How we use this in the classroom:
Constitution Day is celebrated every September 17th, and while it may not be as well-known as other holidays, it is every bit as important.
The United States Constitution is the backbone and the foundation on which this country was built. It was created by men who were not perfect, but together, put down on paper the ideals which we today should strive for in our everyday lives. They created a document that has stood for over 200 years, not because it was created perfectly then, but because it was created to grow and change, just as the country has done.
Because it was written by adults, sometimes the language can seem a bit intimidating for students, so a part of this resource focuses on breaking down what those larger words mean. This will make the lofty language of the document more accessible to your students. If you’re looking for a great read aloud to go with this, try We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States by David Catrow. It has cute pictures and an easy way of explaining what some of these concepts mean.
The Constitution is also a very weighty document, so we tried to create resources for different parts, so you could pick and choose what makes sense for your classroom. You could also use part of the resource for other lessons. We have activities for the Preamble, Articles 1-3, and the Bill of Rights.
The following activities are included:
--Guided Notes (BrainPop) – The BrainPop video for the U.S. Constitution is only 4 minutes long and it has a lot of great information. It is more suited for upper-elementary students, but you can be the judge for your classroom. This handout is a guide that follows the flow of the video and has important points for the students to pay attention to. Some of the responses are written and some are fill in the blank. Students could do this individually, in partners, groups, or even whole-class.
--Open-ended questions – These questions can be given to students after the BrainPop video has been shown. The questions make the students think a little deeper about the information they have just heard in the video.
--Preamble Word Meaning
-------Notes – The words to the preamble have been broken down into small key phrases and there are student friendly definitions
-------Game – The phrases and meanings have been put onto small cards for matching games or a game of Memory.
-------Quiz – The phrases and meanings have been turned into a matching quiz format.
--Write Your Own Preamble – This resource might be a bit difficult for some students, but it can be done in groups or even whole-class. Using the outline of the words found in the Preamble, students can create their own Preamble for their classroom. You could pick an ideal or trait you wish to focus on in the classroom and guide student responses to build toward that goal. There is also a scroll included if students wish to write a final draft.
--Word Searches – There are two word searches included – one with words from the Preamble and one with ideas surrounding the Constitution itself.
--Bill of Rights Notes page – This chart is included for students to take notes about the amendments included in the Bill of Rights.
--Quotes – There are 4 quotes from historical figures that have been chosen for students to discuss and dissect. There are two formats to choose from. In the first format, the students read the quote, discuss it or think about what it means, and then write about its meaning. In the second format, we have chosen some of the quotes to stand apart because they lend themselves to great visual representations. Once the students have discussed the quotes and their meanings, you might let them draw what the quotes look like visually. You can have the students bring the quotes’ meaning to life through images.
--Freedom Posters – Sometimes it helps to let students think in terms of pictures rather than always using words. So we have included some poster formats for children to show what freedom looks like to them. There is even a poster format which includes a small space for writing –these would be great for a bulletin board!
There are so many different ways to incorporate the activities included in this resource. We hope y’all enjoy!
If you enjoyed this resource, check out some of our others!
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