The Bill of Rights

6, 7, 8

Learners will describe important protections afforded citizens by the Bill of Rights and illustrate how those protections encourage citizens to act on behalf of the common good.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo Fifty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • identify protections granted by the Bill of Rights.
  • describe how philanthropy is enabled by the Bill of Rights.

Learner copies of Bill of Rights Worksheet (Handout One )

Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework: Have the learners illustrate the right that they value the most. Then have the students explain to a family member the right they selected. The family member should select another right that is important and list it on the back of the drawing.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Put the words “Miranda rights” on the chalkboard. Ask the learners if they can recite the familiar words they have heard television and movie police use to inform persons of their rights as they are being arrested. Explain that these rights were not granted until 1966 when they were recognized by the United States Supreme Court as being an important protection given by the Fifth Amendment. That amendment says that no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.

  2. Day One: Divide the class into teams of three. Distribute the Bill of Rights Worksheet ( Handout One ). Explain that the Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the Constitution. They were added on to the Constitution by the First Congress because some people had criticized the proposed Constitution for not protecting the rights of the people .

  3. Read the amendments aloud and go over vocabulary terms with which the learners may be unfamiliar. Working in teams, have the learners go through each amendment, putting into their own words the protections afforded by each amendment. Have the teams report on their findings.

  4. For homework, have the learners each select one amendment to illustrate and identify. On the back of the drawing should be a paragraph explaining the importance of having the protections of this amendment. Learners should share this information with a member of their household and ask one of their family members to list another important protection he or she believes is important.

  5. Day Two: Display the homework illustrations. Which amendments or protections were recognized by most of the learners?

  6. Ask the learners to give examples of how they believe the common good is helped through the protections afforded by the Bill of Rights. How do the protections given by the Bill of Rights ensure that citizens can act philanthropically, if they wish?


The worksheets, homework illustrations/essays and class discussions may be used as an assessment of learning.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify the philanthropic ideas embedded in a nation's founding documents.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.6 Describe how the founding documents and fundamental democratic principles encourage citizens to act philanthropically.