The most basic liberties guaranteed to Americans — embodied in the 45 words of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — assure Americans a government that is responsible to its citizens and responsive to their wishes. These 45 words are as alive and important today as they were over 200 years ago.

Education for Freedom is offered by the Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center, a nonpartisan center dedicated to the understanding and appreciation of the values of the First Amendment. These lessons (beginning and advanced levels) address constitutional principles and contemporary issues involving the First Amendment. They will draw young people into an exploration of how their freedoms began and how they operate in today's world. Students will discuss just how far individual rights extend, examining rights in the school environment and public places. The lessons may be used in history and government, language arts and journalism, art and debate classes. They may be used in sections or in their entirety.

    We invite you to:

  • Review the lessons by title and description, by academic discipline or First Amendment focus.
  • Select those that will best fit your students’ needs and inclinations.
  • Count on to report news related to First Amendment freedoms daily.

Before you begin.
Before you begin your first lesson, give your students an informal test.

Ask who can name all five rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. You might offer a prize to the first person who is able to do this. At the First Amendment Center we usually offer a $20 bill as a prize. Nine times out of 10 it goes back into our billfolds when no one succeeds. We hope that you and Education for Freedom can change that success rate.

Three basic documents.
Three key, basic documents that will be referred to (and linked to) throughout most of these lessons are posted here for introductory reference:

First Principles
A Brief History of the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment


The lessons contain other links to resource materials, as well. We will post them and link them off this page as they become available.

Please send any comments on these lesson plans to Judy Hines, Freedom Forum consultant, at

NOTE: For more First Amendment lessons, in addition to those below, see the First Amendment Schools Web site.

Begin individual lessons below:
Does Having Freedom of Speech Mean We Can Burn Our Flag?
Tough Calls: How Do Journalists Make Ethical Decisions?  
When May Speech Be Limited?
Do Students Have a Right to Read?
You Are Free to Exercise (your religious freedoms).
Will You Sign This Petition?
Where Do Student Press Rights Start ... and Stop?
What Is the (No) Establishment Clause?
Public Schools and Prayer: Do They Mix?
Do You Have a Prayer?
Letter from Birmingham Jail