Constitution Lesson Plan

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.

Don't let your students snooze through your instruction on the Constitution. A video lesson delivers information in an engaging manner to prepare students to analyze constitutional dilemmas in class. If you wish to further this instruction, take advantage of our suggestions for extensions and related lessons.

Learning Objectives:

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

  • explain the purpose of the US Constitution
  • apply the principles of the US Constitution to specific cases

Length

1 hour to 90 minutes

Materials

  • Photocopies of a typed version of the US Constitution
  • A list of reported constitutional dilemmas that have occurred in the past ten years

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.9

Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

Key Vocabulary

  • Preamble
  • Legislative branch
  • Executive branch
  • Judicial branch
  • The Bill of Rights

Instructions

  • Begin by asking the class to tell you what the Constitution is, writing key points on the board.
  • Now play the Study.com video lesson The US Constitution: Preamble, Articles and Amendments, pausing at 00:55. Review the key points about the Constitution listed on the board in light of the information provided in the video lesson. Were the students on target? if not, what was missing? Discuss this as a class.
  • Now pass out the photocopies of the transcript of the Constitution, one per student.
  • Play the rest of the video lesson now and have students follow along on the transcript as the video lesson summarizes each section, making notes where appropriate.
  • When the video lesson has played in its entirety, divide the students into small groups.
  • Give each group a reported constitutional dilemma.
  • Have them work together to determine why it was considered dilemma. They should also provide a potential resolution for the dilemma based upon the Constitution.
  • When all groups have finished analyzing their constitutional dilemmas, ask the groups to share what they've found with the class.

Discussion questions

  • Does the Constitution really guarantee fairness and equity in government?
  • Are there parts of the Constitution that do not apply to modern society?
  • Should the Constitution ever be changed or revised?

Extensions

  • Prompt students with specific cases that have raised question about an individual's constitutional rights. Ask students to use the Constitution to specify which issues are at hand and pose potential solutions.
  • Have students work in small groups to write a classroom constitution of sorts. They should base this on the US Constitution.

Related Lessons

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