US Constitution Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What laws and rights are included in the Constitution of the United States? This lesson plan helps students answer that question through the use of a text lesson. An activity reinterprets the US Constitution at the classroom level.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • distinguish between a law and a right
  • summarize the history and purpose of the US Constitution
  • explain the contents of the US Constitution
  • list and describe the three branches of government

Length

45 to 60 minutes

Curriculum Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.1

Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.2

Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.3

Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.

Materials

Instructions

  • Begin by asking students to take turns listing some of laws we follow as American citizens.
  • Now have the students take turns sharing examples of some of the freedoms we enjoy as American citizens.
    • Can any of you name the document that explains these laws and freedoms?
  • Distribute the copies of the text lesson, one to each student.
  • Ask students to take turns reading aloud, one line each, from the introduction and 'A New Set of Laws' section of the text lesson.
    • What is the United States Constitution?
  • Tell the students to read aloud again from the text lesson, this time focusing on the 'What is the Constitution?' section.
    • What is a law?
    • Why is the Constitution described as the 'highest set of laws' in America?
    • What is included in the Constitution?
    • What is the Bill of Rights?
  • Have the students take turns reading aloud from the 'Three Branches' section of the text lesson.
    • What are checks and balances?
    • Why were they included in the Constitution?
    • What are the three branches of the government?
    • What does the Executive Branch do?
    • How about the Legislative Branch?
    • What are the responsibilities of the Judicial Branch of government?
  • Instruct the students to take turns reading aloud from the remainder of the text lesson.
  • Pass out the worksheet to each of the students.
  • Work together as a class to complete the worksheet, connecting each question back to the content of the text lesson.

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