Introduce lesson 1 by giving a brief lecture on how the
Supreme Court works and how cases are appealed to the
Supreme Court (see the websites above for background
information on the Supreme Court). Students should become
familiar with the following terms:
students that many cases accepted on appeal are those
dealing with Constitutional issues, especially
those regarding the rights of citizens. This is a
good opportunity to review Bill of Rights as research
for their assignment.
out a copy of the Bill of Rights to students. A copy
can be downloaded from
Ask students to rank the Bill of Rights; 1 (highest
priority) to 10 (lowest priority)
the rationale for your number 1 ranking.
rights would you give up if forced to and why?
a class discussion:
2. Discuss the student’s rankings. What rights
do they consider the highest priority? Why?
Which rights could they give up? Why?
Has there been a time when you feel one of your rights
What can you do if you feel your rights have been violated?
how it interprets laws through cases
that are appealed from
Handout the guidelines for the Supreme Court Activity:
Court Research Activity
majority of citizens in the United States do
not know their rights are guaranteed
by the first ten amendments
of the Constitution. This activity is to keep you
from becoming one of the uninformed.
You will research a
Supreme Court Case dealing with one of the first
ten amendments and write about the
case and the court’s
decision from the point of view of an inanimate
object. For example, if you research the case, “New
Jersey v. T.L.O.” you could write from the
point of view of the cigarettes inside the student’s
purse. Your description must include:
page including name and date of the case
case background including the names of parties
involved (15 points)
reason case was appealed to the Supreme Court
court’s decision (10 points)
opinion of how this decision will affect your
to write your analysis from the viewpoint of
an inanimate object (20 points)
Take students to computer lab to research sites
provided in the Supreme Court research
guidelines. By end
of the period students should hand in the
amendment are you exploring?
three cases you looked at during class today.
case you decided to use for research assignment.
order to keep too many students from looking
at the same issue or cases you may want to divide
the amendments among students so not more
than 3 or 4 are
researching the same one.
could be done on the day you review guidelines;
have students draw slips of paper
with the amendments--1,2,4,5,6, and 8 written
These are the
amendments they may find most interesting. You may add amendment
number 14 as the Supreme Court has used this amendment to incorporate
of the Bill
Rights’ to the States (mention that the Bill of Rights
were intended to protect citizens from abuse by the national
Have students bring a hard copy of the case
they are reviewing to class. Discuss the following
opinions and ask students to
the case they brought
Ask students to read the majority opinion presented
in their case. Ask class how many agree with the court’s decision in
your case? Ask for volunteers to give reasons.
Have students look for and highlight main points
need to understand to write their paper. Allow students
similar cases or issues
to work together
and help each other. Help them wade through legal terminology
do not understand.
As they read their case they should write down
the following information:
What is the case about?
b) What right(s) are addressed by the case?
c) Why was the case appealed to the Supreme
d) Identify the major parties in the case:
e) What was the court’s decision?
f) Do you agree with the court’s decision? Why or why not?
g) How will the decision affect the right(s)
addressed in the case? Has the decision provided
greater or lesser
Tell students they will turn in their responses
to questions with their Supreme Court paper.
On the due date ask for volunteers to read their papers to the class. After
each reading ask students if they can identify the inanimate object is
and ask them to give their opinion about the Supreme Court’s decision.
how these cases reached the Supreme Court. Ask them to discuss if they
feel any of the cases they looked at should not have been heard by the Supreme
Supreme Court Research Paper