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The Constitution

Lecture Notes
(Music and videos have been removed for copyright reasons, thanks Congress!)

Title Description Video DownloadView Online
1 - Constitution IntroductionAn introduction to the events surrounding the creation of the US Constitution with a focus on the Constitutional Convention.Google Slides Office 365
 2 - What's in the Constitution?A brief look at the key components of the Constitution including Checks and Balances, Seperation of Powers and Federalism.Google SlidesOffice 365 
3 - The Bill of RightsA close look at each of the first 10 amendments. Not as powerful without the video clips. Sorry.PPT / PDF 

Labs and Activities

1. How Governments Work - In this lab students make a series of decisions using different government models. Experience the tyranny in all its forms- from the maniacal monarch to the mob majority!  Introduces key pre-founding documents like the Mayflower Compact and English Bill of Rights.

2. The Preamble - A comparison of the first draft of the Preamble to the one that was agreed upon. Afterwards students turn the Preamble into a storyboard to help them understand each line.

3. State Perspectives on the Constitution - Brief information sheets along with Close Reading analysis for each state (minus Rhode Island) to help prepare students for the Constitutional Convention Simulation.

4. Constitutional Convention Simulation - [Script I Student Worksheet] A simulation of the compromises that came about to make the Constitution possible. Students take on the role of a specific delegate, debate issues and participate in parliamentary procedures. Day 1 covers the Great Compromise. Day 2 includes the 3/5s Compromise and the question of the presidency. The Role Cards come from TCI's History Alive. The simulation can be done without them using just the State Perspectives sheets above. Here are some cards I made myself to give you an idea of what they include. 

5. You Be the Judge - A stations-based lab where students in small groups consider whether a set of scenarios contain any violations of the Bill of Rights.

6. 3 Branches Graphic Organizer and Poster - Students in groups will research one branch and create a poster/museum display to share that branch with the rest of the class. This will serve as the instructional step for the Super Hero lab soon to come.

7. Super Hero Branches - a lab where students imagine each branch as a super hero giving them powers, sidekicks and weaknesses. They then "battle" their heroes against each other in the ultimate test of checks and balances.

8, HAT - States vs. Feds - A Close-reading of an article from The Atlantic magazine exploring the increasingly small separation between state and federal government in the US.

9. Stations: The Anti-Federalists - Adapted from a "historical scene investigation" lab this activity has students examining arguments against the ratification of the Constitution.

10. Constitution DBQ - Students analyze documents from their textbook and online sources to answer the question: Should the Constitution have been ratified?