Park City Bill of Rights Art Project

An integral aspect of the Foundations Unit in Kids’ Court is learning about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  The Constitution Lesson teaches the students about the importance of rules to our society and we conclude the lesson by creating our own Kids’ Court Constitution that includes rules such as, “Treat boys and girls equally,” “Don’t talk while the teacher is talking,” and “Throw all of your trash in the trash can.”  In Park City, the students added a rule that had unintended consequences — “No eating until the end of the lesson.”  The students thought that this rule was great but then they got candy in the middle of the lesson.  A fourth grader, Roxana, wanted to eat her candy but realized that she had to wait until the end of the lesson.  She was not happy about that!  We explained the amendment process to the class and allowed the students to debate about the pro’s and con’s of the rule.  Ultimately, the students convinced a majority of the students to vote to remove the rule and Roxana crossed it off of our constitution with delight.

After mastering the articles of the Constitution, we moved on to the Bill of the Rights.  The students understood that they are guaranteed rights as citizens of the United States, but we wanted to make sure to convey the importance of each individual amendment as well as ensure comprehension.  With only ten students, we decided to assign each student an amendment and work with them to create a drawing of what it represents.  The students had such a great time talking with the law student teachers to figuring out what their amendment represented.  After drawing in their “bluebooks” (books for handwriting exams at the law school that we’ve converted to journals for weekly exercises), the students presented their amendment to the class.  This was one of my favorite lessons this year!

Here are a few examples:

Diana's First Amendment: "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."

Evelyn's Second Amendment: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Vanessa's Third Amendment: "No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."

Evelyn C's Ninth Amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."