Understanding the Bill of Rights

By: Amy Samuels



Students will work in heterogeneous groups of four to create an appropriate symbol/emblem, as well as a slogan for the Bill of Rights. Groups will develop a symbol/emblem to collectively represent the first ten amendments. Groups will use chart paper (or poster board) to create a visual representation of this emblem/symbol with the slogan written alongside. Presenters from each group will explain their emblem and slogan to the class while the rest of the class takes notes.

Keywords: bill of rights


The students will apply the principles presented in the Bill of Rights to create an emblem and slogan that collectively represent the included ideas.


AMERICAN HISTORY (SS.8.A.3.11): Demonstrate an understanding of the causes, course, and consequences of the American Revolution and the founding principles of our nation. -- Analyze support and opposition (Federalists, Federalist Papers, AntiFederalists, Bill of Rights) to ratification of the U.S. Constitution.


Academic Preparation

This lesson should be facilitated after students have developed a solid understanding of the Bill of Rights.
Teacher will need to provide students access to a copy of the Bill of the Rights (see attached website taken from Words of Humankind or use class text) as well as chart paper or poster board (1 sheet per group) and markers, colored pencils, and/or crayons.
Teachers will need to prepare a copy of the presentation matrix for each student or have a master copy prepared for students to copy on their own paper.


Introduction: Ask students to think about an emblem/symbol of a sports team or organization of which they are familar. Ask them to explain what the emblem/symbol is and how it is representative of the given team or organization. An example of the school and mascot could be given to get students' minds thinking in the right direction.
Discuss student responses in large group focusing on what themes and main ideas tend to be seen in symbols/emblems. Explain that they are going to use their knowledge of the Bill of Rights to create an emblem/symbol to collectively represent these amendments, as well as comprise a slogan.
Students will work in heterogeneous groups of four. Teacher should assign these groups. Ask students to arrange their desks into groups. Once they are in groups, go over the guidelines for creating an emblem/symbol and slogan. Students are to create a visual image to collectively represent the ideas represented in the Bill of Rights as well as prepare a slogan that represents these ideas in words. Tell students that this activity requires a wide range of abilities, so they will work collaboratively as a team to ensure that the project is completed to the best of their abiliites. Each student will be assigned a role: 1) project manager, 2) presenter, 3) author, 4) artist. The Project Manager will ensure that the project is complete, accurate and creative. This person will lead the brainstorming session and ensure everyone has an equal chance to contribute ideas, as well as makes sure that all components are included in the project. The Presenter is responsible for presenting the group's emblem/symbol and slogan to the class. The Author is responsible for preparing the slogan. Feedback will be taken from other members of the group to comprise this portion. The Artist has the primary responsibility for creating the artwork for the emblem/slogan and will hold the poster during the presentation. Teacher advice and guidance should be minimal, so the students can create their own solution and be as creative and innovative as possible. Students should be given adequate time to complete the task.
When groups have finished their taks and are ready to present, the presentation handout should be distributed. Each presenter will introduce and explain their groups emblem/symbol and slogan as the artist displays the poster. The rest of the class should take notes on their handouts. After the presentation the class could vote on which visual representation and slogan they feel was best representative and accurate.
After the presentations and discussion, debrief the process. Applaud positive behaviors that you witnessed and point out potential areas for improvement. Ask students to respond to the following question in their notebooks: If you had to give advice to another group of students as to how to succeed on this project, what advice would you give.


Students' understanding of the Bill of Rights will be assessed through their project creation, as well as their completion of the presentation handout.

Estimated Lesson Duration

2hr 00min


  • http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights.html


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