Activity Overview

Students create a spider map that represents the essential background information for the Bill of Rights. Students are required to create five questions surrounding the document using the “5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where, and Why”. This introductory activity will allow students to see the Bill of Rights from a holistic perspective before they study details of the rights guaranteed through each amendment.

Bill of Rights 5 Ws Example

WHO wrote the Bill of Rights?

The proposed constitutional amendments that would become the Bill of Rights were written by James Madison. Madison became known as the "Father of the Constitution" well before he was elected as the fourth president of the United States.

WHAT is the Bill of Rights?

The Bill of Rights are the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These ten amendments focus on the preservation of individual liberties by limiting the power of the federal government.

WHERE was the Bill of Rights written?

The document was created in Federal Hall, in New York City, where the Federal Government was located before it moved to Washington, D.C.

WHEN was the Bill of Rights created?

The Bill of Rights was ratified on December 15, 1791. It was debated between the Federalists and Anti-Federalist but was eventually ratified and has remained ever since.

WHY does the Bill of Rights exist?

The Bill of Rights exists to explicitly define certain essential liberties and freedoms of American citizens. In order to achieve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for each citizen, James Madison argued, our rights needed to be clearly defined and stated.

Bill of Rights Projects

Extended Activity One

Students can create an alternative 5 Ws of another country that offers their citizens a Bill of Rights or something similar. Students can use the same questions from the previous activity or create original questions for this extended activity.

Extended Activity Two

After students have researched these two different Bill of Rights, they can create a T-Chart storyboard that compares and contrasts them. Students may look for similarities of individual liberties, or display how some of the protections or limitations of government vary from country to country.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard outlining the 5 Ws (who, what, when, where, and why) for the Bill of Rights.

  1. Use the template provided by your teacher
  2. In the title of each cell, ask one of the 5 Ws
  3. In the description boxes, answer the question
  4. Create an illustration that demonstrates or explains each of the 5 Ws using appropriate scenes, characters, and items

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RH/9-10/1] Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RH/9-10/2] Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

5 Ws Rubric
Rubric that can be used with any 5 Ws activity.
5 Points
3 Points
1 Points
The student clearly, thoroughly, accurately chooses and answers the who, what, where, when, and why questions.
The student chooses and answers the who, what, where, when, and why questions. Some of the information is clear, thorough, and accurate.
The who, what, where, when, and why questions and answers are incomplete, confusing, or inaccurate.
The illustrations represent the written information using appropriate scenes, characters and items.
The illustrations relate to the written information, but are difficult to understand.
The illustrations do not clearly relate to the written information.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out.
Work shows some evidence of effort.
Work shows little evidence of any effort.
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are mostly correct.
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are somewhat correct.
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are mostly incorrect.

Image Attributions
  • Federal Hall • Phil Roeder • License Attribution (
  • Taft Inauguration • DC Public Library Commons • License No known copyright restrictions (
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