Deconstructing the Preamble

Recommended Grade Level: 5

Teacher: Deborah Daniels, Iber Holmes Gove Middle School

Editor: Rachel M. Stanton, M.Ed.

General Description

Objective​: (what will students be able to do or understand after the lesson)

Students will be familiar with the purpose of the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution. Students will be able to explain some key phrases and define key vocabulary as evidenced by their responses on the exit ticket.

Formative Assessment: class discussion about the Preamble

Formative Assessment: circulating - seeing which students are understanding their portion of the Preamble. Class discussion accuracy and depth.

Summative Assessment Preamble Vocabulary Exit Ticket

  • Preamble of the Constitution
  • Dictionaries (at least 6)
  • Student notebooks/journals or blank sheets of paper
  • Preamable Exit Tickets (see below)
  • If time allows: School House Rock Preamble

Differentiation: (Describe how you plan to adjust the curriculum, instruction, or learning environment to meet the diverse needs of your student population, including gifted and talented.)

For students who are needing more challenge - on the exit ticket they can provide one example for each word from modern U.S.

For students who are needing support, they can use other resources such as the internet or a preamble that has been written to their lexile. Also, instead of writing, allow students to draw pictures or scenes that portray their assigned phrase. Students might also be able to use magazines and make collages to help explain their thinking and share with the class.

Supplemental Activities:

You may wish to have each group develop a skit that portrays its assigned phrase. Each group should present its skit and the rest of the class should guess which phrase of the Preamble is being portrayed.

The people who worked on writing the Preamble were William Samuel Johnson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Rufus King, and Gouverneur Morris. Have students read more about these men and share what they learn with the class.

Materials and Documents

Videos and Media

  • This song teaches about the opening to the United States Constitution, with its preamble set to music.

Today, I was almost brought to tears (of joy) with NH Institute for Civics Education's Civics 603 program. It was just a wonderful day. To top it off, I just got this text message from a student who asked me to send him pictures: "Thank you so much for this opportunity. It was a lot of fun and an amazing experience." Thank you everyone!
- Dina Michael Chaitowitz
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