Lessons Developed with the National Constitution Center
Argument: In this lesson, students will encounter some differing and subtle interpretations of the amendments in the Bill of Rights. They will be asked to consider these perspectives as they develop their own arguments considering historic Supreme Court cases and their own interpretations of the law. They will then be asked to develop a complete argument in essay form that considers different perspectives. Leader’s Notes (.pdf/1.59MB), Student Handbooks (.pdf/1.1MB), and handouts (.pdf/1.11MB) are available for your use.
Precision of Language: In this lesson, students will encounter historic drafts of the amendments in the Bill of Rights and examine how some of the revisions in those drafts may have affected the later interpretation of those amendments. Once students have a more developed understanding of the role of revision in clarifying a text, they will work with their own texts to do the same. Leader's Notes (.pdf/1.46MB), Student Handbooks (.pdf/1.1MB), and handouts (.pdf/1.11MB) are available for your use.
The two synthesis essay questions below are examples of the question type that has been one of the three free-response questions on the AP English Language and Composition Exam as of the May 2007 exam. The synthesis question asks students to synthesize information from a variety of sources to inform their own discussion of a topic. Students are given a 15-minute reading period to accommodate the additional reading required for the question.
Below is a sample synthesis essay question, sample scoring guidelines, comments from the Chief Reader about the sample student essays, seven sample student responses, and scoring commentary for each sample.
Approximately 300 AP English Language and Composition students from eight schools in New York, Maine, Texas, Tennessee, Washington, Florida, and New Mexico wrote responses to this synthesis topic. Students from these schools were given a 15-minute reading period followed by a 40-minute writing period in which to complete the sample synthesis assignment.
An additional sample synthesis essay question is provided here.