Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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LINK: Social Studies in Action Home Image of a middle school student.
 In This Lesson:
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Landmark Supreme Court Cases

Video Summary: Is flag burning an acceptable expression of free speech? Should evidence obtained without a search warrant be admissible in court? What constitutes a "clear and present danger" in wartime? Wendy Ewbank and her students use two simulation exercises to examine the nature of individual rights and the role of the Supreme Court in sustaining them.

The first simulation is in the form of a press conference, in which students take on the roles of key figures from landmark Supreme Court cases. First Ms. Ewbank questions the players in order to clarify and highlight specific information about each case. Then she invites the rest of the class to act as the "press corps" and question their peers.

In the second simulation -- a town meeting -- students consider the issue of flag burning. Although it is currently protected under the First Amendment, flag burning has become the subject of a newly proposed amendment that would make it illegal. Students express their opinions about the constitutionality of such an amendment, then assume the roles of town leaders and residents to debate the issue. After listening to the views of their fellow "townspeople," students re-examine their own views to see if they have changed.

Class at a Glance
Themes and Disciplines Addressed in this Lesson

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