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Less than 30 minutes
  • Constitution
  • Politics
  • 6-12

  1. Distribute copies of Group 1 Draft Amendments to one group, Group 2 Draft Amendments to another, and Group 3 Amendments to a third group. Group 4 (the jury) should receive copies of all draft amendments.
  2.  Let students know they will be playing a game to select the Ultimate Survivor Amendments. A “jury” of students will listen to several “draft” amendments, organized by theme, and then select three to adequately protect freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.
  3. In each group, students should read each draft amendment on their handout.
  4. Students should have a clear understanding of each proposal, and craft a compelling argument for including each one in a bill of rights.
  5. Then it’s time to plead their case to the jury/Group 4. At least four students from each group should argue passionately for their amendments before the jury. After the group has presented, the jury should deliberate and pick just one amendment from that group. Then, four students from Group 2 should present their arguments before the jury. Same for Group 3. By the end, the jury will have picked one amendment from each group, for a total of three.

After the winning amendments have been selected, reveal the originals of all proposals on the board. Then, ask:

  • Did the class’ Ultimate Survivor Amendments fail or succeed in 1789–1791? How did they differ (or not) from the final First Amendment?
  • Which was the first amendment in each group voted out? What did students not like about them?
  • What did the winning amendments have in common?

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