Teaching about the Supreme Court? PBS has a set of interactives covering everything from the Court’s history to its role in everyday life. With this collection at your disposal, you can teach about almost any aspect of the Court. Want to show the symbolism behind the Supreme Court’s seal, its building, and the justices’ robes? There’s an activity for that. Or maybe your students would like to put themselves on the justices’ bench. There’s an interactive that presents the two sides of a classic case and lets them choose the winner.
There are nine activities in all, so your best bet is to take a look yourself. One of the most interesting is called “A Day in the Life.” It takes you through an average day at school, stopping along the way to ask questions about Supreme Court rulings that pertain to student life. You’ll see how the Court has ruled on issues like backpack searches and school internet censorship. Another one, “Supreme Inspiration,” is great for building cross-curricular connections to language arts. It highlights famous literature that was quoted in Supreme Court opinions. Writers like Plato, Shakespeare, Mark Twain, and George Orwell have all made it into the justices’ writings; the activity explains how and in what context.
More broadly than teaching U.S. History, these activities have plenty of implications for Government and Civics, all centered on that document that’s gotten so much press lately: the Constitution.
Supreme Court History Interactives via PBS.org