Free 8th Grade Voting Rights Amendments Lesson Plan (Social Studies)

Topic: Voting Rights Amendments

Objectives & Outcomes

  • Students will be able to explain the purpose of the Voting Rights Amendments and how they helped minorities gain the right to vote.


  • Copies of the Voting Rights Amendments for each student
  • Handouts with information about the history of voting rights protections in the US
  • Colored pencils or markers for students to use for note-taking


  • Begin the lesson by asking students if they are familiar with the history of voting rights in the US.
  • Ask them to name some of the important milestones in this history, such as the Fifteenth Amendment (1870), which gave African Americans the right to vote, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited discrimination in voting.
  • Point out that while these milestones were important steps forward, they did not ensure that all minorities had equal access to the ballot. In some cases, laws were still in place that made it difficult for minorities to vote.
  • Ask students if they can think of any examples of policies or practices that might have prevented minorities from voting. Write their ideas on the board.
  • Encourage students to brainstorm and make a list of any obstacles that minorities might have faced when trying to vote.
  • As a class, review the list of obstacles and discuss their implications.

Direct Instruction

  • Explain that in the 1970s, Congress decided to take additional action to protect the voting rights of minorities. They passed a series of amendments to the Voting Rights Act, which are sometimes referred to as the "Voting Rights Amendments." These amendments provide stronger protections against discrimination in voting, including new procedures for challenging laws that may be discriminatory and stronger enforcement mechanisms.
  • Review the key provisions of the Voting Rights Amendments, including the requirement that certain jurisdictions with a history of discrimination must receive pre-clearance from the Department of Justice (DOJ) before making changes to their voting laws.
  • Discuss the importance of these provisions in protecting the rights of minorities to vote.

Guided Practice

  • Divide the class into small groups and give each group a scenario of a possible voting rights violation. Have the groups discuss the issue and come up with a recommendation for how to resolve it, using the provisions of the Voting Rights Amendments as a guide.
  • Bring the class back together and discuss the different scenarios and recommendations that the groups came up with.

Independent Practice

  • Have students research a specific voting rights violation that occurred after the passage of the Voting Rights Amendments and write a brief report on it. The report should include information on how the violation was resolved, and how the provisions of the Voting Rights Amendments played a role in the resolution.


  • Review the key provisions of the Voting Rights Amendments and discuss how they helped protect the voting rights of minorities.
  • Ask students to reflect on the importance of voting rights and the role of the judiciary in protecting them.
  • Encourage students to be active participants in elections and to be aware of any voting rights violations in their communities.


  • Observe students during the independent practice activity and provide feedback on their understanding of the Voting Rights Amendments and their ability to apply their knowledge to a current event.
  • Evaluate the presentations or written reports from the independent practice activity to assess understanding and ability to apply knowledge.

Create amazing lesson
plans 10X faster with AI.

Use AI to instantly generate high-quality lesson plans in seconds

Try NOW!