The History of Constitution Day
Constitution Day became a national observance in 2004, when Congress passed an amendment proposed by Sen. Robert Byrd that designated September 17 as the day for citizens to commemorate the signing of the Constitution and learn more about our founding document. Senator Byrd said, “Our ideals of freedom, set forth and realized in our Constitution, are our greatest export to the world.” He added the Constitution Day amendment to a federal spending bill because he believed that all citizens should know about their constitutional rights. This amendment mandates the teaching of the Constitution at educational institutions that receive federal funds, as well as federal agencies.
Check out these lesson plans for all grade levels to use on Constitution Day.
Watch these videos to learn about the three branches of government, the founders and the Constitution.
To Sign or Not to Sign! Download a poster of the Constitution for your classroom. Use our lesson plan and have a classroom signing (or not) party.
Looking for simple, fun ways to get your students interested in the Preamble? Try one of our craft activities to learn the words, make a prop, or just have a little fun with the Constitution.
Here is all you need to get started making your own Preamble Challenge T-shirts.
- You must buy T-shirt transfer paper. You can usually find this in a local craft store, or buy from Amazon. Be sure to get enough for all your students, plus a few extra.
- You will also need T-shirts. Plain white works well, but light/bright colors also will work. Ask your students their size and buy a shirt for each of them. You could also have each student bring in a T-shirt.
- Print the design in this kit on the transfer paper. Be sure to follow the directions that accompany sheets. Usually, transfer paper cannot go into a laser printer, or copy machine, so you may need to track down an ink-jet printer. You will notice that the design will originally print as a mirror image. This is so it will appear the correct way on the finished product.
- Use an iron to transfer the image from the paper onto a T-shirt. If your students are old enough, they can help, or perhaps parents and other volunteers can lend a hand.
- Remind all students to wear their Preamble T-shirt on Constitution Day!