Students can build a strong understanding of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the freedoms guaranteed through it with the use of hands-on activities. Students should learn that this amendment combines several freedoms that can affect students throughout their day-to-day lives. There are several activities that students can do to help them remember the rights that are guaranteed to them by the First Amendment.
First Amendment Game
Students will enjoy creating their own games to practice reciting the rights guaranteed as part of the First Amendment. Begin by giving each student a piece of blank paper. Demonstrate how to fold the paper into an Origami fortune teller. Monitor the students as they work on this craft, offering help where needed. On the inside flaps, students should write such questions as, "What allows Susan to go to whatever church she chooses?" The students should answer inside, "The freedom of religion." Check each child's craft for accuracy before allowing him to ask his friend's questions.
For this fun craft, students will need two sheets of light-colored paper. Ask the students to stack the two pieces together. Instruct the students to pull the top piece down an inch. Show students how to take the bottom two edges of paper and fold them upward until they have made a booklet with an area for the title and three tabs. Students should then spend time adding important information about the First Amendment to the book. For example, students could write, "This amendment gives us the right to assemble." Then, on that page inside the booklet, the student could expand and give details about this particular freedom.
Students will build a strong understanding of the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment with the scenario creations activity. Ask students to create scenarios to help other students understand the importance of this amendment. Divide the class into groups of three or four students. Explain that each group should come up with a two-minute skit to describe the importance of one of the freedoms given to citizens in this document. For example, some students may do a skit about the freedom of press. Students will enjoy getting creative as they create a skit to present in front of the class.
Ask students to create a rap song that lists the details of the First Amendment. Students can work in small groups to write the lyrics to the song and later perform the song in front of the class. Give students a list of details that must be included in the song. Give extra credit points if students are able to include additional facts on their own. Students will memorize important details without realizing that they are learning.
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