The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights. Among the rights protected are freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, and protection from unreasonable search. In 1941, in celebration of the anniversary of the 1791 ratification of the Bill of Rights, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed December 15, Bill of Rights Day.
The Bill of Rights Institute is a non-profit whose goal is to "educate young people about the words and ideas of America's Founders, the liberties guaranteed in our Founding documents, and how our Founding principles affect and shape a free society." Click on Instructional Material/ Free Resources to access high-school lesson plans, links to Bill of Rights news items, and related Supreme Court decisions.
"Help restore the Bill of Rights. The Official National Computer has crashed. Your mission ... rebuild the document by finding the missing rights and freedoms in Freeville." With key phrases missing from the Bill of Rights, mouse around town until you find the activities protected by the lost words. This game is my pick of the day for middle-school students. Other great clicks are the Interactive Constitution and the Centuries of Citizenship timeline.
Visit the Illinois First Amendment Center to explore the five freedoms provided by the First Amendment: freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. My favorite click is the fifteen question First Amendment Quiz (found in Students.) "Those Americans that refused to ratify the Constitution unless a Bill of Rights was added were known as: Federalists or Anti-Federalists." Teachers and home schooling parents can request free curriculum for grades eight through twelve. It is available as a PDF download or can be sent to you through the mail on CD or paper.
"Although twelve amendments were originally proposed, the ten that were ratified became the Bill of Rights in 1791. They defined citizens' rights in relation to the newly established government under the Constitution." Best history clicks are A More Perfect Union ("in-depth look at the Constitutional Convention, the ratification process, and the adoption of the Bill of Rights") and the story of George Mason's objections to the new Constitution (follow the link to Charters of Freedom.)
Can you match the amendment number to the rights they guarantee? First read through the amendment synopses by clicking on "list of terms used in the activity," then try your hand at this Concentration-style memory game created by Nancy Mull. For Flashcards and another Bill of Rights Matching Game, mouse over to Find Other Activities (listed under Tools.) Play is free, but with a paid Quia subscription you can create your own games and save favorites on a personalized page.