Teaching the Constitution

constitution day screenshot
Sun 13 2009

Jim Leach, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, reminds us that the U.S. Constitution has "provided the world the most enlightened model of governance ever created" because of its capacity to accommodate change and to advance individual rights. These qualities, says Leach, deserve celebration and require constant care.

On Constitution Day, September 17, Americans celebrate the signing of this important document in 1787, and educational institutions receiving Federal funds are mandated to conduct an educational program on the Constitution on that day. Teaching resources highlighted in the Clearinghouse blog last year are still valid, and here are a couple of strong recommendations.

Edsitement's updated Constitution Day resources are for families, students, and teachers. Edsitement's reviewed websites and lesson plans are blocked for specific grade levels: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. The Teacher's Bibliography reflects historiographic trends from Bernard Bailyn's 1967 The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution to Carol Berkin's A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution.

Take a Virtual Tour of Signers Hall.

The Constitution Center invites you to a virtual field trip. Sing up on September 17 by 8:45am and join a virtual field trip of Signer's Hall. And don't miss the Bill of Rights Game for elementary schoolers and To Sign or Not to Sign: The Ultimate Constitution Day Lesson Plan for middle and high schoolers.

PBS Newshour posted a series of Constitution Day activities for grades 7-12. Lesson plans and materials are designed to stimulate discussion on the Constitution and what it means in everyday life in America.

About the Author

Lee Ann Ghajar is a digital history associate in Public Projects at CHNM and a PhD candidate in American history at George Mason University.