Lesson Plans & Resources
On September 17, 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the U.S. Constitution, a written charter for a new—and enduring—federal government.
In 2004 Congress designated September 17 as a day “to hold educational programs for students” on the Constitution.
The Constitution - Debate It. Discuss It. Understand It. Website has lesson plans, interactive features and games, conversation starters and information on landmark Supreme Court cases. www.abaconstitution.org
- Read the Constitution. http://www.abanet.org/publiced/constitutionday/textconst_intro.shtml
- Lead a Conversation on the Constitution, exploring key constitutional provisions, including the right to bear arms, cruel and unusual punishment, and unreasonable searches and seizures. http://www.abanet.org/publiced/constitutionday/conversationstarters.shtml
- Access classroom lessons appropriate for elementary, middle, and secondary students. http://www.abanet.org/publiced/constitutionday/all_lessons.shtml
- Explore “Uncle Sam’s Attic” to learn about voting rights and the election process. Test your knowledge by taking interactive quizzes on constitutional issues. http://www.abanet.org/publiced/constitutionday/interactive.shtml
- Sign the U.S. Constitution manuscript, alongside the signatures of the framers. http://www.abanet.org/publiced/constitutionday/signtheconst.shtml
The Bill of Rights Institute has fun and accurate resources your students will love!
- NEW! Constitution Duel online quiz! Test your knowledge of the Constitution and U.S. History – or challenge another class to a duel. As you take this Constitution Duel, you will be asked to answer 15 multiple choice questions to defend your constitutional honor.
- NEW! Video on Representative Government - You’ve told us your students confuse republics and democracies. Do your students understand the key differences? We created a short, engaging video on the constitutional principle of representative government.
- Life Without the Bill of Rights? is a click and explore activity that puts your students in control: How would life change without some of our most cherished freedoms?
- Madison’s Notes are Missing– This activity allows students to travel through time to converse with the Founders and report on the Constitutional Convention.
- Lesson plans for middle and high school - Make sure you have the resources you need to explore the Constitution with your class this Friday! Each lesson includes a warm-up activity, a full lesson, a wrap-up activity, and homework.
Center for Civic Education: Lessons for Constitution Day and Citizenship Day
Lessons for grades K-12 are available for no cost from the Center's website at constitutionday.civiced.org. These lessons, designed to assist schools and federal agencies in meeting the requirements of the legislation, have been adapted from the Center's We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution and Foundations of Democracy curricular materials. Audio recordings of selected Constitution Day lessons are also available. Two new lesson plans for high school students have been added. They explore the executive branch and Abraham Lincoln's constitutional legacy.
Constitutional Rights Foundation http://crf-usa.org/
The State v. Roberts Multimedia Jury Experience and Mock Trial Program is a unique and flexible resource for teaching about the judicial branch of our government. State v. Roberts features a defendant who has been charged with possession and the intent to distribute an illegal drug containing anabolic steroids. Using the facts from this single case, students have two opportunities to learn about our legal system: either as jurors or as participants in a mock trial.
- The State v. Roberts Multimedia Jury Experience contains a DVD and accompanying materials to give an entire class the opportunity to serve as jurors. Students view a trial, weigh the evidence, deliberate with peers, and render a verdict.
- The State v. Roberts Mock Trial includes all the resources needed to implement the trial of State v. Roberts in the classroom with students making the preparation for and taking on the roles of witnesses, attorneys, judge, and jury.
State v. Roberts is a product the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago (CRFC) with support from the Young Lawyers Section of the Chicago Bar Association (YLS) and major funding provided by the GE Foundation. Activities in this program make the perfect lesson to complete each year on September 17 – Constitution Day.
Justice by the People, the ABOTA Foundation's free online curriculum, developed by Scholastic, Inc., was revised this spring and aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Language Arts. There are 9 lesson plans (6 on the jury system) ready for teachers to use in the classroom on Constitution Day to meet the federal requirement to teach about the Constitution on September 17th. The website includes the engaging Make Your Case courtroom simulation game that students can play in one or two class periods. There are also 17 printables including fact sheets, vocabulary lists and timelines on the Constitution, the Right to Vote and the Right to Trial by Jury. Check them out at Scholastic/American Justice and please share them with your teacher friends.
National Archives: Teaching With Documents: Observing Constitution Day
PBS: Why Celebrate Constitution Day? Lesson Plan
Wikispaces: Resources for Constitution Day:
Check out Barney Fife reciting the Preamble, School House Rock’s video on The Preamble, and the Bill of Rights Rap) http://constitutionday.wikispaces.com/
Information about the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Founding Fathers, and Supreme Court. The Fun Zone has crossword puzzles, test your knowledge quizzes, treasure hunts, and word finds.)