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The First Amendment Protections of Free Speech

Grade Level Grades 10-12
Resource Type Activity, Article, Handout, Lesson Plan, Presentation


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This lesson is designed to help students examine their own understanding and assumptions about what freedom of speech means, as well as to deepen their understanding of the currently accepted court and legal interpretations of speech rights under the First Amendment. The lesson will develop and strengthen the students’ scope of the First Amendment protections of speech.* This lesson requires 3-4 class sessions, but can be modified or adjusted. Students should be given additional time to complete the assessment.

*If students do not have prior knowledge of First Amendment cases on Free Speech, review the following three cases with them:

  • Schenck v United States (1919)
  • Tinker v Des Moines (1965)
  • Brandenburg v Ohio (1969)

A handout with summaries of these cases is attached.

The full cases can be found at:


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