Lesson Plan

Students learn that you can't take constitutional language at face value. Those phrases we read in the Bill of Rights, such as "cruel and unusual punishment" or being a "witness" against yourself, have specialized meaning based on years of interpretation by the Supreme Court.  Students analyze real-life cases interpreting the 8th and 5th amendments to see whether they interpret the Bill of Rights the same way the Supreme Court did... and discover how tricky interpreting the Constitution really is!

Teacher Resources

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Interpreting the Constitution - 1
Interpreting the Constitution - 2
Interpreting the Constitution - 3

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