Chapter 1 Activity: Petition

Click here to print out the petition

Invite your students to read the preamble to the Declaration of Independence and part of the Bill of Rights to a group of students outside the school, in the cafeteria or in a classroom.  Have them ask for signatures on the petition. 

Debrief the signature gathering activity.  Ask what kind of reactions they got when they read the preamble. 

Did the other students know what it was?  Did anyone think it was "subversive" or dangerous as people thought when John Patrick Hunter conducted this activity in 1951? 

Was it difficult to get signatures?  Why or why not?  Who was the first person to sign?  Once one person had signed, was it easier to get more signatures?  Can any conclusions be drawn about the age, gender or other characteristics of students who signed or who refused to sign? 

Copyright 2006, ACLU of Massachusetts