Amend the Constitution 12th Government & Democracy



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Amend the Constitution??
12th – Government & Democracy
Lesson Overview: Students will examine the constitutional amendments and a list of proposed amendments and form a hypothesis as to the types of amendments which are most likely to be ratified.
Standards Addressed:
History/Social Science:
- 11.1.3: ...the Constitution after 1787...

- 12.10: ...analyses of tensions within the constitutional democracy...

Language Arts:
- 2.1: ...features of ...public documents

- 2.6: ...critique logic of arguments...


English Language Learner (ELL) Strategies:
- Students work in groups

- Thematic, question-driven content area lesson

- Contextualized instruction

- Visual and oral delivery of information


Use of Supplementary materials:
- Overhead projector used with discussion of proposed amendments.
Adaptation of Content:
-List of examples for various proposed amendments.

-Graphic organizer for classifying amendments and proposed amendments.


Engaging Scenario:
One of the major flaws in the Constitution is the lack of attention to individual rights. As a consequence, the first ten amendments were ratified relatively soon after the Constitution (4 years). Explain an interpretation of "freedom of speech" used today which probably would have been unacceptable to the Founding Fathers.
Task Summary:
1) Students answer initial question in their notebooks.

2) Students work in pairs or small groups to rank/judge ten amendments of the Constitution.

3) Students then work in pairs or small groups to read their assigned "failed amendment".

4) Students summarize in their own words the main points of the proposed amendment.

5) Students apply the "Proposed Amendment" chart to their amendment.

6) Students then assess nine other proposed amendments and enter in chart.

7) Students develop a theory as to which proposed (not "failed") amendment would be most likely to be ratified.

8) Student groups share out conclusions.

Resources/Materials Needed:
- Copy of the U.S. Constitution

- Overheads (5)

- Graphic organizers (2)

- Handouts with proposed amendments (1 for each group/pair)


Source List & Works Cited:
Mount, Steve. "Constitutional Amendments". The U.S. Constitution Online. 2004. 18 August 2005.

Student Rubric:


A. These groups worked cooperatively to fill in their charts completely and discussed their amendments fully. These groups also developed a detailed, thoughtful hypothesis with rational supporting explanation.
B. These groups may have worked hard on the charts and the hypothesis, but the cooperation was limited and the substantiating argument was thin.
C. These students primarily worked individually on the various aspects of the activity with little interaction or apparent critical thinking.


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