Resources on the Constitution

Take the U.S. Constitution Preamble Challenge
The PBA is challenging Pennsylvania students to use your voice, get involved and be heard! Recite the preamble. Be creative. Express yourselves. You’ve been challenged, now what will you do?

How to participate: Visit the Civics Renewal Network to register your class and get details. Share your activities, photos and videos on Twitter and Instagram by using #RenewCivics and #PBAChallenge

Schoolhouse Rock
U.S. Constitution Preamble song from Schoolhouse Rock - You Tube Video
An elementary class performing the Schoolhouse Rock version of the Preamble. Why not try this with your class? Enlist the help of the music teacher!


Hand signs for the preamble. Use these hand signs to help students remember and act out the Preamble.


The U.S. Constitution
National Archives
National Constitution Center
Constitutional Sources Project
The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource) connects hundreds of thousands of American citizens of all ages annually to our nation's constitutional history by creating a comprehensive, easily searchable, fully-indexed, and freely accessible digital library of historical sources related to the creation, ratification, and amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Bill of Rights: The First Ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution Student Handout


Pennsylvania Constitution
The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Declaration of Rights from the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - Student Handout


Civics 101
Civics 101 is PCN’s free online educational resource, aimed at teaching kids the basics of state government. This online video gallery explains the functions of the three branches of government and the role of the media, told through professionals who have served in those roles. Additional content includes tours of the State Capitol, the Governor’s Residence, and tutorials on how a bill becomes a law and how to run for office. The gallery also houses a collection of material for continuing education with further topics intended for a more advanced audience.


Lesson: The Pennsylvania Constitution as Compared to the United States Constitution
A Look at the Pennsylvania and U.S. Constitutions - Rights and Freedoms: Where Are They Found?
Preamble Scramble


Online Activities

 

United States Courts
The United States Courts’ website provides a variety of trusted resources and activities that meet best practices and academic standards while stimulating critical thinking and civil discussion skills of future jurors and invested citizens.

These classroom-ready resources are the centerpiece of the federal courts’ national and local educational outreach to high school students and their teachers. They simplify complex concepts and motivate participants to serve on juries willingly when called.


iCivics
iCivics is a web-based education project designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy. iCivics is the vision of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is concerned that students are not getting the information and tools they need for civic participation, and that civics teachers need better materials and support.


Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement 


Annenberg Classroom
Annenberg Classroom offers a wide array of educational resources under a single umbrella. Educators can find curricula, lesson plans, multimedia programs, and other teaching materials all indexed and in conformance with the educational standards of their state. Search by keyword, by subject area, or by state standard to find one of the richest sets of teaching aids available in a single location.


Civics Renewal Network


Center for Civic Education
The Center is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy in the United States. The Center’s programs have been extensively evaluated in the field of civic education, and it offers Constitution Day lessons and resources for all grade levels.


60-Second Civics
60-Second Civics is a daily podcast from the Center for Civic Education that provides a quick and convenient way for listeners to learn about our nation's government, the Constitution, and our history. The podcast explores themes related to civics and government, the constitutional issues behind the headlines, and the people and ideas that formed our nation's history and government. The show's content is primarily derived from the Center's education for democracy curricula, including We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution, Project Citizen, Foundations of Democracy, and Elements of Democracy.


The Harlan Institute
The Harlan Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping high school teachers educate students about the U.S. Constitution and our legal system. Harlan utilizes the expertise of leading legal scholars and the interactivity of online games, to help teachers introduce students to the Constitution, the cases of the U.S. Supreme Court, and our system of justice. Harlan selects U.S. Supreme Court cases of special interest to students to help them learn about fundamental legal principles, make predictions about the cases, and compete and collaborate with other classes nationwide in Fantasy SCOTUS.


C-SPAN Classroom
The U.S. Constitution: Teachable Clips is a virtual U.S. Constitution. It features video clips taken from C-SPAN's Video Library with prominent political figures discussing various parts of the Constitution.


How to search the C-SPAN Video Library
A short YouTube video produced by "Howcast" to help you search the C-SPAN Video Library.


Which Founder Are You?
Have students take the "Which Founder Are You?" online quiz from the National Constitution Center. Students answer a series of questions that help them learn about themselves and then see which of the drafters of the Constitution they are most like. The quiz helps make the Founding fathers more relatable to students and shows them as "ordinary" men.


The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials 1952 - 2008
This is a great resource for teachers! The site has presidential election campaign commercials from 1952-2008 and includes lesson plans.


PBS - Public Broadcasting Service Lessons
PBS has curated free, standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans and more for teachers. Resources are available for all grade levels.


Street Law, Inc. provides a number of excellent classroom resources on the Supreme Court and  rule of law. They also offer several professional development opportunities for teachers, including The Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers. 


Lessons

 

What are my Rights?
High School 9 - 12
Time: Three 1-hour sessions
Author: Leslie Harper Blatteau New Haven, Connecticut
Studying the Constitution can seem less than vital to students who are most interested in issues that directly affect them. This lesson engages students in a study of the First Amendment by using it to explore youth curfews, demonstrating the impact that the law can have on their everyday lives. Using the text of the First Amendment as a starting point, students discuss whether youth curfews are constitutional. They then use a case study to closely examine both sides of the issue, debate the issue with their peers, hypothesize about the possibility of a youth curfew in their own community, and create a blog about the issue.


