Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Resources for Learning and Teaching on Constitution Day

By Nina Kendall

Constitution Day will soon be upon us. The annual observation of the adoption of the United States Constitution is a chance for teachers to share with students the importance of America’s founding documents. It is never too early to start showing students the rights they have as citizens and the role the government plays in their lives. What do you plan to do? If you are still looking for a few options for your social studies classroom, check out our suggestions.

Tests of  Enduring Principles

Explore Abraham Lincoln’s Crossroads

Use the flash-based exhibit at the National Constitution Center to explore the political decisions of Abraham Lincoln. Compare your decisions with this talking Lincoln and deeply examine his struggles.

A More Perfect Union

Learn about Japanese Internment and the struggle for Civil Rights at the Smithsonian’s A More Perfect Union Web exhibit. Here you can explore the crisis surrounding the constitutional conflict and citizens of Japanese descent with primary sources, text, and film.

Knowledge of  United States Government

Ben’s Guide to Government

Ben’s Guide is a website with activities for students from K-12 to learn about government with Ben Franklin as the guide. A new beta version is being tested and promises to have games and more.


            Use iCivics to engage student conversations about citizenship and government. Teachers can use their digital resources to teach a lesson or have students plan an interactive game. In Do I have a Right?, students demonstrate their knowledge of the rights of citizens. In Supreme Decision, students explore how the Supreme Court works. In Branches of Power, students show what they understand about the government.

Assorted Activities

            Visit the National Constitution Center for more activities related to the Constitution Day. You can monitor the countdown to Constitution Day or download a lesson plan. Other activities to choose from include video lessons and live chats in the days prior to the celebration. You can even take a quiz to find out what founding father you are most like.

            The National Archives also have lots of Constitution Day options. Use their plan for a Constitutional Convention Simulation or just take the time to learn more about the Founding Fathers.

            Check out these resources and pick what works best for you. We can certainly enjoy every opportunity we get to talk about the United States Constitution.

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