Law and Individual Rights

Course Syllabus

Mr. Krieger

Ipswich High School

2021-2022 School Year


Course Overview
In this course, we  will explore the American legal system and survey rights included in the Bill of Rights.  Using the U.S. Constitution as a foundation, students will investigate landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases related to subjects found in the Bill of Rights.  Coursework will emphasize individual rights and the influence laws have on our world today.  Students will gain a greater understanding of the inner workings of our legal system through a wide array of activities and lessons.   We will debate Supreme Court decisions, experience mock trial settings, and discuss the scope and meaning of the Constitution as it affects our daily lives.  Topics for the course include gun rights/gun control, religion freedoms, questions of free speech, civil rights, and other matters facing the United States in current times.  The course includes a capstone project, the Government Action Plan (GAP).  We will work collaboratively to define a problem, propose, build and implement a solution strategy, and communicate the results to our broader community.  Students may take this course for College Prep. or Honors credit. 

Below are the units for our course:

Unit I

Unit II

Unit III

Unit IV

Introduction to the U.S. Supreme Court & the First Amendment

Equal Protection Under the Law

Freedom of the Press

Rights of Privacy

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Grading Policy

Your final grade for this course will be determined based on the following formula:



Classroom Contribution


Assignments and overall grades will be based on a points system.  Prior to each assignment, you will know the total available points.  The grade will be based on the following calculation:    Total Points Earned Total Possible Points


Maximum Points



Current Events


Reading Quiz


Unit Test


Unit Project


Other Assignments1


1For other assignments, such as in-class work, research in the library, or special projects, you will be made aware of the possible points when the assignment begins. 

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Homework & Assignments
Homework is an important part of this course.  The homework is meant to enhance our work in the classroom.  Completing the homework will help you understand the subject matter and, hopefully, make it more interesting.  You will be better prepared for class discussions, other assignments, and tests or quizzes.  Likewise, you will have the opportunity to participate in many activities. These activities will range from group presentations to individual projects. I hope that the assignments will be engaging and enable you to demonstrate your expertise in the field of constitutional law. Successfully completing and handing-in all of the homework and assignments will improve your grade for the course.

1. Homework/assignments are due at the beginning of class or when collected.

2. Late homework/assignments will not be accepted unless you have an excused absence.

3. You are responsible for obtaining homework/assignments if you are absent.

4. You are responsible for submitting late homework/assignments if you are absent.

5. Homework will be evaluated using the following rubric:



10 Homework shows excellent effort and the work is fully completed
5 Homework shows acceptable effort and the work is mostly completed
0 Homework shows minimal effort or is not submitted when due

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Classroom Contribution -- Sliding Scale

Classroom contribution will be included as part of your quarterly grade.  classroom contribution will represent 15% of the quarterly grade.  

The rubric below outlines the grading criteria:



A+ (100%) Truly exceptional leadership and participation in the classroom by demonstrating an outstanding work ethic, complete focus when working independently, adds significantly to the culture of the class, and willingly goes beyond to bring material from outside the classroom into discussions and the learning environment.
A (95%) Excellent participation in class discussions, often asks thought provoking questions, willingly works with other students during classroom activities, excellent attitude, and/or shows extensive effort towards creating a positive atmosphere in the classroom.
B (85%) Substantial participation in class discussions, usually works well with other students during classroom activities, excellent attitude, and/or shows substantial effort towards creating a positive classroom atmosphere.
C (75%) Acceptable participation in class discussions, sometimes works well with other students during classroom activities, and/or meets some expectations with attitude and contribution to the classroom environment.
D (68%) Rarely or never participates in class discussions, negative attitude, and/or is disruptive in class.
F (25%) Rarely or never participates in class discussions, is disruptive in class, does not engage in group projects, and/or is not part of the "class environment."



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Attendance and classroom contribution are important aspects of the course. Participating in class advances your knowledge of the material and enables other students to learn from you. Class sessions are also meant to supplement homework and individual research rather than replace or repeat your readings.

Please refer to the Ipswich High School Student-Parent Handbook for the attendance policy and the effects absences has on grades. 

It is the student's responsibility to provide documentation for any absences. College visits must receive prior administrative approval to be considered for a waiver. Please note that voluntary student absences (vacations, family trips, etc.) will not be considered for appeal and will count towards a student's total absences for the year. Students are allowed to make up work missed during their absence; however, it should be noted that only individually completed work assignments, quizzes, or tests can be made up. Class participation, collaboration with one’s peers, and interaction with the teacher, from which much knowledge and growth occurs, are all important learning activities that are impossible to make up.


An important note about field trips


Field trips are valuable components of a course curriculum. Throughout the quarter, it may be necessary for you to miss our class session(s) to attend field trips. Please note that you are responsible for notifying me AT LEAST TWO DAYS IN ADVANCE OF A FIELD TRIP if you are going to be absent. Also, if you are working on a group project you are responsible for notifying your team members that you will be absent.


If you fail to provide prior notification (AT LEAST TWO SCHOOL DAYS) of a field trip and are absent for a presentation, group work, or the due date of an assignment, you grade will be reduced.


An important note about family vacations


Family vacations must be approved PRIOR to your absence.  Please be prepared to provide approval in writing from the main office.  While I will provide assistance, advanced assignments are not guaranteed.  Make-up work must be submitted in accordance with the policies included in the IHS handbook.  


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Honors Contract
Students may take Law and Individual Rights for honors credit by signing an Honors Contract.
Students who participate in an honors contract should:

  • participate regularly in class discussions,

  • display a high level of critical thinking during class discussions,

  • complete all assignments with an excellent level of quality written and oral work,

  • demonstrate the ability to work independently and as a member of team, and,

  • collaborate with other students to produce work that exceeds expectations.

If you are interested in taking the course for honors credit, please note the following deadline:  

Honors Contracts Due by the start of class on Friday,  September 10.

Once you sign and submit the Honors Contract, you may not drop the Honors Contract.

Students who do not submit an honors contract by the due date will not be eligible to take the course for honors credit.  The due date is posted on the Assignments/Topic page.