ALEX Lesson Plan


Read All About It! Supreme Court Case Makes Headlines!

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Myra Wooten
System: Shelby County
School: Oak Mountain Middle School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 3000


Read All About It! Supreme Court Case Makes Headlines!


This is a project to conclude the study of the Judicial Branch of our government. The students, working in pairs, will be assigned a landmark Supreme Court case to research in a computer lab setting. They will then construct a one-page newsletter on the case which will include a summary of the case, two pictures, a short biography on one of the justices on the Court at that time, and an editorial describing their reaction to the case.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Technology Education
TC2 (2009)
Grade: 6-8
5 ) Use basic features of word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software.

Examples: word processing—reports, letters, brochures

-  spreadsheets—discovering patterns, tracking spending, creating budgets

-  databases—contact list of addresses and telephone numbers

-  presentation software—slideshow

Technology Education
TC2 (2009)
Grade: 6-8
6 ) Select specific digital tools for completing curriculum-related tasks.

Examples: spreadsheet for budgets, word processing software for essays, probes for data collection

Technology Education
TC2 (2009)
Grade: 6-8
9 ) Practice responsible and legal use of technology systems and digital content.

Examples: avoiding plagiarism; complying with acceptable-use policies, copyright laws, and fair use standards; recognizing secure Web sites

•  Identifying examples of computer crime and related penalties
Examples: computer crime—phishing, spoofing, virus and worm dissemination, cyberbullying

-  penalties—fines, incarceration

•  Citing sources of digital content
Technology Education
TC2 (2009)
Grade: 6-8
11 ) Use digital tools and strategies to locate, collect, organize, evaluate, and synthesize information.

Examples: locating—Boolean searches, graphic organizers, spreadsheets, databases

-  collecting—probeware, graphing calculators

-  organizing—graphic organizers, spreadsheets

-  evaluating—reviewing publication dates, determining credibility

-  synthesizing—word processing software, concept-mapping software

Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 7
6 ) Explain the importance of juvenile, adult, civil, and criminal laws within the judicial system of the United States.

•  Explaining rights of citizens as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights under the Constitution of the United States
•  Explaining what is meant by the term rule of law
•  Justifying consequences of committing a civil or criminal offense
•  Contrasting juvenile and adult laws at local, state, and federal levels (Alabama)
Insight Unpacked Content
Strand: History, Civics and Government
Course Title: Civics
Evidence of Student Attainment:
  • Differentiate between juvenile and adult laws, as well as between civil and criminal laws. Identify the protections given in the U.S. Bill of Rights.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • juvenile
  • civil law
  • criminal law
  • rights
  • Bill of Rights
  • rule of law
  • state
  • federal
  • local
  • court
  • offense
  • felony
  • misdemeanor
  • jail
  • prison
  • juvenile detention center
Students know:
  • The similarities and differences between civil and criminal law.
  • The structure of the juvenile court system.
  • The rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
Students are able to:
  • Use primary source documents to justify the actions of courts.
Students understand that:
  • Laws are different for adults and juveniles and that there are separate civil and criminal laws and courts.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

The students will gain an understanding of a landmark Supreme Court case and determine who would be most affected by the decision of the Court. This knowledge will be demonstrated by the creation of a newsletter using word processing software with text boxes or desktop publishing software. The students will learn how to use text boxes and be able to import pictures from the Internet into their documents.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:


Technology Resources Needed:

Computers with Internet access, word processing software, printer


A study of the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the Judicial Branch of government.

1.)Students will work in pairs and turn in one newsletter. Students will be assigned a landmark Supreme Court case.

2.)Guidelines for newsletter: Using text boxes, write the title of your newspaper with the authors' names underneath the title. (This could reflect students' name.) Make an eye-catching headline.

3.)Write an article that summarizes the case by giving a description, background, basis of the argument before the Court, the constitutional issue involved, and the Court's decision.

4.)Include another article that gives a short biography on one of the justices on the Court at the time of the case. This could be about the Chief Justice, the justice who wrote the majority opinion, or the justice who wrote the dissenting opinion.

5.)Include two pictures in the newsletter. Examples could include pictures of the Supreme Court building, pictures of the justices, or pictures of people or places relevant to the case. One of the pictures may be clipart. A caption should accompany each picture.

6.)Write a brief editorial describing your feelings and reactions on the case. Will it have an effect on you now? In the future?

7.)This website may be useful:
(Landmark Cases)
This site was developed to provide teachers with a full range of resources and activities to support the teaching of landmark Supreme Court cases, helping students explore the key issues of each case.

8.)Suggested cases: Marbury v Madison; Plessy v Ferguson; U.S. v Nixon; Brown v Board of Education of Topeka; Hazelwood School District v Kuhlmeier; Engel v Vitale; Gideon v Wainwright; New Jersey v TLO


Assessment Strategies

The students could be evaluated as to whether or not all of the required content was present. Do their newsletters contain accurate information of the case? Did they include the two required pictures? Does the editorial reflect an understanding of the case? Is proofreading evident? (No grammar or spelling errors).





Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.