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Lesson Plan


  • The Constitution


    From the Iowa Common Core Social Studies Standards: o Understand that primary sources such as artifacts, photographs, and documents

    are used to learn about the past

    Selected due to the fact that the Constitution is a historical document which provides information regarding the past

    o Understand the need for government and how our government came to be Selected because the Constitution provides the basis for the United States

    governmental structure

    From the Core Knowledge Curriculum: o History and Geography

    American History and Geography American government is based on the Constitution, the highest law

    of our land

    o Selected, again, to learn about the governmental structure of the United States specifically in regards to the Constitution

    Government by the consent of the governed: We the people o Selected because the concept of consent of the governed

    is an imperative characteristic that provides the basis of the

    entire governmental system of the United States


    After the second grade students have had a chance to closely examine the Constitution and look at several childrens books about the Constitution and the people who created it, students will create a journal entry that reflects upon what they feel are the major

    important parts of the United States government and what values created these parts,

    using at least four important (i.e. not the, a, etc.) words located in the Constitution and less than five punctuation, grammar, or spelling errors.

    Resources / Materials:

    DVD of SchoolHouse Rock! clip of the Preamble o If a DVD is not available, the clip is also available at the following link: (not the best quality but

    better than many of the others on YouTube)

    A copy of the Constitution o Can be found at the following link:

    List of books about the Constitution, writers of the Constitution, colonists, etc. attached

    Writers Notebooks / Journals

    Learning Plan:

  • Introduction: o Today we are going to start our unit about how the government of the United

    States was formed. We will be closely examining the Constitution itself, which

    was the basis upon which our government was formed, as well as the people who

    helped to create the Constitution and government. Throughout todays class, we are going to be looking at several books that will help us to understand exactly

    what led to the creation of the Constitution. At the end of the class, Im going to have you take out your notebooks and write an entry that will demonstrate what

    values you believe are contained within the Constitution while using at least four

    words actually contained in the Constitution. These words will need to be more

    important to the values in the Constitution than just the or a, a good way will be to use headings as opposed to the text itself. You will also need to write your

    entries with fewer than five punctuation, grammar, and spelling errors, similar to

    every other journal entry you have written.

    o In order to begin our lesson today, we are going to watch a video about the Preamble of the Constitution, which is basically the introduction of the document.

    Group Practice: o Now we are going to look at the text of the actual Constitution. I am going to ask

    each table group to look at a particular section of the Constitution, called an

    Article (for those groups assigned Articles 1 3, they will not be required to look at the entire article, due to the length of these articles in particular). Please grab

    your group dictionaries and look up any words that confuse you or that you do not

    recognized. The student with the red nametag at your group will record the words

    that you have looked up as well as a definition in your own words.

    o Before the table groups do this, however, the teacher will work through the Preamble with the class, as it is fairly short. The following words are encouraged

    to be looked up as a class:

    Union Justice Tranquility Welfare Liberty Posterity Ordain

    o If any of the students are having particular difficulties, the teacher will be available to answer any questions and define words whose definitions may be

    confusing as well.

    Individual Practice: o After the table groups have finished defining the specific words from their article,

    each of the students will select at least one book from those provided to read and

    use for their journal entries. If the students do not have enough time to complete

    this assignment in class, they will be able to work on it throughout any free time

    the rest of the day and/or bring the book and journal home to complete for



  • The students will turn in their notebooks at the beginning of the next day, so that all students are turning them in at the same time and the students who brought their

    notebooks home do not feel singled out. After all of the notebooks are turned in, they will

    be graded based upon the rubric below:

    Exceptional Notable Adequate Developing

    Number of


    Words Used

    Used at least four

    important words

    Used three important words

    Used one or two

    important words

    Did not include any

    important words

    Vocabulary /

    Grammar /


    There are five or fewer

    errors of the


    o Sentence structure

    o Grammar o Punctuation o Spelling

    There are between six

    and eight

    errors of the


    o Sentence structure

    o Grammar o Punctuation o Spelling

    There are between nine

    and eleven

    errors of the


    o Sentence structure

    o Grammar o Punctuation o Spelling

    There are more than

    eleven errors

    of the


    o Sentence structure

    o Grammar o Punctuation o Spelling


    For students who need additional time, resources, etc.: o The students who would like additional time will be able to complete their

    assignment in the evening, rather than feeling pressure to complete it during class.

    o The students who need additional resources will be able to use the class computers to find additional information or to find even simpler explanations.

    o For the students in the class who are ESL or EL, they will be able to use the following website to receive very simplified information regarding the


    For students who are considered to be high ability: o For those students who are at a higher reading level, there will be more difficult

    books to select.

    o For those students who simply do not feel challenged by the assignment, they can speak with the teacher in order to come up with a personally more challenging

    assignment to complete (as this lesson will likely come later in the year, the

    students who need a more challenging assignment will know to come to the

    teacher and the teacher will know these students as well). The following are some

    examples of possible additional assignments:

    Take on the role of a colonist or a writer of the Constitution and write a journal entry about The Day in the Life of

    Create a timeline depicting the important events leading up to the creation of the Constitution, writing of the Constitution, and several years after the

    Constitution was written

  • Create an art project that depicts the meaning of the Constitution in whatever form the student feels most comfortable with

    There will likely need to be additional rubrics created in order to grade the students with higher ability, but hopefully the teacher will have some rubrics created that will be

    specific to those students who need to have adjustments made for the assignment.


    Iowa Common Core Standards: "Social Studies - Kindergarten-Grade 2." Iowa Department of Education, n.d.

    Web. 1 Oct. 2014. .

    Core Knowledge Curriculum: "Core Knowledge Sequence: Content and Skill Guidelines for Grades K-8." (n.d.): n.

    pag. Core Knowledge. The Core Knowledge Foundation. Web. 1 Oct. 2014.


    Places Consulted for Lists of Books: o "Constitution for Kids -- Best Children's Books for K-8." The Best Children's The Best Children's, n.d. Web. 01 Oct. 2014.


    o "Books for Constitution Day." Goodreads. Goodreads, n.d. Web. 01 Oct. 2014. .

  • List of Books to Use

    If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution by Elizabeth Levy

    The Founders: The 39 Stories Behind the U.S. Constitution by Dennis Brindell Fradin

    The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution by W. Cleon Skousen

    Shh! Were Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz

    Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence by Benson John Lossing

    Constitution Translated for Kids by Cathy Travis

    We the People: The Story of Our Constitution by Lynne Cheny

    1776 by David McCullough

    We, the People by Peter Spier

    We the Kids by David Catrow

    George vs. George: The American Revolution as Seen from Both Sides by Rosalyn Schanzer

    Our Constitution Rocks! by Juliette Turner

    Constitution Construction by Bentley Boyd

    Father of the Constitution: A Stor


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