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You Can’t Say That in School?!

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Students understand the five freedoms of the First Amendment, how they play a role in their daily lives and why there are limits on these rights in school.

This unit introduces students to the power and limits of the five freedoms of the First Amendment. It includes pre- and post-visit activities designed to bracket the You Can’t Say That in School, Newseum Education class, plus a class-specific gallery guide. (They can also be used independent of a class.) Through these experiences, students see how the First Amendment plays a role in their daily lives, particularly in a school environment.

OBJECTIVE: Students understand the five freedoms of the First Amendment, how they play a role in their daily lives and why there are limits on these rights in school.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Middle and high school

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Overview PDF DOC
Worksheets PDF DOC
Extensions PDF DOC
Full Packet PDF DOC

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  • What freedoms does the First Amendment guarantee?
  • How do we use the five freedoms in our daily lives?
  • When, why and how are limits placed on these freedoms?
  • How does the First Amendment apply in a school setting?
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  • The First Amendment
  • The role of the five freedoms in our daily lives
  • The scope and limits of rights
  • Civic debate and decision-making
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  1. Before Your Visit
    • Allowed or Not Allowed? Students use a series of scenarios to begin considering how far the First Amendment’s protections extend.
  2. During Your Visit
    • NewseumED Class – You Can’t Say That in School?! The landmark Supreme Court case of Tinker v. Des Moines serves as a basis to discuss how public school officials must balance students’ rights to free expression with the need to provide a safe learning environment. Students then discuss and debate other real-life court cases.
    • You Can’t Say That in School Gallery Guide: This guide takes students through the Newseum’s First Amendment Gallery to see how their freedoms can be exercised daily and in school.
  3. After Your Visit
    • The Case of Lee v. Weisman: Students analyze a 1992 Supreme Court case about religion in public schools, drawing on their First Amendment knowledge to support their own conclusions about how the court should have ruled.
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