Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

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This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic U.S. Constitution, and addresses the standard of understanding the purposes of the U.S. Constitution and the reasons for our systems of checks and balances. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Ask students:

  • What do you know about the U.S. Constitution?
  • One of the core principles of the U.S. Constitution is that the power to rule belongs to the people. What do you think that means?

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

Step 3: ENGAGE
Students express what they learned about the U.S. Constitution while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs.

  • Make-a-Movie: Make a documentary interviewing the framers of the  Constitution. Have them explain why they made certain choices  and how they hoped it would be used by future generations. (Essential Literacy Skill: Determine central ideas)
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying the roles of each branch of government and how the branches interact with each other through a system of checks and balances. (Essential Literacy Skill: Summarize key details)
  • Creative Coding: Code a comic that explains what it means when people say “the U.S. Constitution is a living document.” (Essential Literacy Skill: Make logical inferences)
  • Primary Source Activity: Read and analyze George Mason’s objections to the Constitution from 1787. (Essential Literacy Skill: Draw evidence to support reflection)

Step 4: APPLY & ASSESS 

Apply: Students complete a Graphic Organizer, applying essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the U.S. Constitution Quiz.

Step 5:  EXTEND LEARNING

Do I Have a Right?: This learning game challenges players to run a constitutional law firm, matching clients with lawyers who can meet their needs.

Additional Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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