Constitution Day is celebrated every year on September 17th. It commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution. According to the U.S. Department of Education, each educational institution that receives federal funds for a fiscal year is required to hold an educational program about the U.S. Constitution for its students. As teachers, we know how important it is to create lessons that are relevant and meaningful, which makes planning an activity for Constitution Day that much more challenging. The ideas for Constitution Day listed below are student centered, applicable, and engaging.
1. Classroom Preamble
Create a preamble to explain the purpose and reasoning behind the classroom rules. Developing a classroom preamble will provide students with a relevant connection to the actual Preamble to the US Constitution. It will also give students a sense of ownership over the classroom policies they follow each day.
2. Bill of Rights BINGO
Cement knowledge of the first ten amendments using real-world scenarios in Bill of Rights BINGO. Connecting each amendment to a relevant and applicable situation will help students comprehend and remember the meaning and purpose of each one. Get the entire Bill of Rights lesson plan, BINGO cards, and real-world scenarios from the National Constitution Center.
3. Connect with the Framers
Pair up each student with one of the 70 Constitutional Convention attendees. Get the entire list of framers and their brief biographies from the National Archives “Framers of the Constitution”. Have students research their assigned figure and report back to the class on their findings. For a more structured approach to the research process, click here to download a FREE biography summary graphic organizer.
Have students create a timeline of events related to the Constitution, starting with the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and ending with Amendment 27 in 1992. Narrow the parameters by providing students with the events and requiring them to find and plot the dates on a timeline. Visit the World History Project for a complete list of possible timeline events to include.
5. True or False?
Encourage students to test their knowledge of the Constitution using a true or false questionnaire. Follow up with a class discussion of each question. Finally, reinforce learning by requiring students to correct each false statement. True or false questions can be found online or click here for a FREE Constitution True or False worksheet and PowerPoint presentation.
Listen to one of the many Constitution podcasts from the National Constitution Center. Hosted by the National Constitution Center President, Jeffrey Rosen, each podcast focuses on a topic related to the Constitution. For example, students can listen to “The Federalists Vs. The Anti-Federalists” episode and complete a Venn-Diagram identifying the similarities and differences between the two groups.
Send students on a Constitution scavenger hunt! A Constitution WebQuest is a great way to encourage critical thinking skills and incorporate technology. Create the WebQuest questions on your own or find no-prep versions on Teachers Pay Teachers.
8. Current Event
Connect the Constitution to a real-world event using a current event report. Have students locate and report on a current article in the news related to the Constitution. In addition to making relevant connections to the Constitution, completing a standards-based current event report will reinforce skills needed for successfully reading informational text.
9. Story Time
Clearly explain how the Constitution was created using a children’s book. A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our Constitution combines words and pictures to make a difficult concept accessible to all students. Extend the lesson by having students summarize the Constitution story using the 5Ws (who, what, when, where, and why).
10. Escape Room
Students love escape rooms! An escape room activity gives students a chance to work cooperatively, solve puzzles, and complete tasks in order to accomplish a specific goal in a limited amount of time. Visit Teachers Pay Teachers for a variety of Constitution escape rooms. Your students will be engaged, and your Constitution Day lesson will be covered!
Looking beyond Constitution Day? Take the stress out of teaching a difficult concept with differentiated Constitution worksheets! Each worksheet focuses on a different aspect of the Constitution and includes informational text, vocabulary support, and a graphic organizer.
I’ve been looking for a way to help my students understand the different parts of the Constitution and these lessons are amazing! -Megan H.