School Improvement in Maryland

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 1.0 Political Science

Topic C. Protecting Rights and Maintaining Order

Indicator 3. Examine the principle of due process

Objective b. Describe the due process protections in the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment

1.C.3.b is best taught in conjunction with the previous objective, 1.C.3.a, which provides students with the opportunity to examine specific due process protections in the Constitution; and with 1.A.2.g, which requires students to “evaluate the Civil War Amendments and how they protected individual rights.” Prior to the beginning of the lesson for 1.C.3.b, be sure the students can explain the term due process and summarize the two ways in which due process protects individuals in the United States (by protecting them from both government actions and the content of the law).

Provide students with blank charts that can be used for listing specific procedural and substantive due process protections found in the Bill of Rights, and explaining the impact of the 14th Amendment on the meaning of due process.

First, distribute or display the text of the Bill of Rights. In full class discussion, ask students whether the language of the Bill of Rights appears to limit the power of the federal government, the states, or both. As needed, clearly establish with the students that the document applies only to the national government. Next, direct pairs of students to analyze the document to first to identify processes the federal government must follow to protect the rights of individuals, such as obtaining a warrant before searching a person’s property or belongings, providing property owners with just compensation upon the taking of property for public purposes, providing criminal defendants with a trial by jury before sentencing them to jail time, etc. Direct the students to complete tables listing these examples of procedural due process rights found in the Bill of Rights. Next, have the students see if they can find evidence in the Bill of Rights of limits on the government’s power over the substance or content of the laws it passes, such as the First Amendment’s requirement that “Congress shall make now law respecting an establishment of religion.” Have students list examples of substantive Bill of Rights protections in their tables as well.

Next, distribute or display the text of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which contains the due process clause. In full class discussion, have the students read the text and explain (1) why the 14th Amendment was needed, in light of the previous discussion of the Bill of Rights, and (2) how passage of the 14th Amendment changed the meaning of due process in the United States.
Have students record this information in their organizers.
Have the students design visual diagrams, such as political cartoons, stick figures, or flow charts, intended to explain the due process guarantees found in the Constitution. In doing so, allow students to select their own individual formats for demonstrating what they know. Be sure the diagrams (1) provide examples of specific due process guarantees from the Bill of Rights; and (2) reflect the students’ understanding of how the Constitution limits both state and federal power. (For example, students might portray the specific protections in Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment as blockers on a football team attempting to restrain the charging federal and state governments)

Resources for Objective 1.C.3.b:
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