decided to do away with the Bill of Rights. The committee also announced that it will hear testimony from anyone wishing to speak in defense of the Bill of Rights and argue to keep it. As a citizen, you are shocked and horrified. Immediately you call your Congressman and ask him what he is planning to do about this situation. He says he represents you, what position do you want him to take? After doing your research, your team will meet with the committee to give testimony on why you think the Bill of Rights should be retained intact, and if you believe that there is a reason to increase these rights in any way.
2. Assemble four teams of equal size, if possible, to prepare to testify before the Congressional committee. The four teams, their responsibilities, and possible websites are:
Biographers—your job is to research James Madison, presenting his role in submitting the Bill of Rights to the Congress in 1789. Was he in favor of the issue? Why did he propose it?
Historians—your job is to research the actual language of the Bill of Rights. How many are there? What do they guarantee to American citizens?
Citizens—your job is to consider the rights guaranteed you under the Bill of Rights and to imagine what life would be like without them. Be prepared to support your arguments. There is little specific information to assist you so speculate.
Students—your job is to consider the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees that the government cannot engage in unreasonable search and seizure. How does this right apply to students? Can your lockers be searched without probable cause? Can your purses or wallets be searched and taken? How does this Amendment relate to rules against personal property that you bring to school?
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment04http://www.lectlaw.com/def/f081.htm 3. Prepare a presentation before the Congressional committee; use any visual or print artifacts you need.
Additional Web Source:
http://www.online-law-degree.com . (Click on "United States Constitution")
This lesson was adapted from a lesson plan developed in the Plainfield, Indiana school district by Bette Brooks, Kent State University. (see http://www.plainfield.k12.in.us).