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Is Everyone Protected by the Bill of Rights?
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students


In this lesson, students explore whether gays should be entitled to serve in the military. To understand this issue, students take a look at the civil rights afforded to every US citizen. We explore how this applied to the civil rights movement, and whether it is also applicable to gays who want to serve in the military. All this is used to gather information for a final debate about the issue using skills and research found in the lesson.

Grade Level: 10-12

Time Allotment: Approximately two weeks

Subject Matter: Social Studies and Language Arts

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
  • define and understand civil rights
  • explain the function of the United States Bill of Rights
  • debate both sides of a controversial issue
  • write a persuasive statement/letter about a controversial issue
  • access information from various Web sites.

National Standards:

From McRel, http://www.mcrel.org

Language Arts:

National Council of Teachers of English: Standards in Practice: 9-12

Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes
  • Adjusts message wording and delivery to particular audiences and for particular purposes (e.g., to defend a position, to entertain, to inform, to persuade)
Civics and Government:

Understands the sources, purposes, and functions of law, and the importance of the rule of law for the protection of individual rights and the common good

CCE: National Standards for Civics and Government

Understands the role and importance of law in the American constitutional system and issues regarding the judicial protection of individual rights
  • Understands how the rule of law makes possible a system of ordered liberty that protects the basic rights of citizens
  • Knows historical and contemporary illustrations of the idea of equal protection of the laws for all persons (e.g., the Fourteenth Amendment, Americans with Disabilities Act, equal opportunity legislation)
U.S. History: Contemporary United States (1968 to the present)

National Center for History in the Schools: U.S. History, Expanded Edition

  • Understands economic, social, and cultural developments in the contemporary United States. National Center for History in the Schools: U.S. History, Expanded Edition
State Standards:

New York State Standard 3, English

Reference Category 8. Speaking and listening as tools for learning

From http://www.achieve.org
  • Students will listen, speak, read, and write for critical analysis and evaluation.
  • As listeners and readers, students will analyze experiences, ideas, information, and issues presented by others using a variety of established criteria.
  • As speakers and writers, they will use oral and written language that follows the accepted conventions of the English language to present, from a variety of perspectives, their opinions and judgments on experiences, ideas, information and issues.
  • Students will present orally and in writing well-developed analyses of issues, ideas, and texts, explaining the rationale for their positions in such forms as formal speeches, debates, and critiques
This lesson was prepared by: Peter Denegre