Are They Watching You? eLesson

The Constitutional principle of due process, which holds that government must interact with citizens according to duly‑enacted laws, balances the rights of suspects with public safety. The Fourth Amendment was added to the Constitution to ensure we would be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. But do all searches require a judge-­approved warrant? How do we know which ones do? Further, surveillance technology has posed challenges to the meaning and application of the Fourth Amendment, and understandings of “reasonable,” “papers and effects,” and “search” have changed over time. Understanding, analyzing, and applying the Fourth Amendment is vital to maintaining the freedom the Founders sought to protect and the principle of due process.

Complete Lesson (PDF)

Recommended Time

One 45-­minute class period plus game time.

Objectives

Students will:

  • Understand the principle of due process, which holds that the government must interact with all citizens according to the tenets of the law; applying these rules equally among all citizens.
  • Understand ways the Supreme Court has interpreted the Fourth Amendment.
  • Evaluate whether the Fourth Amendment is effectively protecting citizens from unreasonable search and seizure.

Materials

Background Essay
Handout A: ASitude Inventory
Handout B: Interpreting the Fourth Amendment
Handout C: Should You Expect Privacy?
“Are They Watching You” Game, available at http://teachingfoundingprinciples.org
Answer Key

These resources are brought to you by the generous support of the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation.