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Teach

Achieving a robust free speech culture requires that students get a proper grounding in knowledge of the Constitution. By providing educators with free, downloadable lessons plans, FIRE works to empower educators to provide their students with a deep understanding of civil liberties. 

Downloadable Courses

Check out our free-to-download lesson plans for K-12 classroom instruction to help you bring the Constitution to life for your students.

Professional development

Are you an educator eager to learn how to effectively teach your students about civil liberties? We plan to provide you with courses designed to help you do just that. Stay tuned!

Teach: Courses

Downloadable Courses

Materiales Educativos en Español

En este módulo de lección, encontrarás tres presentaciones en español que puedes usar para explicarles a tus estudiantes sobre los elementos filosóficos, históricos, y jurídicos de la Primera Enmienda de la Constitución Estadounidense.

Downloadable Courses

Current Free Speech Issues

When it comes to free speech, there’s always plenty to discuss and learn. This lesson explores some of the current controversies around free speech in education through various activities, videos, DBQs, and discussion-focused questions. Students will learn about some of the most popular arguments against free speech and how to respond to them, as well as why it can be important to voice your opinion, even if it’s an unpopular one.

Downloadable Courses

Speech, Power, and Censorship in American History

Free speech rights have proven themselves essential in securing a fair hearing for demands for justice and equal Constitutional protection for marginalized groups and isolated, targeted individuals throughout U.S. history. This module examines the crucial role of free speech in the Abolitionist, Women’s Suffrage, and Civil Rights movements.

Downloadable Courses

The Law and Free Speech

The legal landscape for free speech was defined by the Supreme Court over the past century. This lesson explores the landmark cases and legal reasoning behind the strong speech protections that Americans uniquely enjoy, while correcting some common misconceptions. Topics include the importance of tolerating critical dissent in a democracy, the value of clashing opinions, and the reasons for responding to offensive speech with more speech, not censorship.

Downloadable Courses

Election Lesson

This featured lesson provides educators with a structured lesson plan and a range of resources designed to help them lead successful classroom discussions of the competing candidates and issues, even during a contentious election year. Includes background information on developmental psychology and effective communication skills to equip teachers and students to interact in a healthy, productive way.

Downloadable Courses

Handling Offensive Speech

This unit will address the social-emotional aspects of dealing with unwelcome but protected speech, and covers ways that students can build resilience, refutation, self-advocacy, and coping skills. The unit also includes a bonus section: Teaching Healthy Discourse.

Downloadable Courses

Debate Activity Kit

Students who wish to be effective, persuasive communicators must develop argumentation skills. This unit includes sample debate topics, instruction on how to form a powerful argument, and activities designed to help students build comfort with taking, defending, and challenging competing positions on controversial topics.

Downloadable Courses

Teaching Healthy Discourse

This unit provides students with information and strategies for engaging in meaningful conversations with their peers.

Downloadable Courses

Constitution Day Lesson

FIRE has prepared a special Constitution Day Lesson to help educators communicate the background and value of their First Amendment Rights. This standards-based lesson includes a prepared PowerPoint slide deck, summarized reading materials, and accompanying discussion and critical thinking questions.

Downloadable Courses

The Philosophy of Free Speech

This unit reviews the unique inheritance of basic rights and freedoms bestowed on all American citizens by our founding documents, which draw from Enlightenment conceptions of liberty and individual human dignity. It also covers the essential role of open discourse and reasoning in examining evidence and seeking truth.

Downloadable Courses

Coronavirus and Free Speech Lesson

The world suddenly faces the daunting challenge of a viral pandemic. In this lesson, students consider an article by FIRE President Greg Lukianoff in which he argues that freedom of speech is essential to create the scholarly climate that will allow varying opinions on the virus to be discussed in a useful spirit of open inquiry.

Downloadable Courses

Remote Learning Lesson: Social Media Censorship

In this video lesson, FIRE’s Director of High School Outreach Bonnie Snyder interviews FIRE attorney Alex Morey about the legal considerations and competing interests involved in social media censorship of “misinformation” about the coronavirus, and steps tech companies are taking to elevate information from authoritative sources.

Downloadable Courses

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Would you speak up if you saw something completely ridiculous? Or would you keep your doubts to yourself? Using Hans Christian Andersen’s fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, this lesson examines the importance of thinking for oneself, even if everyone else disagrees. Using this FIRE lesson, students will gain a better understanding of the potential pitfalls of conformity, compliance, and obedience while fostering their self-confidence.

Downloadable Courses

Black History Month Lesson

This featured lesson, centered on Frederick Douglass’ acclaimed defense of free expression entitled, “A plea for free speech in Boston,” is ideally suited for use during Black History Month. It is also appropriate for lessons on the First Amendment, minority rights, the perils of censorship, and the power of the spoken word.

Downloadable Courses

Women’s History Month Lesson

This character-building lesson, designed for Women’s History Month, offers students an empowering glimpse into the many achievements and profound emotional strength of one of America’s most admired First Ladies.

Downloadable Courses

Ben Franklin and the First Amendment

Ben Franklin was an influential champion of free speech and freedom of the press during the founding and formation of the United States of America. This lesson takes a look at two of Franklin’s works – Silence Dogood No. 8 and “On the Freedom of the Press” in order to gain insight into his thinking about two of our fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

Downloadable Courses

Freedom of the Press and Newspaper Theft on Campus

In this mini-lesson, students will discover reasons why freedom of the press is important and why newspaper theft—an unfortunate incident that sometimes takes place on American college campuses—is wrong. Includes descriptions of actual newspaper heists.

Downloadable Courses

Free Speech in America vs. Other Countries

Drawing from the life and journey of NBA star Enes Kanter Freedom, this mini-lesson highlights the unique protections of the First Amendment in the United States in comparison with restrictions abroad.

Downloadable Courses

Truckers, Protests, Emergency Acts, and an American Convoy

Frustrated truck drivers—first in Canada, then in the United States—descended on national capitals in large, organized convoys to object to governmental covid requirements. Were they within their rights? Did they go too far? This mini-lesson invites students to grapple with the meaning and boundaries of the American right to protest.

Downloadable Courses

Right to Protest

The right to protest guarantees us the ability to use our free speech to voice opposition to things we disagree with. In this unit, students will learn what constitutes a legally protected protest, what the limits are, and examine some notable controversial forms of protest.

Impact