Making the Constitution (CKHG Unit)

Students who listen to this Grade 2 Core Knowledge History and Geography unit discover that Americans had a difficult task at hand after winning the Revolutionary War: they had to figure out a better way to govern themselves. Such leaders as James Madison, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin traveled to Philadelphia to meet at the Constitutional Convention, with the goal of creating a new government. Students learn that the talks were held in secret in Independence Hall and that American leaders argued about many issues until they agreed to approve a new Constitution. They then hear that James Madison (whom we call the Father of the Constitution), along with John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, wrote the Federalist Papers to explain the document’s merits and to persuade the states to vote for it. Students find out that the states did finally approve the Constitution; that Madison wrote a Bill of Rights that was added to it; that the Constitution gives the American people the right to decide what the laws should be for our country; and that we can still amend it today.(5 lessons)

Amendment Worth A Thousand Words

With many pictures posted all over every social media platform, the #amendmentworthathousandwords’ overall mission will be to enlighten many of the rights promised to people by the Constitution. Through this challenge, many will become aware of their rights and what the Constitution does not only for them, but for all Americans as well! Lesson plan by Eboni Jenerette

The United States Constitution (CKHG Unit)

The United States Constitution

This unit explores the creation and central ideas of the United States Constitution. Across 18 lessons, students learn how, after the Revolution, the Founding Fathers worked to confront the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation. They learn why the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution, and explore reasons why the Constitution has survived as the guiding document of government in the United States.

Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Foundations of Democracy
Assessments

“Father” of Our Country v. “Father” of the Bill of Rights

At the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, delegates analyzed, argued, and debated the new Constitution. George Mason, a Virginian, pleaded with the fifty-five delegates for the inclusion of a list of guaranteed rights. Mason (sometimes referred to as the “father of the Bill of Rights”) wanted the new Constitution to guarantee freedom of speech, press, and religion, and the right to a fair jury trial. He also wanted to include the freedom to vote.

Presidency on Trial: Assessing the Limits of Presidential Power

As they framed the Constitution, many of the Founding Fathers were wary of a powerful chief executive who might overshadow the legislative branch. By constructing the separation of powers within the federal government with a system of checks and balances, the Framers sought to limit the power of the president. Students will investigate not only the formal checks as laid out in the Constitution, but also explore the informal checks on presidential power that have emerged in the modern era. Free registration required to access lesson plan.

John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison and Judicial Review—How the Court Became Supreme

If James Madison was the “father” of the Constitution” John Marshall was the “father of the Supreme Court”—almost single-handedly clarifying its powers. This new lesson is designed to help students understand Marshall’s brilliant strategy in issuing his decision on Marbury v. Madison, the significance of the concept of judicial review, and the language of this watershed case.

Celebrating the Founders

This short video explores why Americans celebrate the Founding generation. Americans point to a “founding moment” and, from the country’s earliest days, celebrated this “moment” on July 4. The first individuals to be honored were military leaders like George Washington; later, individuals who created the nation’s government were celebrated. Professor Daniel Dreisbach draws parallels between the commemoration of Washington as “Father” of the country and Moses as “Father” of the Hebrew nation.

Grades 10, 11, 12
Foundations of Democracy
Video

The Story of the Bill of Rights

This documentary tells the story of these individual freedoms that often are taken for granted today. But in 1787, when they were first discussed at the Constitutional Convention, the Founding Fathers rejected them. Why were these rights controversial then? The full story about these rights, including what they say and what they mean, is explained. Ten short videos examine each of the amendments in the Bill of Rights.

Grades 12, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Foundations of Democracy
Closed Captions

James Madison Lesson 1: Madison Was There

Why is James Madison such an important figure? Why is he known as the “Father of the Constitution”? How involved was James Madison in the most important events in America from 1775 to 1817? The answers to these questions provide context for understanding the importance of James Madison’s opinions on constitutional issues. They also should help students appreciate Madison’s position as a president embroiled in disputes over the meaning of the document he had inspired.

Grades 6, 7, 8
Foundations of Democracy
Essays