Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) talks about the meaning of the 1st Amendment.
The 1st Amendment to the Constitution provides for freedoms: freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. This lesson has students examine the concepts of these freedoms through a variety of perspectives and explore current examples through video-based resources. This lesson works well in classes with one-to-one devices or could be adapted to fit a flipped classroom.
Have students complete the following activity to review vocabulary words associated with this lesson. You may print this out or you may assign it to each student individually using Google Classroom, Schoology or another classroom platform. Be sure to make a copy before assigning to students. This activity is divided into two slides.
1st Amendment Drag and Drop Vocabulary Activity (Google Slides)
Infringe, Abridge, Redress, Grievance, Suppress, Precedent, Persecution, Ignorant, Assemble, Petition
After students complete the vocabulary activity, have them view the following video clip that provides an overview of the 1st Amendment. This can be done with the whole class in-person, through a shared video platform or students can view it individually on their own devices. Have students respond to the accompanying questions and engage in discussion to share their answers.
Video Clip : 1st Amendment Overview (1:53)
According to Sen. Sasse, what is the whole point of the 1st Amendment?
What are the two kinds of societies that Sen. Sasse discusses and which one exists in the U.S.?
Choice Board: 1st Amendment Freedoms (Google Slides)
Have students complete the choice board. You may assign it to each student individually using Google Classroom, Schoology or another classroom platform. Be sure to make a copy before assigning to students.
Students will choose three freedoms that are listed on the board. They will click on the link to be taken to the slide for that topic.
Each topic includes a link to C-SPAN’s Constitution Clips website, that is associated with the 1st Amendment. There are several clips on that site for each freedom. Students will watch the video clips, then summarize the freedom that was discussed and provide an example(s) in the chart.
Ask students to consider their notes and the information from the videos and share their understanding of the significance of the 1st Amendment to our country. They can explain their ideas through class discussion, submit their thoughts in writing or post on a discussion board.
As a class, brainstorm a list of issues that are being discussed in the country. Have students choose one of the 1st Amendment Freedoms and apply it to a current event. They should select a topic that they are passionate about and complete one of the following activities to demonstrate their understanding of that particular freedom:
Be a journalist! Write an article or create a short video reporting on the events that have unfolded. Be sure to include different sides of the issue.
Create a Public Service Announcement to inform the public about an issue you would like to see changed in the country.
Write a song that reflects your perspective on an issue.