Education Technology

NCSS: Case Summaries

Published on 07/19/2006

Activity Overview

Students will review case summaries and opinions. Working in small groups, they will vote whether or not they are in agreement with the Court's majority decision. Each group will write a majority, concurring, and/or dissenting opinion.

Before the Activity

See the attached Activity PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity.

Print the appropriate pages from the Activity for your class.

Install the and NoteFolio(tm) App on the students' graphing calculators following the attached instructions.

Review the role of the Supreme Court in hearing cases on appeal. Review how the Supreme Court may interpret the Constitution in deciding cases. Also, review the responses from the previous activity before explaining today's activity. You may want to review the definitions of majority opinion, dissenting opinion, and concurring opinion before starting the activity. Divide the class into small work groups of five students.

During the Activity

  • Distribute the appropriate pages from the Activity to your class
  • Distribute the NoteFolio(tm) file(s) to your class using TI Connect(tm) and the appropriate TI Connectivity cable
  • Follow the procedures outlined in the Activity


  • Students will:
  • Describe the processes of the Supreme Court as outlined by the U.S. Constitution.
  • Analyze Supreme Court decisions to determine the merits of each case.
  • Compare the influence of society and historical period on two Supreme Court decisions that deal with the same topic.
  • Evaluate the effect of one Supreme Court decision on society and his/her life in particular.
  • After the Activity

    Debrief with the class the different methods the groups used to arrive at their respective positions. Point out the aspects of each case that were taken under consideration. In preparation for the assessment activity, allow students time to search the following Web sites for Supreme Court decisions that have impacted their lives:

  • http://www.oyez.org/oyez/portlet/topCases
  • http://www.supremecourtus.gov
  • http://www.landmarkcases.org
  • http://www.finlaw.com/casecode/supreme.html