Directions for Democracy has been updated and replaced by Anatomy of the Constitution.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.
Students will be able to:
ANTICIPATE by asking students where the government gets it’s instructions. How does Congress, the President, or federal judges know what to do? Give students a moment to think, then randomly call on students to share their thoughts.
DISTRIBUTE one “Directions for Democracy” packet to each student.
READ through page one together as a class.
DISPLAY the Breaking It Down: The Preamble transparency and explain the statement, phrase by phrase. The students should add the annotations to their reading. Also note that people living in the 1700s had different rules about capitalization than we do today.
READ page two, stopping to clarify the idea of ‘checks and balances’ with the students. Also, at the end of the reading, ask the class if they think is it easy or difficult for a proposed amendment to receive 3/4 of the states’ support.
READ page three with the class.
ASSIGN students to complete the items on the Activity page.
REVIEW their answers and discuss any problems or questions as a class. The Categorize section may have more than one ‘correct’ answer. This is a great conversation starter.
DISTRIBUTE the Bill of Rights cut-and-paste activity to the class and read through directions.
ASK students to remove the bottom half of the page, then carefully cut out each box, and paste it on top of the appropriate amendment number.
REVIEW answers to the cut-and-paste.
CLOSE by asking students to silently recall one purpose of the U.S. government, based on the Preamble. Call on students until all 6 goals discussed in the lesson have been named- without looking at the packet.