Are you required to memorize the Bill of Rights? It is sometimes difficult to match up amendments with the rights they provide. This exercise employs a memorization tool called the Number-Rhyme System.
You start by thinking up a rhyme word for each amendment number.
- One-sticky bun
- Two-big shoe
- Three-house key
- Five-bee hive
- Six-bricks and cake mix
- Eight-fishing bait
- Nine-blank line
- Ten-wooden pen
Your next step is to visualize a story that goes with the rhyming word. Think about the stories below and create a picture of each rhyming word in your mind as you read the stories.
1. AMENDMENT ONE - sticky bun
On the way to church, you grab a sticky bun. It’s so sticky it gets all over your hands and the newspaper you’re holding. It looks so good that you take a bite of it anyway, but the bun is so sticky that you can’t speak afterward.
The first amendment addresses the freedom of religion, the freedom of the press, and the freedom of speech.
2. AMENDMENT TWO - big shoe
Imagine that you’re standing in the snow, and you’re very cold. You look down to see that you have big shoes covering your feet, but you have no sleeves to cover your arms. They are bare!
The second amendment addresses the right to bear arms.
3. AMENDMENT THREE - house key
Your house had been invaded by British soldiers and they all want to have a key so they can come and go as they please.
The third amendment addresses the quartering of soldiers in homes.
4. AMENDMENT FOUR - door
Picture yourself sleeping peacefully when you are rudely awakened by a pounding at your door. You see that the police are trying to break down your door and enter forcibly.
The fourth amendment addresses the right to be secure in your home and with your private possessions—and establishes that the police cannot enter or seize property without good reason.
5. AMENDMENT FIVE - bee hive
Imagine yourself standing outside a courthouse where a bee hive is hanging from the roof. Suddenly you are stung twice by a bee.
The fifth amendment addresses your right to a trial and establishes that citizens can’t be tried twice (stung twice) for the same crime.
6. AMENDMENT SIX - bricks and cake mix
Amendment six is big enough for two words! Imagine that you’ve been arrested and locked up in a small brick building, and you’ve been confined there for a year! When you are finally able to go to trial, you are so relieved that you bake a cake and share it with the public, your lawyer, and the jury.
Amendment six establishes the right to a speedy trial, the right to compel witnesses to attend your trial, the right to have a lawyer, and the right to have a public trial.
7. AMENDMENT SEVEN - heaven
Imagine a dollar bill flying up to heaven where a winged jury sits.
The seventh amendment establishes that crimes may be treated differently if there is a small dollar amount involved. In other words, crimes involving a dispute less than $1500 can be tried in small claims court. The seventh amendment also forbids the creation of private courts—or courts other than government courts. The only court you have to worry about outside the government courts may be the one in the hereafter!
8. AMENDMENT EIGHT - fishing bait
Imagine you’ve done something wrong and now you’re forced to eat worms as punishment!
The eighth amendment protect citizens from cruel and unusual punishment.
9. AMENDMENT NINE - blank line
Imagine the Bill of Rights followed by a lot of blank lines.
The ninth amendment is a little hard to grasp, but it addresses the fact that citizens do enjoy rights that are not mentioned in the Bill of Rights—but there are too many basic rights to mention. It also means that the amendments that are listed must not infringe upon rights that are not listed.
10. AMENDMENT TEN - wooden pen
Imagine a big wooden pen surrounding each and every individual state.
The tenth amendment provides individual states with powers not held by the federal government. These powers include laws concerning schools, driver’s licenses, and marriages.
For best results:
- Say each number and its rhyming word out loud and remember how they sound to tap into your auditory learning ability.
- Get a clear mental picture (and the sillier the better) of each story to tap into your visual learning ability.
Now go through the numbers one to ten in your head and remember the rhyming word. If you remember the rhyming word, you’ll be able to remember the story and the amendment!