U.S. Constitution

The Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme law of the United States. Empowered with the sovereign authority of the people by the framers and the consent of the legislatures of the states, it is the source of all government powers, and also provides important limitations on the government that protect the fundamental rights of United States citizens.

Classes

  • Bill of Rights for Elementary School Students

    Students will explore the text of the Bill of Rights, identify the meaning of the first ten Amendments, and make connections among the amendments to their own lives.

  • Citizens’ Rights and Responsibilities

    The objective of this lesson plan is to help students understand that in addition to rights, American citizens have duties and responsibilities to perform that are necessary to maintain the quality of our government. This lesson has been designed for 7th grade and focuses on the responsibilities of citizenship.

  • Constitution Day

    The students will understand the struggles and sacrifices their forefathers endured to develop the guidelines which later became the constitution which guides our nation today. They will develop ownership for paying forward the responsibility of citizenship not only on Constitution Day but every day.

  • Constitution Day Play

    On Constitution Day, students will examine the role of the people in shaping the U.S. Constitution.

  • Federalism and Conditional Spending Programs

    The Constitution created a federal government whereby power is shared between the federal and state governments as well as the citizens. The Constitution delegates specific power to the federal government and under the Tenth Amendment reserves the remaining power to the states and to the people. However, over time Congress has attempted to expand federal power by placing conditions on the state receipt of federal funds as an extension of Congress’s spending power under Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. The Supreme Court has approved these conditional spending programs as a valid exercise of Congress’s spending power but has placed requirements on them in order to ensure they do not go too far as to make them an unconstitutional exercise of power. Question still exist, however, as to whether or not these programs violate the very principles of federalism that form the foundation of our constitutional system of government.

  • Free Speech and Campaign Finance Regulations

    The First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits Congress from abridging free speech and the Fourteenth Amendment has been interpreted to extend those prohibitions to state and local governments as well. Over time the Supreme Court has interpreted speech to extend to financial contributions to campaigns, political parties and other political organizations engaged in influencing election results. In addition, the Court has extended some rights of personhood to corporations, including protections of corporate speech against government infringement. Starting after the Watergate scandal, Congress has attempted at several junctions to limit the financial contributions of individuals and corporations to political entities. The Supreme Court, in response, has invalidated an increasing number of those restrictions as unconstitutional restrictions of free speech. Campaign finance regulations and the constitutional protection of free speech raise difficult and essential questions about the role and impact of money in elections and what constitutes an effective democracy.

  • Bill of Rights for Fifth Graders

    Students will review the U.S. Bill of Rights and create a final product that accurately illustrates the meaning of an amendment, which they will then share with their classmates.

  • Constitutional History and Responsibility

    Students will be able to generate a list of positive attributes learned from our forefathers and their commitment to democracy and connect those to positive/effective citizenship.  Students will use historical examples to support their ideas.

  • Constitutional Values

    Students will be able to examine the U.S. Supreme Court’s power of judicial review and critique the various approaches justices take when interpreting the Constitution. Further, students will understand how the constitutional right to free speech has evolved over time.

  • Current Events and the Constitution

    Create informed citizens and encourage civic engagement through the use of digital media by discussing current events in the context of the Constitution.

  • Debating Hypothetical Constitutional Issues

    Students will understand how the constitution is a document that is constantly being debated, and that the there are multiple interpretations of the constitution.

  • Deconstructing the Preamble

    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.

  • Defining Equality

    Students will be able to analyze how the constitutional value of equality has changed over time.

  • Do You Know Your Rights?

    Know the different rights guaranteed to the citizens of the United States and the reason the rights were created.

  • Federalism

    Students will be able to analyze how the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution over time impacts the balance of power between the federal and state governments within the United States.

  • Freedom of Speech in Public Schools

    Students will understand how the complexity of freedom of speech in schools in the 21st century.

  • National Symbols and the History of Our Country

    Students will learn about the Declaration of Independence, the Boston Tea Party, and the Constitution in a developmentally appropriate manner. The purpose of this unit is to learn about our nation and to build a classroom community by using the ideas of our founding fathers.  For each symbol or document, the class will develop a related symbol or document.  Each activity will connect our country’s symbols to our class symbols. This helps the children to bond as classmates.

  • Privacy and the Fourth Amendment

    Students will be able to analyze how the constitutional right of privacy and the definition of search and seizure have evolved over time.

  • Qualifications to Run for President

    Students will be able to list the three main Constitutional qualifications for becoming president of the United States as evidenced by accurately completing the comic strip assignment.

  • Rights of a Citizen

    Students will be able to identify the political rights of citizens of the United States.

  • Slavery, the Draft Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution

    Students will be able to understand the difficulty of mediating different perspectives on slavery in revolutionary period America.

  • Ten Amendments of the Bill of Rights

    Students will be able to demonstrate and communicate the meanings of the ten Amendments of the Bill of Rights by translating them and distributing them on handouts to the class. Following a review of the ten Amendments of the Bill of Rights, students will write a paragraph for each Amendment and explain how it affects their life, using a topic sentence, three supporting details and a concluding sentence.

  • Students’ First Amendment Rights in School

    In this three-part lesson, students will examine the tension between free expression in schools and limits on free speech.

  • The Constitution

    By the end of the lesson, students will define the many different parts of our Constitution as evidenced by their poster presentation/rubric; showcasing the definitions and meanings and significance of their particular section.

Quote
These two days were so valuable! It's the best PD I've had in a long time. I enjoyed hearing what teachers do in other parts of the country. Judge Rendell coming really made an impact on me. Her coming made me feel that what we do is important.
- Teacher
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Please contact us with any questions you may have about any of our programs or would like additional information.

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