The five parts of the Fifth
This lesson will focus on the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution and its intent to provide due process to citizens. Students will engage in writing, discussion, cooperative learning, art, and theatrical activities in gaining an understanding of the Amendment and its concepts.
A lesson plan for grades 8–10 Social Studies
- identify the components of due process found in the Fifth Amendment.
- analyze information in order to recognize the components in real-life situations.
Time required for lesson
- text of the Fifth Amendment
- construction/drawing paper
- crayons/colored pencils/markers
- chalkboard or overhead projector
Assess the students’ initial understanding of the due process provided in the Fifth Amendment by writing on the board: “What is due process?” Allow the class approximately five minutes to respond on paper. Upon completion, discuss the students’ responses, giving special emphasis to answers that deal directly with the Fifth Amendment.
- Inform the class that the Fifth Amendment is a very complex amendment that provides the protection of due process to citizens in a variety of ways. Citizens accused of crimes as well as personal property are protected by the Fifth.
- Distribute copies of the Fifth Amendment. Have students read the text and give correct answers on their paper as to the five components of the Fifth Amendment. (approximately 10 minutes)
- Right to remain silent
- Confessions given of free will
- No double jeopardy
- Accused must be indicted by a grand jury
- Eminent domain
- Once students have been given the opportunity to garner the correct responses, reinforce the information by briefly elaborating a description of each component.
- Distribute construction/drawing paper and drawing instruments to each student.
- Instruct students to create a simple visual organizer to represent the meaning of each component of the Fifth Amendment. Without restricting students, tell them not to spend too much time detailing their artwork.
- Upon completion, briefly discuss the class goal: shedding more light on the details surrounding due process in the Fifth Amendment. Allow students to jot down any important information at this time and correct any misconceptions that are mentioned.
- Divide the class into five equally-sized groups. Assign each group a component of the Fifth Amendment.
- Tell groups to take the next 15-20 minutes to create an impromptu skit portraying the meaning of their assigned component of the Fifth. Skits should be brief yet informative. Encourage students to be as creative as the class setting allows. Some suggestions include playing skit charades or silent movie skits while still portraying information.
- When all groups are ready, begin performing.
When the skits have been completed, ask the students again, “What does due process mean?” Reinforce understanding by encouraging students to describe the rights of the accused and property rights in the Fifth Amendment. Finish class by answering any questions.
North Carolina curriculum alignment
Social Studies (2003)
- Goal 2: The learner will analyze how the government established by the United States Constitution embodies the purposes, values, and principles of American democracy.
- Objective 2.01: Identify principles in the United States Constitution.
- Objective 2.04: Describe how the United States Constitution may be changed and analyze the impact of specific changes.
- Objective 2.06: Analyze court cases that demonstrate how the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights protect the rights of individuals.
- North Carolina Essential Standards
- Social Studies (2010)
Civics and Economics
- CE.C&G.1 Analyze the foundations and development of American government in terms of principles and values. CE.C&G.1.1 Explain how the tensions over power and authority led America's founding fathers to develop a constitutional democracy (e.g., mercantilism,...
- 8.C&G.1 Analyze how democratic ideals shaped government in North Carolina and the United States. 8.C&G.1.1 Summarize democratic ideals expressed in local, state, and national government (e.g. limited government, popular sovereignty, separation of powers,...
- Social Studies (2010)