What’s It All About – An Introduction to the First Amendment

Lesson Duration

Author: The First Amendment Center – 1st For All

This lesson gives students a broad overview of First Amendment principles as a starting point for other lessons (for middle and high school students) that treat the subject with greater depth.A goal  is to make the First Amendment personal, to help students understand that America’s first freedoms belong to them — as they belong to everyone. Some of the ideas contained in this lesson will be suitable for all students; others are geared for more able students or for those who want to pursue independent study. Please feel free to make selections from these offerings to suit your students’ needs and interests. You may find that “First Moments” and/or Parts A, B, C and D can stand alone as shorter classroom activities.


  • The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides individuals with important personal freedoms. 
  • Throughout history, people — some well known and some not — have exercised their right to those freedoms in various ways.
  • Students also have First Amendment freedoms. The ability to express oneself and the right to be heard are essential components of freedom.
  • The First Amendment teaches us to respect the viewpoints of others and to allow others to express their views, even though we may disagree with the ideas being expressed.



The First Amendment Center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of free-expression issues, including freedom of speech, of the press and of religion, and the rights to assemble and to petition the government.