The First Amendment
Amy B. Davies
Taylor Allderdice High School
Index to Curriculum Unit:
This unit is designed to be used with the ninth grade civics curriculum. The
First Amendment attempts to instill in students knowledge of the Constitution,
the Bill of Rights and specifically, the First Amendment. To further examine
the First Amendment, the unit introduces and examines topics that directly
impact or relate to students. Religious liberty will include a look at the Pledge
of Allegiance and the controversy that has surrounded it regarding the words
“under God.” Issues relevant to freedom of expression will include censorship
of student publications, the use of the internet and internet filters. Curfews will
be examined as a topic of freedom of assembly. This unit also devotes time to
learning about the Patriot Act and its impact on First Amendment freedoms.
This unit gives students the opportunity to embrace the First Amendment and
become responsible citizens who understand the basic freedoms on which our
free society is based.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of
the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the
government for a redress of grievances.
In a recent study conducted by the University of Connecticut, the results
showed that high school students today do not know about the very basic rights
outlined in the First Amendment. The two year, $1 million research project,
titled “The Future of the First Amendment,” was commissioned by the John S.
and James L. Knight Foundation. The results of the study were shocking. Most
students surveyed knew little or nothing about the First Amendment. Over one
third believed that the First Amendment went too far in th