Students will learn how and why our Constitution was created and what some of its key characteristics are. They will also explore key amendments to the Constitution and their application in protecting citizens' rights.
Students learn how the American colonists grew used to governing themselves and became increasingly unhappy with British policies toward the colonies. Students follow the development of those policies to see why the colonists ultimately declared independence from Britain in order to establish their own government. Finally, students analyze the Declaration of Independence to see how it addressed the colonists' concerns. As an extension, students look at primary sources to see how the colonists' reaction to the Stamp Act was being reported in London.
Students learn how the U.S. Constitution came to exist by looking at the tensions and differences of opinion that existed among early American states and citizens. Students learn about the Articles of Confederation, why the first “constitution” didn’t work, and how compromise led to the Constitution.
Note: this lesson includes an optional PowerPoint presentation (see Lesson Prep below).
American colonists had some strong ideas about what they wanted in a government. These ideas surface in colonial documents, and eventually became a part of the founding documents like the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. But where did they come from? This lesson looks at the Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, English Bill of Rights, Cato’s Letters and Common Sense.
Directions for Democracy has been updated and replaced by Anatomy of the Constitution.
This lesson introduces the Constitution of the United States. Students will interpret the intentions of the Preamble, explain the organization of the U.S. government, and identify the rights protected in the Bill of Rights.
This lesson gives an article-by-article overview of the structure and function of the U.S. Constitution. Students learn about the duties and powers of the three branches, the amendment process and role of the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. Anatomy of the Constitution now includes content previously covered by the lesson Directions for Democracy.
If you’ve seen one constitution, have you seen them all? Compare and contrast the provisions of the U.S. Constitution alongside the state constitutions of Florida and Virginia. Find common ways in which state constitutions differ from (and are similar to) the U.S. Constitution, and take a closer look at your own state constitution.
Students learn about the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and other important constitutional amendments. First they consider what rights they believe are important, then they read and analyze the real text of each amendment. This lesson also helps students analyze the impact that the Bill of Rights has on their daily lives. Completing this lesson prepares students to play the game Do I Have a Right?
In Do I Have A Right?, you’ll run your own firm of lawyers who specialize in constitutional law.
Students learn that the rights in the Bill of Rights have no exact definition and are open to interpretation (by the Supreme Court, of course). Students look at real-life cases involving the 8th and 5th amendments and see whether they come to the same conclusion about each case as the Supreme Court did.
Note: this lesson includes two optional PowerPoint presentations (see Lesson Prep below).
Ever tried to win a disagreement? In Argument Wars, you will try out your persuasive abilities by arguing a real Supreme Court case.
You will learn about how our Constitution was created, some of the most important things it has in it, and how it can be changed. You might also find out something about how the Constitution affects YOU.