“I really like your units. They are detailed and allows for critical thinking on the part of the students. Thank you!”
The end of the Revolutionary War did not create the United States; rather, it created 13 independent, sovereign states loosely affiliated under the Articles of Confederation. It took a series of economic, foreign policy and domestic crises to convince the country’s political elite to subordinate the independence of the states to a newly created, stronger national government. Their efforts would lead to the creation of the United States Constitution, an imperfect yet hardy and adaptive model of government that has continued to guide our republic today.
This 18 day complete unit covers the creation and ratification of the Constitution, closely examines the system of checks and balances upon which the government is based, and engages students in a thorough analysis of the Bill of Rights – both by examining Court cases interpreting them and by applying their principles to hypothetical situations. In this unit students will learn the history of the Constitution’s creation, its theoretical underpinnings, and engage in a variety of critical thinking exercises as junior constitutional lawyers. At the unit’s conclusion, students will have a deep understanding both of how our government works as well as their rights as citizens of our republic.
This unit is based upon and complements my textbook “We Take Nothing by Conquest”
, and is designed for both the novice and experienced classroom teacher as it contains everything needed for the full course. These materials – all of which have been battle-tested in the crucible of my own 8th grade classroom - include:
*an 83 page Teacher’s Guide which provides day-by-day and step-by-step instructions how to teach the unit and use all of the materials;
*38 pages of informative and interesting text, divided into five chapters (the complete sixth unit of the textbook);
*an inquiry based study guide for each chapter to focus students on the main points and supporting details;
*quizzes for each chapter;
*PowerPoints with answers to the study guides for review, and including pictures and maps to stimulate discussion and enhance understanding;
*a Cloze activity for one chapter;
*a primary source document activity examining the Federalist Papers;
*a variety of Checks and Balances in-class activities and homework sheets to reinforce understanding of our system of government, including a Quiz Show PowerPoint;
*a series of critical thinking and analytical exercises concerning the practical and theoretical application of the Bill of Rights – in effect, students get to practice “thinking like a lawyer;”
*a PowerPoint Quiz Show review game;
*a test prep study guide;
* a unit test on the Constitution and Checks and Balances;
*and a take-home test on the Bill of Rights, in which students analyze how the Bill of Rights would apply to a hypothetical case – in effect, students analyze the case as Constitutional lawyers.
Answer keys and grading guides for all study guides, activities, quizzes, and tests are included in the Teacher’s Guide. Materials are provided as word documents and PDFs in one zip file.
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