This Friday, September 17, we celebrate Constitution Day. This holiday commemorates the signing of the Constitution in 1787. To help you teach about this deeply important part of American history, you may want to use Kids Discover Online as a resource with your students. Celebrate by sharing these 5 cross-curricular lesson ideas with your students from our Constitution, George Washington, and How America Works Units.
After they read our Constitution Unit, ask students to recreate the setting of the Constitutional Convention. Independence Hall was the site of the 1787 convention. Have students construct models of the building and the room where delegates met. Help students locate pictures of the Hall in books and on the Internet. Provide a variety of art materials, such as cardboard, connecting blocks, craft sticks, boxes, and paints for students to use.
George Washington served as president of the Constitutional Convention. In February 1788, he wrote his friend Marquis de Lafayette a letter commenting on the convention. “It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the Delegates from so many different States … should unite in forming a system of national Government.” Ask students to make a poster of quotations about the convention and the Constitution. They can begin with this quotation, writing the message on a sheet of paper, noting its author, and then attaching it to the poster. Encourage them to find quotations by Americans throughout history. For your students to read more about our First President, have them check out our popular George Washington Unit.
Stand up, salute the flag, and hold a patriotic assembly. Have students prepare a choral reading of the Preamble of the Constitution. Also encourage student groups to choose a patriotic song to perform. They might perform such songs as “America the Beautiful,” “America,” “The Star- Spangled Banner,” “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and “This Land Is Your Land.” Hold a class assembly in which groups present their reading of the Preamble and sing patriotic songs. Our Stars and Stripes Topic from the How American Works Unit dives even deeper into how we honor our nation’s flag.
Help students identify the individuals holding these positions in the federal government: the state’s two senators; their district’s representative in the House; the Speaker of the House; the president and vice president; members of the president’s cabinet, and members of the Supreme Court. Divide the class into two groups. Then play a game of Name That Official. Challenge the groups to identify the position held by an official given the name of the official or the name of an official given the position held. For more details, you and your students can turn to our How America Works Unit.
Have students write a play from the perspective of a bill going through the process of becoming a law. Encourage students to include appropriate emotion in the dialogue of the bill as it goes through the stages. For example, it may be exhausting going back and forth between the House and Senate while it is being debated, but it may be ecstatic when the president finally signs it to become a law. Students can perform the play as a Reader’s Theater for other classes in the school.