Bill of Rights
GRADES SIX – EIGHT
For more information about
Discovering the Bill of Rights
for Grades 6-8:
Contact Marieljane (MJ) Bastien
Discovering the Bill of Rights (DBR) draws middle school students into the midst of the judicial process. In real courtrooms, students learn about the Bill of Rights and the appellate process, then develop and present appellate arguments based on landmark Supreme Court cases before lawyers presiding as judges.
This ninety minute field trip to the Moakley U.S. Courthouse challenges students to think critically, advocate for their “client,” and consider opposing arguments. Through DBR, students learn how the protections in the Bill of Rights can be applied to real life situations.
AMENDMENT ACTIVITIES (9:30 – 11:30 AM):
TINKER V. DES MOINES INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT (FIRST AMENDMENT)
This case established a new standard for student speech in public schools. Two siblings, John and Mary Beth Tinker, and their friend Christopher Eckhardt wore black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War. The Tinkers and Eckhardt were suspended for violating a school policy that
banned wearing black armbands. Alleging that their First Amendment rights had been violated, the students (through their parents) filed suit in federal court, eventually appealing their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
NEW JERSEY V. T.L.O. (FOURTH AMENDMENT)
This case established new standards for a constitutional search of a public school student’s property. While searching a freshman girl’s purse for cigarettes, a high school administrator found evidence that the student was selling marijuana. The student was tried and convicted of delinquency. She appealed the conviction, claiming that the search violated her Fourth Amendment rights. The case ultimately went before the U.S. Supreme Court.