Lesson Transformed: Grade 8 Social Studies


This is the seventh lesson in the series, Lesson Transformed, in which traditional lessons are transformed into engaging experiences for students which exemplify the premises of the Visioning Document.

Lesson #7

Topic: Bill of Rights

Grade Level: 8

Content Area: Social Studies

Traditional Lesson

Objective: The students will be able to summarize rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

Materials: Graphic Organizer (one per student, copied front/back), chart paper, markers

Warm Up: Students will complete a graphic organizer for notes over the Bill of Rights.

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link to access

Lesson: Using the Bill of Rights slides as a guide, the teacher will explain each of the 10 Amendments and what they protect.  The students will take notes on the Bill of Rights Graphic Organizer.  Information for teachers can be found on the Scholastic website.

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link to access

Activity: Divide the class into ten groups (2 or 3 students per group).  Assign each group one of the Ten Amendments of the Bill of Rights.  The groups will become “experts” for their Amendment and illustrate their portion using chart paper.  Hang the illustrations around the classroom and instruct the students to take a gallery walk around the room to view their classmates’ work.  

Teachers may choose to share the image below (link to website).

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link to access

Image: Bill of Rights depicted in cartoon format from 1971 Young Citizen teacher’s guide transparency. Courtesy: Syracuse University

Transformed Lesson

Objective: The students will create evidence of understanding the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

Warm Up: Flip this video and encourage students to watch it with their parents: Morgan Freeman reads the Bill of Rights.  While watching the video, students should consider one question that comes to mind.  Their assignment, in addition to watching the video, is to bring back one question for class the following day.

Materials: Chart paper (with one piece titled Questions We Have about the Bill of Rights), markers, Graphic Organizer (one per student, copied front/back)

Collection of Questions: At the beginning of class, draw students’ attention to a piece of chart paper titled: Questions We Have about the Bill of Rights.  Provide an opportunity for students to contribute to the list on the chart paper.

*Note: This provides an opportunity for students’ questions to guide classroom discussion.  This also serves as a pre-assessment tool from which teachers may make instructional decisions regarding content and pacing.

Annotation and Class Discussion: Provide students with the link to the Bill of Rights on the Library of Congress website.  The students should download the image of the Bill of Rights and import the image into an annotation app such as Evernote or Notability.  Using annotation tools (pen, highlighter, text), guide the students to identify each of the 10 Amendments.

*Note: The Library of Congress website provides students with access to primary source documents, such as the Bill of Rights.

Refer to the list of Questions We Have about the Bill of Rights and guide the discussion around these need to knows.  Actual text from the Bill of Rights can be found on the National Archives website.

Exit Ticket: Students complete a graphic organizer of the Bill of Rights, summarizing each of the rights.

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 7.00.44 PMlink to access

*Note: This exit ticket provides the teacher with student-specific post-lesson assessment information directly related to the standard: 8.19(B) Summarize rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

It is the goal of this blog series to equip teachers with skills to transfer understanding and transform their own lesson design.

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