While studying the First Amendment, Orchard students join the Supreme Court


To wrap up a study of the Three Branches of Government, all fifth grade students played a role in a mock Supreme Court hearing. The three Supreme Court cases (Texas v. Johnson, Engle v. Vitale, and Tinker v. Des Moines) were about First Amendment rights to freedom of expression or religion. Some students played the roles of attorneys and wrote arguments to be heard in court. Others wrote opinions as justices. Orchard students agreed with the U.S. Supreme Court on all three cases.
Fifth graders used to do a Congressional Hearing event. However, social studies teacher Teressa Hart wanted her students to focus on First Amendment rights, so she changed the format to mock Supreme Court hearings. "While it's always fun to play roles on stage," Mrs. Hart said. "The best part of this event is watching students take the lead and demonstrate a deep understanding of First Amendment rights." 
On a bittersweet note, this will be Mrs. Hart's final mock Supreme Court hearing since she started this concept about five or six years ago. After this year, she will retire from Orchard after 18 dedicated years of service. 
Mrs. Hart, thank you for always going above and beyond for your students while creating opportunities they'll cherish and learn from for the rest of their lives.
Progressive education tenet: 
  • Beyond traditional educational practices, knowledge is constructed through play, social interaction and direct experience, and this approach leads to academic achievement and success
  • Comfort with complex questions that have multiple possible solutions leads to open-minded exploration and sophisticated comprehension

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