On September 17, 1787, delegates to the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention signed our nation’s new legal foundation, the United States Constitution. Now a federal holiday also known as Citizenship Day, this commemoration of the world’s oldest functioning constitution serves as the perfect starting point for a year of civic education and US history.
Unlike other historical documents sealed behind bulletproof museum glass, the Constitution is still a living document, directing and constraining the activities of government while protecting the rights of American citizens (and noncitizens as well). , in some cases).
These free Constitution Day lessons and activities will dramatically bring the 235-year-old document into the 21st century classroom while inspiring students to understand, question, and debate the most important issues of our time.
Best Free Constitution Day Lessons and Activities
CONSTITUTION DAY EVENTS & WEBINARS
Student webinars (opens in a new tab)
Airing September 12-23, 2022, these live webinars are a great way to engage kids in the Living Constitution. The webinars cover a variety of topics, from voting rights to conscription, and are identified for the targeted ranks.
American Bar Association Constitution Day 2022 (opens in a new tab)
The American Bar Association’s collection of Constitution Day events and resources includes the Law Library of Congress’ Constitution Day Online Lecture, a webinar focused on a racial reckoning in Bruce’s history Beach and articles examining the meaning of the Constitution and the preamble. Need a lesson plan? Be sure to check 25 Great Constitution Day Lesson Plans.
Bill of Rights Institute: Constitution Day Live (opens in a new tab) September 16, 2022
The Bill of Rights Institute invites educators and students to celebrate Constitution Day with live interactive video, pre-recorded videos and lesson plans. Teachers can submit questions about the Constitution that will be answered during the live presentation.
Live e-learning (opens in a new tab)
Engage your learners with live online constitutional lectures and conversations, virtual exhibit tours, and peer-to-peer exchanges. Initiation and advanced sessions take place on Wednesdays and Fridays.
CONSTITUTION DAY PROGRAMS AND PRIMARY DOCUMENTS
Bill of Rights Institute Education Center (opens in a new tab)
Although the Bill of Rights was not included in the original Constitution, it is perhaps the most well-known item today. Comprising the enumerated civil rights and often the subject of legal disputes, the First Ten Amendments to the United States Constitution deserve careful study and understanding. Dive into primary sources, lesson plans, and professional development courses focused on the Bill of Rights.
The Annenberg Guide to the United States Constitution (opens in a new tab)
A rich resource for teaching and learning about the Constitution, this Annenberg Classroom guide includes lesson plans, important Supreme Court cases, games, books, handouts, videos and more Again. Looking to delve deeper into a specific topic? Be sure to check out Teaching the Constitution, where you’ll find videos, documents, and timelines covering Magna Carta’s influence on the Constitution, separation of powers, landmark cases, and more.
Civic Education Center Constitution Day Lesson Plans (opens in a new tab)
Find a Constitution Day lesson plan for each grade from K-12, covering key questions like “How should we choose people for positions of authority?” and “What is democracy?” Games and stories help engage learners in this most important civics lesson.
The Constitution: counter-revolution or national salvation? (opens in a new tab)
This fascinating and in-depth lesson on the Constitution will bring this over 200-year-old document to life in your classroom. Students will research the issues surrounding the creation and adoption of this new form of government, then argue for or against ratification, just as politicians of the day did. Excellent step-by-step guidelines are provided for lesson preparation, implementation, and assessment of student work.
iCivics Constitution Curriculum (opens in a new tab)
Designed by the champions of nonpartisan civic education, this middle and high school curriculum on the Constitution features lesson plans, games, and guided primary source inquiry. A great place to start planning your Constitution lesson.
The Constitution for children (opens in a new tab)
It is never too early to teach the Constitution. But teaching this complicated historical, political and social subject to young people can be a challenge. The Children’s Constitution rises to the occasion, providing constitutional foundations for children in kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Constitution in class (opens in a new tab)
Explore everything you need to teach the Constitution, from the interactive Constitution to study plans to live online lessons. Professional development webinars, workshops and seminars allow educators to hone their skills in teaching the Constitution
National Constitution Center educational resources for the classroom (opens in a new tab)
A one-stop-shop for educational resources related to the Constitution, National Constitution Center resources include the interactive constitution, educational videos, lesson plans, historical documents and more. Discover hands-on arts and crafts activities, perfect for young learners. For advanced students, dive into the documents and arguments that influenced the founders in “The Drawing table (opens in a new tab). Podcasts, town hall videos and blog posts invite attendees to reflect on cutting-edge constitutional views and controversies.
NewseumED: Constitution 2 Classroom (opens in a new tab)
This collection of professional development modules focuses on religious freedoms, particularly as they relate to public schools. Free registration required.
Observe Constitution Day (opens in a new tab)
From the National Archives comes this treasure trove of teaching resources for observing Constitution Day (and teaching the Constitution any time of the year). Activities and programs include primary source research, an online or print Constitution workshop, the Constitutional Convention, distance learning, and e-books. Bonus for teachers: Free PD.
United States Capitol Historical Society Constitution Day Resources for Educators and Students (opens in a new tab)
A great resource for open exploration of the Constitution. When you read the full annotated text, click on the underlined phrases and a handy tooltip displays relevant additional information. Standards-based lesson plans and a constitutional quiz are also provided.
CONSTITUTION DAY VIDEOS & PODCASTS
Civic Constitution 101 Podcast (opens in a new tab)
Conveniently divided into 9 clips and featuring a full transcript, this podcast delves into the sometimes contentious process by which our Constitution was crafted and developed. Includes a copyable Google Doc graphic organizer so students can take notes as they listen.
Constitutional Interpretation and the Supreme Court: A Review of the U.S. Government (opens in a new tab)
One of the most forward-thinking aspects of the Constitution is its flexibility and emphasis on general principles rather than specific guidelines. Knowing that the future was unknowable, the writers wisely left room for interpretation. But this flexibility also leads to legal and political disputes over how to interpret parts of the Constitution. In this captivating video, explore the difference between strict and loose constitutional interpretation.
Crash Course in US History: The Constitution, the Articles, and Federalism (opens in a new tab)
Hilarious and fast-paced, John Green’s video on the United States Constitution is nonetheless full of important facts and details, and would make great flipped class work. Plus, kids will love watching it!
CONSTITUTION DAY GAMES AND INTERACTIVES
iCivics Constitution Games (opens in a new tab)
Why not have fun while learning history? Fourteen engaging online games cover topics such as voting, the three branches of government, constitutional rights, how laws are made and more.
build a nation (opens in a new tab)
it is easy from our modern point of view to criticize the decisions of the Founders. But to really understand how difficult their task was, try building your own country and writing your own constitution.
National Constitution Center Interactive Constitution (opens in a new tab)
The precise wording of the Constitution is very important for its interpretation. With the interactive Constitution, students can delve into critical details, starting with the preamble and continuing through each article and amendment. Each section includes commonly accepted and questionable interpretations, podcasts and videos.
America’s founding documents (opens in a new tab)
Read a transcript of the Constitution and its amendments, view digitized original documents, meet the drafters, and examine fascinating facts about the Constitution, including errors and inconsistencies. Want to be part of history? Sign your John Hancock digitally and see how it looks next to the original signatures. Use this digital signature as a springboard for a larger class discussion of why or why not to sign, the nature of political compromise, and contemporary issues. Fun fact: John Hancock did not sign the Constitution.
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