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You Can’t Say That

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Students understand the five freedoms of the First Amendment, how they play a role in their daily lives and the limits that govern their exercise.

This unit explores when and why there are limits on the five freedoms of the First Amendment. It includes pre- and post-visit activities designed to bracket the You Can’t Say That EDClass, plus a class-specific gallery guide. (They can also be done independent of a visit.) Through these experiences, students will see how the First Amendment plays a role in their daily lives. Using landmark court cases and current events, they will investigate just how far these freedoms extend and why in some instances they must be limited.

OBJECTIVE: Students understand the five freedoms of the First Amendment, how they play a role in their daily lives and the limits that govern their exercise.



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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?
  • What exceptions to First Amendment protections has the Supreme Court identified?


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  • The First Amendment
  • The role of the five freedoms in our daily lives
  • The scope and limits of our 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: This lesson uses landmark court cases to explore the exceptions (such as defamation, obscenity and breach of peace) and restrictions that govern freedom of expression as guaranteed in the First Amendment.
    • You Can’t Say That Gallery Guide: This guide takes students through the Newseum’s First Amendment Gallery (Level 4) and the Berlin Wall Gallery (Concourse) to about the importance of a free press in history and today.
  3. After Your Visit
    • In My Opinion: Students use their First Amendment knowledge to weigh in on a current First Amendment issue or controversy via multimedia response pieces.




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