Exploring the United States Constitution eBook

Each chapter connects one or more of the billions of primary source documents in the holdings of the National Archives to the principles found in the United States Constitution. These documents exemplify the workings of the three branches of the federal government as laid out in our Constitution. This eBook is available as a Multi-Touch book for iPad and Mac on iTunes, or for PC, Android devices, Mac, iPhone, iPad, or eReader with Scribd.

  • Resource Type: Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government

Go on a learning adventure with Benjamin Franklin. Ben’s Guide is designed to inform students, parents, and educators about the workings of the Federal Government. Site content is divided into age levels. Lesson plans developed by the American Association of School Librarians are available, and games are also offered.

  • Resource Type: Descriptive Text, Games, Interactives
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Our American Government

Our American Government is a popular introductory guide for American citizens and those of other countries who seek a greater understanding of our heritage of democracy. The question-and-answer format covers a broad range of topics dealing with the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of our Government as well as the electoral process and the role of political parties. (House Document 108-94)

  • Resource Type: Books, Descriptive Text
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The Federalist Debates: Balancing Power Between State and Federal Governments

This series of activities introduces students to one of the most hotly debated issues during the formation of the American government — how much power the federal government should have — or alternatively, how much liberty states and citizens should have.

By tracing the U.S. federal system of government to its roots, established by America’s Founding Fathers in the late 18th century, student examine the controversial issue of state sovereignty versus federal power. Students compare the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution, analyzing why weaknesses in the former led to the creation of the latter. Then they examine the resulting system of government formed by the Constitution.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

Why Do People Form Governments?

This short lesson, targeting early elementary, is intended to introduce students to the concept of government and how one of the most important purposes of government is to keep us safe. Students will also be introduced to the Constitution and the three branches of government.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 1, 2, 3

govinfo.gov

govinfo.gov offers a way to discover and access Government information from the three branches of the U.S. Government. Search or browse more than 50 collections of legislative, executive, and judicial primary source content. Find: Congressional bills, hearings, or the Congressional Record; Executive orders, presidential speeches, and regulations in the Federal Register; Opinions from more than 100 U.S. courts, and more. Use govinfo.gov on any device for official, digital, and secure content.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The U.S. Census

This Current Events and the Constitution focuses on the U.S. Census. With the 2010 census now underway, some have concerns that the questions are too personal or that the federal government should not have access to this information. Do the questions on the 2010 census form exceed Congress’s constitutional mandate to count population every ten years “in such a manner as they shall by law direct”?

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Actions That Changed the Law

In 1998, when Lilly Ledbetter filed her complaint of wage discrimination against the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, her goal was to get equal pay for equal work because that was the law. She had no idea that her decision would eventually involve all three branches of government and result in a law with her name on it – the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 10, 11, 12

The Constitution in Action – State Challenges to Federal Authority: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions

Students in this simulation, as Republican members of the Kentucky and Virginia legislatures in 1798 and 1799, consider how they will oppose the Alien and Sedition Acts. Students will then act as members of other state legislatures and consider how to respond to Kentucky and Virginia. By engaging in this historical moment, students will wrestle with the ongoing tension between the Article VI, Clause 2, of the Constitution, which establishes the federal government as the “supreme Law of the Land,” and the Tenth Amendment, which reserves powers “not delegated to the United States” to the states or the people.

  • Resource Type: Interactives, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12