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Colonial Elementary Fifth Graders Dive Into Judicial System

The bankruptcy court in action.
The bankruptcy court in action. Photo Credit: Contributed

PELHAM, N.Y. -- Colonial Elementary School fifth grade classes visited the U.S. Federal Bankruptcy Court in Brooklyn to put weeks of preparation around each of the three branches of government into action with The Constitution Works.

Through fact patterns, students are introduced to relevant constitutional issues and they take on a role in determining the outcome. In the culminating “role play” activity at the courthouse, Eastern District, students have the opportunity to assume the role of attorney or Supreme Court Justice in a First Amendment case, a Senator applying the 14th Amendment to debate a bill, or a presidential advisor developing a proposal with constitutional implications.

Colonial students dove into Denver Dispatch v. United States, a freedom of the press case that involved a local newspaper that printed the first article of a five part series about a secret biological weapons research plant. The government wants to stop further publication of the articles because it feels that the articles could jeopardize the safety of the nation. The students had to decide is that was a First Amendment violation.

Piera Hattar, Ron Martucci, and Principal Tonya Wilson along with Pelham’s Director of Humanities Maria Thompson and many parents accompanied the students.

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