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.
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.
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.
Grade Level 6-12
Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)
Type of Assignment Individual or PartnerCommon Core Standards
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Create a storyboard outlining the 5 Ws (who, what, when, where, and why) for the Bill of Rights.
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