Fifth-Graders Know Their Rights


The fifth-graders in Art Hood's class at Pine Strawberry Elementary School know the Bill of Rights better than most adults.

Through questions and answers injected with historical facts, Hood holds the 10 and 11 year olds' interest in the hour before lunch.


Brandon Warren began learning amendments six through 10 of the U.S. Bill of Rights along with his classmates at Pine Strawberry Elementary School.

"What is number two about?" Hood asked.

"You should have a good, well-trained Army and the right to use firearms," Anthony Nunez said.

"No," Hood said.

"The right to have firearms," Nunez corrected himself. "What kind of firearms can you have?"

As a student begins to answer, it becomes an opportunity for students to learn that answering a question is also about listening.

"Oh, you can have handguns," Anthony Magliano said.

"What kind of rifles can you have?" Hood asked.

A .22 rifle and a double-barreled shotgun like those used for deer hunting are among the answers.

"Arizona has a mountain men association that are allowed to have black powder rifles," Hood said.

"What are those?" Sprinkle asked.

"Black powder rifles are like those used in the Revolutionary War," Hood said. "They had black powder pistols, too."

The pirates in the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean" used black powder guns, Hood tells his class. Questions and answers continue rapidly and the pupils are clearly engaged.

"Which number has to deal with search and seizure? In other words, the government cannot come into your house without permission," Hood said.

Which number of the Bill of Rights has to do with a reporter's occupation, Hood asked.

Sarah Sprinkle's hand shot up and he nodded to her. "It's the first, freedom of speech," she said.

"Yes, it is freedom of speech in a way, but the first amendment is also for freedom of the press.

"They can print the things they feel are right and if you don't like what they are printing you don't buy their newspaper."

"Then which bill has to do with using your house as a hotel for soldiers?"

"Number three," said Lanie Brogdon.

The class was up to the fourth amendment of the Bill of Rights at the interview time for this article and was in the process of memorizing the Preamble to the Constitution.

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