To understand the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation and the reasons for writing a new constitution for the United States.
1 and 1/2 class periods
You can begin this lesson by reading with the class the introductory paragraphs about the Critical Period.
This is followed by a section on the Articles of Confederation. Students read an outline and underline or highlight the weaknesses in this plan of government.
Next, there is series of yes/no questions about events that did or did not occur during the Critical Period, along with a Thought Question to develop critical thinking skills.
For homework, three sections entitled Land Ordinance of 1785, Northwest Ordinance, and Constitutional Convention can be assigned. This involves some reading and follow-up questions, some of which are based on a diagram that shows the way Western lands were to be divided and sold.
The lesson concludes with each student completing a writing assignment (100-150 words) during which they pretend to be an American citizen living in Boston, MA, in 1787. They have decided to write a letter to the editor of the Boston Gazette to convince other people of the need to have a new constitution. More details are provided on the lesson pages.
Easy-to-follow Teacher Instructions and answer key included, along with a 20-question follow up quiz to measure student progress. The quiz can also be given as a homework assignment.