The Bill of Rights in Real Life (Free)

by  National Archives

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Guiding Question: Why should we care about the Bill of Rights?

During this interactive program, students will focus on the rights and limitations within the Bill of Rights and discuss why they, as middle school students, should care about the Bill of Rights. Students will examine historical documents from the holdings of the National Archives. Students will decide if they see an example of the Bill of Rights in action or in trouble. Students will practice primary source analysis skills as they decide which of the first ten amendments connects to the image or document on display. Historical examples highlighted in this program include the 1958 Youth March for Integrated Schools, the 1950s Senate investigation into comic books as a cause of juvenile delinquency, how new technology and the ruling of Katz v. the United States expanded our understanding of the Fourth Amendment, and Japanese internment during World War II. 

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About This Program


Point to Point: $0.00


This program is free.


45-60 minutes

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 6, 7, 8

Minimum participants:


Maximum participants:

There is no maximum, but for optimum interactivity, we suggest no more than 35 students.

Primary Disciplines

Social Studies/History

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc...)
Google Hang Out

Booking Information

Programs are available by request Tuesday-Thursday and must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.

Book it!

Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

Please email distancelearning@nara.gov at least 24 hours in advance about program cancellations. Cancellations due to inclement weather will be rescheduled based on program availability.

About This Provider

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National Archives

Washington, DC
United States

The National Archives is an independent Federal agency that preserves and protects the historically valuable records of the United States
government. The mission of the National Archives is to provide public access to
these Federal Government records. Public access to government records
strengthens democracy by allowing Americans to claim their rights of
citizenship, hold their government accountable, and understand their history so
they can participate more effectively in their government.

The interactive Distance Learning programs of the National
Archives feature primary sources from the Archives' holdings, including historical
documents, photographs, maps, posters, and more!

National Archives Distance Learning Team

Program Details


1. Introduction to the National Archives

2. Main Activity: Students decide whether historical examples from the holdings of the National Archives show the Bill of Rights in action or in trouble. Students will analyze primary sources and a few student volunteers will take part in acting out a short scene.

3. Discussion: Why should students care about the Bill of Rights?

4. Conclusion and time for Q&A


By completing this program, students will be better able to:

1. Explain the rights and limitations found within the Bill of Rights

2. Understand the impact the Bill of Rights has on their own lives

3. Analyze primary sources

Standards Alignment

National Standards

National Center for History in the Schools History Standards
United States History Content Standards for Grades 5-12 United States Era 3 Standard 3B
The student understands the guarantees of the Bill of Rights and its continuing significance.

National Standards for Civics and Government
The American idea of constitutional government. Students should be able to explain how specific provisions of the United States Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, limit the powers of government in order to protect the rights of individuals, e.g., habeas corpus; trial by jury; ex post facto; freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly; equal protection of the law; due process of law; right to counsel .

Political rights. Students should be able to evaluate, take, and defend positions on issues involving political rights.

The place of law in American society. Students should be able to explain the importance of law in the American constitutional system. To achieve this standard, students should be able to explain the importance of the rule of law in establishing limits on both those who govern and the governed protecting individual rights.

Civic responsibilities. Students should be able to evaluate, take, and defend positions on the importance of civic responsibilities to the individual and society.

Common Core State Standards
Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.

Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.