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Protecting student voices trivia


Return to Front cover Constitution Day 2020


Regardless of how much you have touched on student First Amendment rights in class, get your students competing to test their knowledge of specific laws, court cases that shape their speech and publication rights at school and the resources available to them. Additional suggestions are provided for discussion and applying the concepts to your specific school.

  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of the First Amendment rights available to them at school.
  • Students will assess their knowledge of the history of student press rights and its application
  • Students will apply knowledge of relevant laws and history to their own publication policy.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.8Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.9Analyze seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century foundational U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.


20-50 minutes

Materials / resources

Protecting Student Voices Kahoot Quiz:

Protecting Student Voices Paper Quiz:

Protecting Student Voices Paper Quiz ANSWERS:

Lesson step-by-step

Step 1 — Introduction and Set-Up (2-5 minutes)

Feel free to briefly introduce the day and activity (for example: “Constitution Day is a federal observance celebrating the anniversary of the day The Constitution was signed on Sept. 17. Congress formally created the observance in 2004, and it is an excellent time to reflect on the rights granted to us by the Constitution and its amendment.”). Then set up the activity depending on how you want to operate it. You may use the Kahoot quiz for students to compete digitally or pass out the printed quiz for individuals or groups to answer.

Step 2 — Quiz/Competition (10-15 minutes)

Administer the questions/quiz. Again, there are several options available:

  • Have students using devices to join the Kahoot quiz that you are also displaying using a screen and projector at the front of the classroom. Students will be seeing the correct answers and their progress as they go, and there are some explanations provided after most answers to provide context for the answer. Feel free to take some time to discuss further any answers missed by large numbers of students.
  • Pass out the paper version of the quiz either to individuals or groups to complete. You may tally up a winning student/group or have the papers brought to you as they are completed so you can tell each group how many are wrong and give them a chance to continue adjusting answers until at least one group has brought it to you with them all correct. You may also have students/groups just exchange papers after a particular time limit to share/discuss the answers, with groups grading each other to find the best scores. Feel free, if you’d like, to make copies of the answer key, as well, to distribute groups when checking themselves or others. The explanations provided on that sheet are the same as on the Kahoot and worded directly for students, as well.

Step 3 — Recognition (2-5 minutes)

If possible, provide some simple prize or recognition for the winning students/groups. Prizes could range from some small candy to extra points to some sort of small certificate to even just some words or recognition or applause.

Step 4 (optional) — Connection (5-15 minutes)

If there is time, ask students to respond in writing to the following or similar prompt: Do you think students have as much protection for their freedom of speech and the press as they should have or need? Explain what, if anything, should be different and why it’s important that students are given such rights at all?

Step 5 (optional) — Application (10-15 minutes)

For further exploration, have students locate and read their own school board’s policy on student publications (it should be available on the school board section of the district’s website). Have them break down what level of protections it seems to provide. Are there particular things it says they cannot publish? Does it designate the publication as a forum or use other language from the court cases? Does it mention how much control the students have on decision-making? How well does it align with how the publication actually operates? In what ways is the policy protective (or not) of their rights?


This lesson can easily be modified for course, time, technology or other student/classroom needs:

  • Students needing more assistance may be paired or grouped with other students.
  • Students could share devices if necessary to complete the Kahoot.
  • If necessary, provide a series of links (such as to the Student Press Law Center) and/or allow technology use for students to look up information to help with answers while completing the paper version of the quiz.
  • Encourage students to further their understanding by looking up additional information on one of the court cases or laws and putting together some writing or other project to present to others.

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