The following resources are available free of charge thanks to the generosity of our donors.
In addition to our full resources, we also publish regular Current Events eLessons
and offer dozens of fun, engaging, homework help videos on our YouTube channel!
A free comprehensive digital course on History, Government & Economics. (Published 2014)
A free digital storehouse featuring our best primary source-based, classroom-ready lessons. The Bill of Rights Institute consistently provides quality, primary-source based resources to civics educators across the country. BRI Resources gives educators the opportunity to access our best curricula, online, anytime, free of charge. Looking for a lesson on the Constitutional Convention? Simply type your terms in the search bar. Need to narrow it down to Thomas Jefferson’s role? Educators can filter searches by a number of options providing the simplest, most effective way to find exactly what is needed with the click of a button.
The Bill of Rights and You: Rights and Responsibilities is designed to give students an understanding of their rights under the first ten amendments to the Constitution, as well as the responsibilities of citizenship that go along with those rights. They will understand, as the Founders would have put it, the relationship between the exercise of private virtue and public happiness. The ten-unit curriculum will help students see the association between the exercise of their rights and their responsibilities in a free society. Each unit pulls from national history, civics, and social studies standards, and contains two lessons designed by master teachers. Additional resources include accompanying YouTube videos, optional reading quizzes, a glossary of key terms from background essays, and a listing of landmark Supreme Court cases. (Published 2006)
The Bill of Rights for Real Life is designed to lead less academically-inclined students toward a stronger and more explicit engagement in civil society. This curriculum uses techniques and strategies outlined in The Civic Mission of Schools—a report published by the University of Maryland’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) and the Carnegie Corporation that are most appropriate for teaching these students. Through the ten-unit curriculum, they will grow into informed and engaged citizens learning the ways our Constitution affects their daily lives and empowers them with methods for civic engagement. Each unit contains two lessons designed by master teachers. Additional resources include accompanying YouTube videos, handouts, optional reading quizzes, a glossary of key terms from background essays, and a listing of landmark Supreme Court cases.
Conflict and Continuity: The Story of American Freedom serves as an educational tool for teachers to provide students with the opportunity to question, challenge, and debate the application and the cost of freedom. With a special focus on the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment, students will appreciate their freedoms and the ideas that underpin them. Developed by teachers for teachers, all the lesson plans were reviewed by leading academic experts and were piloted in a number of classrooms across the nation with great success. Conflict and Continuity: The Story of American Freedom will encourage, foster and guide discussions on First Amendment issues. The curriculum was made possible by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum in collaboration with the Bill of Rights Institute.
Developed in collaboration with the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum, Faces of Freedom in American History will help students understand their freedoms and the people who have struggled to defend, preserve and expand them. Experiences beyond the classroom help enhance student learning, and that’s why Faces of Freedom in American History can serve as either a stand-alone teaching tool or as a supplement to the exhibits in the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum in Chicago. By putting faces with names, these important lessons will have a memorable impact on students, and they will come to see their own face among the faces of freedom in American history. This curriculum will illuminate reasons for appreciating freedom and ways students can help ensure its future.
The Founding Documents: A Three-Act Drama is an immersive, interactive dive into the Founding documents and the history that surrounded them. Made possible by the Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Foundation, this colorful resource for younger students takes the reader on a journey back in time and introduces key figures like Benjamin Franklin, George Mason, and Thomas Jefferson among others. Complete with activity sections and vivid illustration, this resource is a wonderful introduction to Founding Principles.
Lessons in Media and American Democracy are each designed for a 45-minute class period in journalism, English, civics, social studies, or government classrooms. They explore such constitutional issues as the First Amendment’s protection of speech and press, prior restraint, and right to know versus national security. Media and American Democracy will help teachers find effective ways to use the First Amendment, press-related debate, and the daily news to capture the imaginations of their students and inspire engagement, citizenship, and the belief that all of us have the responsibility to participate.
Property Rights in America provides teachers with a week of lesson plans to impart to students the ways property rights animate a free society. The Founders believed in property rights as the foundation of all other personal rights. James Madison wrote in Property (1792), “[A]s a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.” These resources will help students understand some of the rights that they perhaps take most for granted, but which form the foundation of so many other rights Americans enjoy and which are vital to liberty.
Presidents and the Constitution (Volumes 1 and 2) will allow students to explore how specific constitutional principles have applied in numerous situations in history. Volume I features fifteen lessons organized according to five constitutional themes: “The President and Federal Power;” “War and the Constitution,” “Slavery and the Constitution,” “The President as Chief Diplomat,” and “Electing the President.” Volume II features three new themes as well as second units on “War and Federal Power.” Presidents and the Constitution will help your students understand the powers delegated to the President in the Constitution, and with this knowledge, to be more informed citizens and critical students of history and current events. The curriculum is made possible by The National Endowment for the Humanities and Dr. John M. Templeton, Jr.