Studying the Fourth Amendment
By Amanda Kauffman
11th Grade Law Teacher
Junior students at Roberto Clemente Community Academy are learning more about the Fourth Amendment and its applications in their law class. In studying the Fourth Amendment, students are learning more about law enforcement search and seizure procedures. Through debate, discussion, and close reads of texts, students have been exploring what the Fourth Amendment and the Bill of Rights mean to them as individuals.
By analyzing multiple court cases, students have been able to investigate how the different Amendments apply in various settings, including schools. After learning about the technicalities of the laws, students have the opportunity to study how these same laws have been interpreted throughout history.
Prior to studying the Fourth Amendment, students looked at the First and Second Amendments and discussed their implications in society. In learning about the First Amendment, students come to understand what their own rights are and how to exercise them in this country. During the study of the Second Amendment, students investigated arguments for and against gun control through analysis of videos, advertisements, and quotes. Using evidence, students also argued their own viewpoints on gun control in the U.S.
As the law students move to the next unit, they will investigate the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Amendments and their role in shaping America’s legal framework. Students will participate in skits and mock trials to act out legal scenarios and apply their understanding of the Constitution to actual court cases. Students will continue to read, write, and debate how the Amendments inform current laws.
In addition to the Amendments themselves, students will explore how individuals’ rights vary from country to country. As students learn more about the rights of people internationally, they will come to better understand the importance of the U.S. Constitution as both a historical document and a living document that grants certain freedoms.