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

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 creative projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Ask:

  • 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

  • Read aloud the description below the Movie player.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Pair students and have them read one of the two Related Readings, then share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY

Students synthesize their ideas and express them through one or more of the following creative projects or activities. They can work individually or collaborate.  

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Creative Coding: Code a comic that explains what it means when people say ‘the U.S. Constitution is a living document.”

Step 4: REFLECT & ASSESS 

  • Reflect: After sharing creative projects with each other, students reflect on what they’ve learned about the U.S. Constitution. Prompt them by asking questions such as: 
    • How does the U.S. Constitution impact our government today?
    • What does it mean that the U.S. Constitution is a living document?
    • Why is it important that our government has a system of checks and balances?
  • Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the U.S. Constitution Quiz.

Step 5: EXTENDED LEARNING

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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