A Citizen's Guide
to the Bill of Rights
Author: Bisa Phillips Gilmore
President Bush needs your help!!!
In a speech given to members of Congress, the President expressed great dismay over the American public's lack of knowledge and understanding of the Bill of Rights. "Americans," he said, "have no idea what the Bill of Rights is about. They think it's just some old paper that doesn't affect their lives. We, as political leaders, need to do something to show the people that the Bill of Rights is not only an important historical document, but also an essential part of our daily lives."
In the weeks that followed that speech, the President decided that a guide needed to be created that would teach citizens about the Bill of Rights and its importance. In a bold move that still has Washington insiders buzzing, President Bush decided to have the guide created by high school students. This would ensure that the guide would be modern, hip and accessible for the masses.
After sorting through numerous recommendations, the President finally chose THIS class of American Government students for this most important project. Congratulations on being hand-selected by the President! The nation awaits your creation!
In order to complete your mission, you will work in groups to gather information about the Bill of Rights and its amendments. To do this you will rely on your textbook, class notes, and internet sites. You will use the information gathered by your group to create a Citizen's Guide to the Bill of Rights in PowerPoint format.
Upon final approval by the President, a copy of your PowerPoint Citizen's Guide will be sent to every American citizen on a CD. Your Guide will eventually be printed in brochure form to be used in schools throughout the country.
Thank you for agreeing to complete this very important task for me. Your teacher assures me that you are all capable of completing the task in a manner that exceeds my expectations. While I welcome your creativity, there are a few guiding principles that must be honored if you are to successfully complete this task. I thank you in advance for your hard work and effort.
The class will be divided into groups of 5; each group is responsible for creating a Citizen's Guide to the Bill of Rights.
Within your groups, decide who will assume each of the following roles:
You are responsible for researching and creating slides for Amendments 2 and 9.
You are also responsible for writing and creating a slide for the introduction.
You are responsible for researching and creating slides for Amendments 1 and 6.
You are also responsible for finding at least two quotes and at least two interesting facts that relate to the Bill of Rights. Once found, you must find a place for them in your group's Citizen's Guide.
You are responsible for researching and creating slides for Amendments 4 and 8.
You are also responsible for writing and designing the slide for the conclusion.
You are responsible for researching and creating slides for Amendments 3 and 7.
You are also responsible for working with the Greeter and the Closer to find out what kinds of graphics they need to complete the introduction and conclusion slides. You must then find those graphics for them.
You are responsible for researching and creating slides for Amendments 5 and 10.
You are also responsible for making sure all sections are complete and correct. As the sections are completed, you must take them and merge them into one final PowerPoint Presentation.
Once the roles have been determined, each group member should follow the links on the Resources page to study the Bill of Rights.
Following the independent research time, your group should come back together to discuss your findings and, based on those findings, decide on an overall theme of your presentation.
Create your Citizen's Guide as a PowerPoint presentation that includes:
An introduction that catches the attention of average citizens
Background information about the Bill of Rights
At least one slide for each amendment, which must include:
a graphic (picture, cartoon, etc.)
an explanation of the amendment IN REGULAR WORDS
an explanation (with example) of the way(s) this amendment affects our lives
At least two quotes
At least two interesting facts
Present your Citizen's Guide to the Class.
The President enlisted the help of a research firm to gather information for your project. The links below are designed to help you in the creation of your Citizen's Guide.
Resources used in class:
This site has numerous trivia facts, quotes, and games based on the Constitution.
This site has an "interactive" Bill of Rights. This feature allows the user to search the Bill of Rights based on keywords, topics, or Supreme Court cases. Within the "interactive" Bill of Rights, each amendment is accompanied by a graphic.
This site has pictures of the original Bill of Rights.
Read breaking news related to the Bill of Rights - gathered daily from major news sources across the country and chosen for ease of use in the classroom.
This site contains a gallery of political pictures.
This site has cartoons about the Constitution. Under each cartoon, an explanation of its meaning is given.
Students will be evaluated on both their in-class presentation and their completed PowerPoint Citizen's Guides. Links to the rubrics for both are below:
Congratulations! You have completed your Citizen's Guide to the Bill of Rights! Through this webquest, you have learned about the Bill of Rights and how its amendments affect your life on a daily basis.
Answer the following questions in your reflection journal and then share them with other classmates:
How did this experience change your opinion of the Bill of Rights? Be specific.
Why is it important for people to know and understand the Bill of Rights?
What did you learn from completing this WebQuest?