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Activity Overview


The Judicial Branch has had an enormous impact on the history and development of America. Many major legal rulings made by the Supreme Court have shaped American society, and are used as references even decades after their decisions.

In this activity, have students research major events that have occurred throughout the history of the Supreme Court. Students will create a timeline that reflects the foundations of the judicial branch, along with major events that have transpired within the judiciary.

For an alternative to the timeline layout, have students create a timeline poster to incorporate into a presentation or gallery walk. You can add more than one template to this assignment to give students lots of options and adjust the instructions accordingly.


Supreme Court Timeline Example

  • September 17, 1787 - The Supreme Court is Created
  • March 10, 1810 - Fletcher vs. Peck
  • May 18, 1896 - Plessy vs. Ferguson
  • April 4, 1935 - Supreme Court Building Established
  • March 18, 1963 - Gideon vs. Wainwright
  • September 21, 1981 - Sandra Day O'Connor Appointed
  • June 21, 1989 - Texas vs. Johnson

Extended Activity

To extend this activity, students will create a similar timeline that represents major events from the highest court of the state in which they live. Or, teachers may assign different states to students for a comparative activity.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-12

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Group

Type of Activity: Timelines



Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Create a timeline detailing the major events & rulings in the history of the Supreme Court.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify important events and rulings and type them into the titles of each cell.
  3. Write a summary of the decision or event in the description box.
  4. Create an illustration using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.


Rubric

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



Timeline
Create a timeline of important events and people, and explain their significance. Make sure the dates are correct, and the Photos for Class pictures are historically accurate or significant.
Proficient
33 Points
Emerging
25 Points
Beginning
17 Points
Events and Dates
The events chosen for the timeline are significant and important to the overall understanding of the time period. The dates provided are correct.
Most of the events chosen for the timeline are significant and important to the overall understanding of the time period. Most of the dates provided are correct.
Some of the events chosen for the timeline are significant. There may be missing events, or events that are irrelevant. Too many dates may be incorrect.
Explanations/Descriptions
The explanations or descriptions provided for each event are accurate and provide insight into the significance of the events.
The explanations or descriptions provided for each event are mostly accurate and attempt to provide insight into the significance of the events.
There are several glaring inaccuracies in the explanations or descriptions of the events. There may be little or no insight int the significance of the events, or the information provided may be too limited or missing.
English Conventions
There are 0-2 mistakes in spelling, grammar, and mechanics.
There are 3-4 mistakes in spelling, grammar, and mechanics.
There are 5 or more mistakes in spelling, grammar, and mechanics.




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