Exploring the Constitution
Constitution/Citizenship Quiz (word doc)
Quiz by Al Wilson, Creator of Pigskin and FastCar Geography.
Important Information for Teachers
Use the documents and sound files in this primary sources toolkit to help your students experience this long-ago event. Your students can view the documents, recorded notes and personal reflections of the delegates. They can read news reviews of the time. They can study a map and image of the places where these historic events occurred and can view paintings of the people involved in these events. They can view a chart, a broadside, the song lyrics and a graphical cover for a musical score. They can even listen to the words of later statesmen whose speeches record their beliefs about the duties of government and about being a U.S. citizen. http://memory.loc.gov/learn/community/WTP_toolkit/Constitution_tlkt_overview.doc
Constitution Scavenger Hunt
Happy Birthday U.S. Constitution
Constitution Day, Sept. 17
Newspaper In Education Scavenger Hunt
1 The preamble of the U.S. constitution starts with We the People of the United States..... Find examples in the newspaper of We the People working together to accomplish a worthwhile goal. Cut out pictures and place on a bulletin board. You can add to this throughout the school year.
2. Draft a constitution for your classroom. Use the newspaper to find "good" laws or rules that all classroom citizens would like to have. After the constitution is drafted (sloppy copy) go through the process of reviewing, editing, changing, etc. When the final constitution is ready, hold a classroom election to ratify (adopt) it.
3. Find examples in the newspaper of the five freedoms outlined in the first amendment of the Bill of Rights: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Assembly & Petition. Hold a classroom discussion about what each one means and how each applies to US citizens.
4. Find examples in the newspaper of countries, that do not have a constitution like ours or the freedoms that we enjoy. Make a list of these countries, the type of government they have, the name and title of the government leader, and the continent they are located on.
5. Find and list some things in the newspaper that might have been a part of the lives of the men who signed the constitution in 1787 (when the constitution was signed). Include housing, jobs, schools, libraries, government, obituaries, religion, commerce, etc.
6. Find and make a list of things that are totally different now than they would have been in 1787.
7. Hold a classroom discussion about how life has changed since 1787. Discuss how the constitution has had to change too, by way of amendments, to accommodate some of these changes.
8. Write an opinion about what you appreciate about the U.S. Constitution.
Constitution Scavenger Hunt Created by Diane Goold, NIE Director, St. Joseph News-Press
Explore these Links!
Students can explore historical documents, meet America´s founding fathers--and even add their signatures to the Declaration of Independence! http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/constitution.html
Many of the founding fathers were demanding a "bill of rights" which would protect the people from the government. This bill would guarantee individual liberties, make sure the new government didn´t treat citizens like the colonial government of Great Britain, but not everyone agreed that this bill of rights was necessary. http://score.rims.k12.ca.us/score_lessons/bill_of_rights/
Those of you looking at solid educational materials for Constition/Citizenship Day (Sept.17) should know that the Center for Civic Education has posted downloadable PDF files of lessons for students grade K-12: http://www.civiced.org/byrd/
What America´s high school students think about their freedoms: http://firstamendment.jideas.org/
Americans´ support for their First Amendment freedoms -- deeply shaken by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 -- continues to rebound and is back at pre-9/11 levels, according to the annual State of the First Amendment survey: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/news.aspx?id=13573
As you explore the "Voices for the First" Web site, you will discover the First Amendment in a whole new way... how it really affects you and your rights! The First Amendment is a protector of American Freedom. Preserving freedom is dependant on your ability to understand, value, and embrace the First Amendment: www.illinoisfirstamendmentcenter.com.
Interactive Constitution lets you search the Constitution and find relevant passages and explanations. Discover how the Constitution relates to more than 300 topics, from civil rights to school prayer, including Supreme Court decisions. http://www.constitutioncenter.org/constitution/
Centuries of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline is an interactive timeline of events marking more than 200 years of our constitutional history. These events tell the evolving story of our Constitution and the role it continues to play in our lives. http://www.constitutioncenter.org/timeline/
National Constitution Center includes lessons on the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, electoral process, executive branch, separation of powers, war making, freedom of speech, Founding Fathers, and suffrage. "Teaching with Current Events" features news stories related to the Constitution, discussion starters for current events, and differing perspectives by commentators and elected officials. http://www.constitutioncenter.org/education/WelcomeEducatorsandStudents/index.shtml
The Federalist Papers offers the 85 essays urging New Yorkers to ratify the proposed Constitution. First published in New York City newspapers, the essays explained how the new government would work and why it was right for the U.S. Written by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, the essays are often used today to help interpret the intentions of the Founding Fathers. http://thomas.loc.gov/home/histdox/fedpapers.html
To Form a More Perfect Union examines the role of the Continental Congress--how it managed the war for independence, served as a symbol of national unity, incorporated the western territories, managed relations with Native Americans, identified defects in the Articles of Confederation, and created the Constitution.
In Congress Assembled: Continuity and Change in the Governing of the United States provides lesson plans on the Constitution, Bill of Rights, issues that confronted the first Congress, and broadsides from the Continental Congress calling for special days of thanksgiving and remembrance. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpedu/lessons/constitu/conintro.html
If you need a reason to bring the First Amendment into classrooms...here are three: http://www.teachfirstamendment.org