Constitution Day is a time for reflection and learning that focuses upon the legacy left by our forefathers who constructed the most influential document in American history. As educators, Constitution Day provides an opportunity to develop the habits of good citizenship, democracy, and responsible leadership in our upcoming generation.
Constitution Day is for Every Student
In honor of Constitution Day, all educational institutions receiving federal funding are required to hold an educational program pertaining to the U.S. Constitution. All students in the Thompson School District will engage in teacher-developed lessons addressing grade-level appropriate concepts aligned with civic education, our government framework, and the historical and current implications of our nation’s Constitution.
There are a many great resources available to students to learn about the Constitution in our school and classroom libraries. However, some of the most engaging resources are found on the Internet as developed by national foundations dedicated to this cause.
The National Constitution Day Center
The National Constitution Center is the first and only nonprofit, nonpartisan institution devoted to the U.S. Constitution and its legacy of freedom. Located two blocks from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in Historic Philadelphia, the Center illuminates constitutional ideals and inspires active citizenship as a state-of-the-art museum, a civic education hub and a national town hall. A wide range of resources are available to both teachers and students at the elementary, middle and high school level. Students can take turns taking the quiz, Which Founder are You? and see which founder they are most like. Or, students can take a sample Naturalization Test and learn what it takes to become an American citizen. Fun and educationally strong games can be accessed at the National Constitution Day Center as well. The Bill of Rights Game engages elementary-aged students in a simulation to reconstruct the Bill of Rights and find the missing freedoms. Interactive videos like the Constitution Hall Pass engage students in deepening their understanding of United State’s great “experiment with democracy” After interacting with the video, students are prompted to discuss the following questions:
- How is the United States “an experiment in democracy?” How is it like a swinging pendulum?
- What’s the meaning of “No taxation without representation,” and why did the colonists feel so strongly about it?
- Who was the Father of the Constitution? How did he help shape the Presidency? Who else helped shape the Presidency?
- What is the Electoral College, and why does it exist? How does it work?
- Can you name some famous Presidents from history who had an impact on the office?
The Center for Civic Education
The Center for Civic Education is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to fostering the development of informed, responsible participation in civic life by citizens committed to the values and principles fundamental to American constitutional democracy. The Center offers a wide range of curricular materials, teacher trainings, community-based programs, and other free resources including the National Standards for Civics & Government.
Their website hosts various lesson plans developmentally appropriate for Kindergarten through High School students. The Matching Game introduces kindergarten students to the Constitution. Students participate and learn what the Constitution is and what it does for them. They learn key images related to the Constitution and its history. In their lesson, What Basic Ideas about Government Are Included in the Preamble to the Constitution, is appropriate for 5th and 6th grade students. This lesson explores some of the ideas in the Preamble to the Constitution. Students read the Preamble and develop definitions for the six key phrases in the document. Finally, To Amend or Not to Amend, That’s Been the Question is a lesson designed for 9th and 10th grade students. This lesson asks students to examine recent proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution, analyze them for public policy triggering mechanisms, and compare and contrast them to amendments that have been ratified.
Free Constitution Day resources have been assembled by certified teacher librarians and hosted on the Colorado Department of Education.
We hope these prove valuable to librarians, teachers, faculty and the general public, any group creating an exciting commemoration. Some of the materials are bookmarks, lesson plans, links to the Bill of Rights and Constitution, games for youngsters, bibliographies, and lots more. Visit the pages below for free materials for you to download and copy as well as links to additional items.
Other Great Resources
And, as you may also know, all educational institutions that receive federal funding from the US Department of Education are required to honor this key historical event with educational program pertaining to the Constitution.
The official, federal Constitution Day! website is packed with resources as well. This resource bank was compiled by the National Constitution Center. The National Archives has also compiled a resource bank of excellent materials.
I really like what the State of California has compiled for their Constitution Day resource bank. They have a good collection of resources developmentally appropriate materials by grade K-12. They link to a copy of the Constitution written in Spanish that is helpful.
- K-1 Coloring Books: Kinder & 1st Grade
- Junior Achievement Lesson Plans: K-2; 3-5
- Books for Read Alouds
- Kinder - “Orb & Effy Learn About Authority”
- 1st & 2nd - “What is Authority”
- 3rd & 4th - “What Basic Ideas Are in the Preamble to the Constitution?”
- 5th & 6th - “What Basic Ideas About Government Are Included in the Preamble to the Constitution?”
- School House Rock - “I’m Just a Bill”