Picture BookFirst, I love the book I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark. Additionally, this book is geared for kids 4 - 8 years, or preschool through grade 3. To illustrate, here is what the manufacturer says about the story: Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—in the first picture book about her life—as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable! Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what’s right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG, tells the justice’s story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements. To be sure, this book is the perfect way to introduce kids to RGB and make them want to learn more about her! In addition, be sure to check out this fabulous lesson plan that goes with the book!
Video LessonNext, this lesson on Ruth Bader Ginsberg from PBS is perfect for students in grades 6-12. Although you can see the whole lesson here (which has additional links and information), I have also included it in this post so you can have everything in one place.
Part 1First, read the following summary with your child (or students):
Summary: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who long stood for women’s rights issues and became the court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington D.C. Ginsburg died at the age of 87 of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. She was known for her defense of women’s rights and rights of minorities through her many years as a civil rights lawyer before taking a position on the Supreme Court in 1993. Ginsburg was often at odds with the court’s more conservative members such as the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision, which ended the vote count in Florida, and effectively led to George W. Bush’s presidential victory.
One of Ginsburg’s most significant majority opinions included the 1996 ruling that ordered the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) to accept women or lose federal funding. During Ginsburg’s time on the bench, the court declared it unconstitutional for states to execute the intellectually disabled and those who were younger than 18-years-old at the time they committed murder.
Justice Ginsburg’s death just over six weeks before the presidential election has placed a key spotlight on the court’s vacancy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly promised to bring to a vote President Donald Trump’s nominee. McConnell refused to bring Justice Merrick Garland’s nomination under then-President Barack Obama almost a full year before the 2016 presidential election. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden disagreed, stating that “voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice to consider.”
Part 2Next, show the following video.
Part 3Last, have your children or students respond to the following questions: Warm-up questions:
- Who was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg?
- What accomplishments was Ruth Bader Ginsburg most known for?
- Where and when did Ginsburg serve as a justice?
- Why is Ginsburg’s death significant to many Americans?
- How might Ginsburg’s death affect the 2020 presidential election?
- How could you find out more about Ginsburg’s life?
- Why do you so many young women in particular admired Ginsburg?
- Who do you think should nominate the next Supreme Court Justice? Explain.
- What types of news stories about Ginsburg’s life are you most interested in reading about?
- Where would you look to understand Ginsburg’s opinions as a justice and impact on law and constitutional questions?
Learning ActivitiesFinally, here are a variety of activities to help children learn about Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
- First, this Ruth Bader Ginsburg Mini Biography Unit for grades 2-4 includes short reading passages, organizers, interactive notebook foldable activities, writing activities, posters, video links, and more.
- Another great lesson for younger children is this Ruth Bader Ginsburg Guided Picture Book Read Aloud. This guided read-aloud is focused on the picture book, Ruth Bader Ginsberg The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality.
- Next, here is a movie guide for grades 7-12 that goes with On the Basis fo Sex Movie Guide (2018) The Story of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The guide contains 55 questions and an answer key.
- Finally, this RBG - Editable Movie Viewing Guide and Accompanying Activities is great for grades 9-12. The resource contains:
- Movie viewing guide
- Answer key
- Pre-viewing building background activities, and
- Post-viewing discussion questions as well as projects.