Students learn about the rights and responsibilities held by citizens in several countries around the world and compare them to the rights held by U.S. citizens. Note: This lesson contains a PowerPoint presentation (see Lesson Prep). We've recently updated this lesson!
The students will...
Analyze key provisions of the constitutions of five different countries for similarities and differences to the U.S. Constitution.
Compare key rights the constitutions of five different countries give their citizens.
Offer an opinion whether the U.S. Constitution should be amended to include certain provisions found in other countries’ constitutions.
ANTICIPATE the lesson by asking the following question: “What does it mean to be a citizen?” Record key words from students answers in a visual place, summarizing their thoughts when you are done taking answers.
DISTRIBUTEone “Ballot” and one guided notes checklist to each student (ballots come two to a page; you will need to cut the pages in half).
RUN the “A Trip Around the World” PowerPoint. Stop to help students comprehend and compare the constitutional provisions. After each comparison, help the class decide which box should be checked. After each “But Wait!” slide, give students a minute to vote on their ballots and write a quick explanation of their vote.
Non PowerPoint Option
DISTRIBUTE the Comparative Handouts to each student. Work through the four constitutional provisions for each of the nations.
HELP the the class fill in the charts in the guided notes as you go through the presentation. These answers are somewhat subjective, but point students to the text of the documents when making the comparisons.
REVIEW the guided notes and the ballots as a class. Ask students to identify some of the key similarities and differences between the United States and the countries they’ve just learned about. Possible Questions: What two rights usually have the same rating within a country? Why might that be? What right do all these nations protect? Were any of these nations extreme (selected more or less on the graph)? Why?
DISTRIBUTE and assign the activity pages to the class, reviewing answers as needed. This is mostly new information building on the ideas in the lesson, so you may want to work through the activities together.