Schools Nationwide Required to Focus on Constitution
Day in September
In order to to maintain a representative democracy
with limited government and to preserve our freedoms, knowledge
about the United States Constitution is a necessity. Last year,
Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) authored a bill that requires all
schools receiving federal funds to provide instruction on the
Constitution. This new federal requirement does not specify
which instructional program must be used to teach about the
Constitution. At a minimum, teachers must expose students to
the Constitution in some way that increases their understand
of the document to some degree appropriate for their age group.
In addition to Constitution Day Resources compiled by EGUSD Teach American History Director David Byrd and the upcoming Time of Remembrance
Digital Archive - a Collection of Interviews with Internees,
the organizations listed below also have resources and lessons
designed to make learning about the Constitution meaningful
for students and easy for teachers to incorporate into their
Most links in the Online Resources will take you
to a home page on which you will find a specific Constitution
Day resource link.
- Center for Civic Education
The Center for Civic Education is a nonprofit,
nonpartisan educational corporation dedicated to fostering
the development of informed, responsible participation in
civic life by citizens committed to values and principles
fundamental to American constitutional democracy. Free downloadable
lesson plans are available for all grade levels.
The National Constitution Center is an independent,
non-partisan, and non-profit organization dedicated to increasing
public understanding of, and appreciation for, the Constitution,
its history, and its contemporary relevance.
Constitutional Rights Foundation is pleased to
present a series of free online lessons, resources from
the CRF catalog, and Internet links to help educators design
their own Constitution Day program. Click on New
in the upper left-hand corner.
- National Archives Teaching With Documents: Observing Constitution
On September 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional
Convention met for the last time to sign the document they
had created. The National Archives and Records Administration
celebrates this important day in our nation's history by
presenting the following activities, lesson plans, and information.
Click here for the best place to see a visual image of the actual
- The Bill of Rights Institute's Constitution Day Page
The Bill of Rights Institute is offering free educational
and programming materials to schools to help your teachers
organize events to commemorate Constitution Day, scheduled
for this year on September 16, 2005. Click visit www.BillofRightsInstitute.org to access the following:
- Two Constitution lesson plans: one for high school
and one for middle school
- A biographical essay about James Madison, the Father
of the Constitution, that includes an audio component
- A Founders Gallery that features images of the Founders
- Lesson plan about the Bill of Rights that includes
a short video
- Media-focused lesson plan on the First Amendment
- U.S. Courts Constitution Day Resources
The Federal Judiciary has provide the following
- One-Page Handouts on the Key Themes of Constitution
- Fast Facts
- Interactive Games (Flash is required)
- Courtroom and Classroom Activities and Simulations
- Federal Department
of Education Constitution Resources
- Education for Freedom
The Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center
offers lesson plans for teaching the First Amendment.
- Justice Learning
Justice Learning is an innovative, issue-based
approach for engaging high school students in informed political
discourse. The web site uses audio from the Justice Talking
radio show and articles from The New York Times to teach
students about reasoned debate and the often-conflicting
values inherent in our democracy. The web site includes
articles, editorials and oral debate from the nation's finest
journalists and advocates. All of the material is supported
by age-appropriate summaries and additional links. Constitution
Day resources are expected to be posted some time in August.
Amendment Schools: Educating for Freedom and Responsibility
First Amendment Schools: Educating for Freedom
and Responsibility is a national reform initiative designed
to transform how schools teach and practice the rights and
responsibilities of citizenship that frame civic life in
- The Illinois First Amendment Center
The mission of the Illinois First Amendment Center
is to promote First Amendment rights and responsibilities
through education designed to raise awareness of the need
to understand, preserve, and protect the First Amendment.
There are free resources to request and download, including
lessons and short video clips.
- Dirksen Congressional Center
The Dirksen Congressional Center is a non-partisan,
not-for-profit organization in Pekin, Illinois, that seeks
to improve civic engagement by promoting a better understanding
of Congress and its leaders through archival, research,
and educational programs.
The First Amendment
The web site, launched today by the John S. and
James L. Knight Foundation, offers teachers and administrators
the best available free teaching guides and lesson plans
as well as other resources like tools for starting and protecting
student newspapers and broadcast stations. Educators can
also find a short quiz on the site to test their own knowledge
and students' knowledge of the First Amendment. The web
site provides teachers with free resources to meet the new
Congressional requirements that go into effect this fall.
- Educator's Reference Desk Lesson Plans K-12
- Search for: American Constitution
- Limit Subjects to: social studies
- Limit search to appropriate grade level.
- Click on the 'Search' button to view results.
This site, sponsored by the National Endowment
for the Humanities, offers lesson plans searchable by topic
and grade level, including:
Supreme Court Cases
This site was developed to provide teachers with
a full range of resources and activities to support the
teaching of landmark Supreme Court cases, helping students
explore the key issues of each case. The "Resources" section
features basic building blocks such as background summaries
and excerpts of opinions that can be used in multiple ways.
The "Activities" section contains a range of short activities
and in-depth lessons that can be completed with students.
While these activities are online, many of them can be adapted
for use in a one-computer classroom or a classroom with
- Education World
Teaching Citizenship's Five Themes: Activities
from the editors of Weekly Reader can help develop K-6 students'
understanding of the five citizenship themes---honesty,
compassion, respect, responsibility, and courage.
Guide to Government
- Library of Congress, Federalists Papers
Flint Journal: Newspaper in Education