Bill of Rights Institute
Celebrate Constitution Day, September 17, with these activities provided by the Bill of Rights Institute.


We the People
This lesson from Scholastic helps students in grades 5-8 recognize the different parts of the U.S. Constitution and understand the significance of each part. Students will build their reading and interpretive skills by working with newspaper articles and drawing conclusions based on the information presented. They will summarize their conclusions through persuasive writing.


Orb and Effy Learn about Authority (Elementary level)
A complete lesson on authority from the Orb and Effy Learn about Authority book. In this lesson, young children learn that when people have a right to tell others what to do in certain situations, they are exercising authority. When they do not have that right, they are exercising power without authority. Children learn some ways in which people earn the right to exercise authority. The lesson also illustrates problems that are likely to arise in the absence of effective authority. Children learn how and why authority is useful


Mock Constitution Signing PDF


What Responsibilities Accompany Our Rights?
Teacher's version
Student version


What is a Republican Government?
Teacher's version
Student version


Celebrate the Constitution special court re-enactment program from Chester County. Includes a script and mock trial related to slavery and freedom issues.


Teaching Civics through Literature - A Reading List in PDF and Word.


The Constitution and Money


Effectively Using Judges and Lawyers as Community Resources in Your Classroom: A Guide for Teachers


How One Pennsylvania School District "Celebrates the Constitution" and Civics Education All Year Long


Classroom Discussions and Activities


Right to Jury Trial
Ask students to describe what it would be like if there were no jury. Who would decide the outcome of a case if there were no jury? Would this be more fair? Is a judge better able to decide the law, facts and truth than citizens? What are some benefits to a jury system? Why did we decide to have a jury system? Are there other alternatives besides a judge or a jury?


Develop a Student Bill of Rights


Ask students to create a comic strip or cartoon about...

  • Most important right
  • Student making a difference in the school

Test Your Knowledge -What's your Constitution IQ? Interactive and print versions are available. There is a basic 10 questions quiz and two different, 50-questions, "expert" level tests (appropriate for high school students)


Constitution Fun Facts


Elementary-level Word Find
Constitution Word Find
Word Finds for high school students. Includes vocabulary list with definitions. web
A Constitutional Logic Puzzle Student Handout and Answer Sheet
Cryptogram (US Constitution Preamble)
Constitution LINGO and Anagrams


Coloring Pages
Below are some links to coloring pages for you to evaluate for your use in teaching about the Constitution and other U.S. history, government and civics lessons. We welcome resources and ideas from you that you would like to share with your colleagues.


Constitution Preamble Coloring Sheet


Coloring pages of most presidents most presidents.


"Proud to Be an American" ethnically diverse kids.


Coloring pages of the White House, Independence Hall, U.S. Supreme Court, etc.


Children's Literature with Social Studies Themes
The Delaware Center for Teacher Education, Delaware Social Studies Education Project at the University of Delaware has developed an excellent Web resource illustrating how children's books can be used to teach social studies themes. Books are listed for grades K-2, 3-4 and 5-6 in the categories of History, Geography, Economics and Civics. Civics books are further categorized into Government, Rules and Laws, Values and Principles, Citizen's Rights and Privileges and Participation in Civic Life.


"America's Legislators Back to School Program" from the National Conference of State Legislatures
The program kicks off in September and runs throughout the school year giving legislators and teachers flexibility in scheduling classroom visits. Information is available on the NCSL Web site and includes lesson plans that outline for students the importance of representative democracy, the message that their voice counts and the valid role of special interest groups in the process. The plans complement the NCSL publication "Your Ideas Count," a student booklet used by legislators as a "leave behind" resource after their classroom visit. Teachers are invited to download the lesson plans and use them as appropriate in their classrooms. There are lesson plans for high school, middle school and elementary school classes. Many other resources are available on NCSL's America's Legislators Back to School Program Web page.


Justice by the People (Grades 5-8)
These easy-to-use, turnkey lesson plans and student reproducibles are designed to help you teach students about the Sixth and Seventh Amendments to the United States Constitution and the critical importance of the right to trial by jury.


Education World Lesson Planning for Constitution Day
Education World has gathered dozens of lesson ideas and other resources to help you recognize Constitution Day, whether you teach kindergarten or college.


Getting the Word Out to the Community
Involving the Media and Legal Community
Sample Media Advisory in PDF and Word
Sample News Release in PDF and Word


Archives of past PBA Celebrate the Constitution Programs and Lesson Guides
2011 - Program Overview
2010 - Program Overview
2007 - Lesson Guide - Program Overview
2006 - Lesson Guide - Program Overview
2005 - Lesson Guide - Program Overview
2004- Lesson Guide - Program Overview
2003 - Lesson Guide - Program Overview
2002 - Lesson Guide - Program Overview
2001 - Lesson Guide - Program Overview
2000 - Lesson Guide - Program Overview
1999 Lesson Guide - Program Overview
1999 - PBA Wins National Outreach Award

 
 
 
 

 


 

 

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