The Constitution

Students will learn how 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.


America's Founding Preambles

Learn how the American idea of government evolved from a revolutionary response to monarchy to a unified nation. The sources will illustrate the effort taken to reach “a more perfect union” through a close read of our founding documents.


America's Founding Preambles

Learn how the American idea of government evolved from a revolutionary response to monarchy to a unified nation. The sources will illustrate the effort taken to reach “a more perfect union” through a close read of our founding documents.


Anatomy of the Constitution

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 the role of the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. (Note: Anatomy of the Constitution now includes content previously covered by the lesson Directions for Democracy.)


Constitution Day Lesson Plan

Constitution Day is September 17, the day in 1787 when our U.S. government was born. Meet your Constitution Day education requirement with this free and engaging lesson plan. This interactive lesson gives students a quick snapshot of the Constitution, including the purpose of each article, the powers of the three branches, how a bill becomes a law, and the concepts of separation of powers and checks and balances.


The Constitution: Rules for Running a Country

This WebQuest takes you on a fast tour of our Constitution. You'll find out why it was written, how it's structured, what it does, and even how it can be changed. All the essentials are right here!

 


The Constitution: Rules for Running a Country

This WebQuest takes you on a fast tour of our Constitution. You'll find out why it was written, how it's structured, what it does, and even how it can be changed. All the essentials are right here!

 


Branches of Power
Play Time: 30+ mins
See the bigger picture and control all three branches of government!

Branches of Power
Play Time: 30+ mins
See the bigger picture and control all three branches of government!

Separation of Powers: What's for Lunch?

Students find out how the three branches of government interact with each another. Through the process of creating a healthy school lunch menu, students role-play each branch’s responsibility in the law-making process. They then compare the simulation activity to a real-life example of a bill that became law.

 


Three Branches: Laws in Action

The U.S. government is designed to make sure that no one person has all the power. Follow a law from start to finish and learn how each branch is involved!


Three Branches: Laws in Action

The U.S. government is designed to make sure that no one person has all the power. Follow a law from start to finish and learn how each branch is involved!


You've Got Rights!

(This lesson was formerly "Bill of Rights: You Mean I've Got Rights?") 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?


*NEW* Amendment Mini-Lesson

Looking for a easy and fun way to review individual rights protected in the U.S. Constitution? You have come to the right place! This mini-lesson highlights the Constitution’s amendments and new artwork from one of our fondest games, Do I Have a Right? It includes anticipation and closing activities and your choice of one or more engaging activity options! Teach your students about some of the most critical additions to our Constitution and how those additions guarantee their rights.


Do I Have a Right?
Play Time: 30+ mins
Run a law firm and show off your knowledge of constitutional rights.

Do I Have a Right?
Play Time: 30+ mins
Run a law firm and show off your knowledge of constitutional rights.

Do I Have a Right? Extension Pack

Make your students’ gameplay more meaningful by using our activity and assessment set designed specifically for Do I Have a Right?. This easy-to-use Extension Pack helps you give context and purpose to the game, as well as reinforce and assess the game concepts. That means deeper learning for students and best practices around game-centered learning for you! Extension Packs require PowerPoint and are designed for use with projectors or interactive whiteboards.  


Do I Have a Right? Extension Pack

Make your students’ gameplay more meaningful by using our activity and assessment set designed specifically for Do I Have a Right?. This easy-to-use Extension Pack helps you give context and purpose to the game, as well as reinforce and assess the game concepts. That means deeper learning for students and best practices around game-centered learning for you! Extension Packs require PowerPoint and are designed for use with projectors or interactive whiteboards.  


The "Federal" in Federalism

Students learn where the federal government gets its power and that government power in the United States is split between states and the federal government. They learn about express and implied powers, distinguish between federal powers and those reserved to the states (as well as shared powers), and contrast the federalist system of government with other choices the Founders might have made.

We suggest teaching our lesson "State Power: Got a Reservation? back-to-back with this lesson.


Power Play
Play Time: 15-30 mins
Coach a team vying for the balance of governmental powers.

Power Play
Play Time: 15-30 mins
Coach a team vying for the balance of governmental powers.

Supreme Decision
Play Time: 15-30 mins
Assist a Supreme Court Justice as she makes the deciding vote in an important case.

Supreme Decision
Play Time: 15-30 mins
Assist a Supreme Court Justice as she makes the deciding vote in an important case.

Student Expression

Does the Constitution guarantee students the right to wear whatever clothing they want to school? What if that clothing is controversial or disruptive? In this Drafting Board issue, students explore those questions and more through the lens of Ben Brewer. They must decide whether Ben’s controversial band t-shirt can be banned by Principal Carter. Whichever side they choose, students must support their claim with relevant evidence and sound reasoning. The fate of Ben and his shirt hang in the balance!


Student Expression

Does the Constitution guarantee students the right to wear whatever clothing they want to school? What if that clothing is controversial or disruptive? In this Drafting Board issue, students explore those questions and more through the lens of Ben Brewer. They must decide whether Ben’s controversial band t-shirt can be banned by Principal Carter. Whichever side they choose, students must support their claim with relevant evidence and sound reasoning. The fate of Ben and his shirt hang in the balance!


Volunteer Activity for Constitution Day

This lesson guides volunteers through a great Constitution Day class activty. 


The Constitution's Cover Letter

In 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention decided that it was time for a change. A new plan for government was outlined in the Constitution, and it was George Washington's job to present this document to Congress. As with any important document, the Constitution was delivered with a letter of introduction. Part background, part persuasion, Washington's cover letter provides a behind-the-scenes look at how a new government came to be designed.