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8th Grade: Understanding the Second Amendment through Primary Sources: Assessing the Supreme Court’s Opinion  in D.C. v. Heller

Overview of the Lesson:


Over two class periods, students will: (1) outline and understand the role of the Supreme Court in constitutional decision making; (2) understand how the Supreme Court uses legal history when constructing an opinion – with particular emphasis on the importance of evidence and well-structured arguments; (3) debate, discuss and analyze the history, scope, and meaning of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.


In the first class period, the students will build on their basic knowledge of the Supreme Court’s role with a miniature case study of District of Columbia v. Heller. Students will then use the majority of the first class period to familiarize themselves with the history of the Second Amendment.


In the second class period, the students will debate the merits of Heller and then compare their conclusions to that of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Students will compare the structure and evidence used in their arguments to those used by the Court. 


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