The United States Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. he decisions and opinions issued from its bench have a profound affect on our laws and society. It is important to have basic background knowledge of the history of the Court, how it works, and some of the more important opinions it has issued. In this webquest you will work with a group to build that background knowledge so you can become a more informed citizen.
Task You have been asked to create a brochure about the United States Supreme Court. This brochure will be used in a civics class that new immigrants take in order to become citizens.
You will be teamed in groups of two-three: (may need to adjust roles according to group size) One person in your group will research the history of the court and other important info. One person in your group will research the current court and find definitions for some important terms dealing with the judicial branch of government. One person in your group will research two landmark cases and show how the Court influences American life.
You will use Internet sources to find this information. You will also be constructing a bibliography to properly cite the sources where you found your information.
History and Other Important Facts Researcher Your role is to research and gather information about the history of the Supreme Court. You will also be gathering other important facts about the Court. You should find information on the following items: (NOTE: You should not limit yourself to answering only these questions. As you conduct your research, you will come across some interesting facts. Jot them in your notes, too!)
* When did the Supreme Court first meet? * How many Justices sit on the Supreme Court? * The top Justice has what title? * How long is a Justice's term? * How does someone become a Supreme Court Justice? * What are some interesting facts/things about the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.? * When does a session of the Supreme Court start and in what month does it end? * About how many cases are sent to the Court? Of those, about how many cases do the Justices hear in a year? * How many Justices have to agree to hear a case appealed to them? * After the Justices agree to hear a case, what are the next two steps?
Current Court and Terminology Researcher Your role is to research the current Supreme Court. You will also be finding definitions of important Supreme Court-related terminology. (Remember, you will have to write the definitions in a way that new immigrants would be able to understand them clearly, so be sure YOU understand them!) You should find information on the following items:
* Who are the current Supreme Court Justices? * Where is each Justice from? (home state) * Which ones had been judges on other courts? * How long have they served on the Court? * Which President nominated them to be on the Court? * Who is the current Chief Justice? * Define the following terms:
Landmark Case Researcher Your role is to research two landmark Supreme Court Cases. After you do your research, you should be able to:
* summarize the case in your own words * tell the date that the case was argued before the Supreme Court * summarize the Court's decision in your own words * tell what the vote was on the case * tell why was this case important * tell what groups of people do you think this decision really affected
Choose two cases from the list below to research. Inform Ms. Mendoza of your choices.
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) Schenck v. United States (1919) [civil rights] [free speech]
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) Roe v. Wade (1973) [civil rights] [abortion]
Board of Education, Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982) [book banning in schools]
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) [right to counsel]
Texas v. Johnson (1989) [flag burning]
Miranda v. Arizona (1966) [rights of the accused]
Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) [Slavery, Due Process, the Missouri Compromise]
Korematsu v. United States (1944) [Japanese Internment, Equal Protection]
Regents of the U. of California v. Bakke (1978) [Affirmative Action, Equal Protection]
Mapp v. Ohio (1961) [Exclusionary Rule, Due Process]
Process 1. Research each part individually. 2. Meet as a group to share what you have learned. 3. Synthesize your information by creating a brochure for the new immigrants in their civics class
* each person in the group is responsible for their section of the brochure * make sure it is written so a new immigrant could easily understand it (should be typed or written in pen on paper supplied by the teacher) * the group is responsible for any remaining parts of the brochure (title, pictures, etc.) * you will receive construction paper from the teacher
4. Create a bibliography citing all of the sources your group used to do its research.
* the bibliography should be completed on a separate sheet of paper (APA-style) * don't forget to alphabetize your entries * be sure you have correct spacing, indentation
These websites are suggestions, feel free to use other online resources, as long as they are credible. Remember to cite in text. Lack of citations will result in a zero for the webquest as it will be assumed to have been plagiarized.