So this week we finished our study of the Supreme Court. We had begun with an examination of two specific student speech cases, Tinker v. Des Moines, and Hazelwood vs. Kulzeimer. Both cases dealt with students and, to what extent, they are allowed to speak their minds.
This transitioned into an activity in which our students researched specific cases. Case law is tremendous background information to learn, as a number of current events deal with our principles, Constitutional rights, and limits on the government’s power. Awareness of court cases to support arguments (such as, in Language Arts’ persuasive speeches). Students have also noticed how much better they understand newspapers and television shows pertaining to crime.
Additionally, students were challenged to critically think how each case connected to the Constitution. How did the ruling of the majority set a precedent? Why did the minority vote against the action of the court? And what Constitutional principle was clarified or reinforced?