Women Vote in New Jersey (1776-1807)

This short video focuses on late 18th century New Jersey—the only state which (temporarily) enfranchised (some) women. The 1776 New Jersey constitution granted voting rights to all property-owning inhabitants while the constitutions of 1790 and 1796 referred to voters as “he and she.” Professor Rosemarie Zagarri concludes that the political ideology of the American Revolution did have lasting implications for women, even though New Jersey rescinded their voting rights in 1807.

Grades 9-12
Voting, Elections, Politics
Video

The Constitution: Counter Revolution or National Salvation

It is Fall 1787. The Federal Convention has recently concluded its closed door meetings in Philadelphia and presented the nation with a new model for the government. It is now up to each special state convention to decide whether to replace the Articles of Confederation with this new constitution. The debate is passionate and speaks directly to what the founding fathers had in mind in conceiving this new nation. Does this new government represent salvation or downfall?

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)

Founding Documents: Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers Podcast

Ten days after the Constitution was signed at the Old Philadelphia State House, an anonymous op-ed appeared in the New York Journal. Signed by “”Cato,” it cautioned readers of the new Constitution to take it with a grain of salt. Even the wisest of men, it warned, can make mistakes. This launched a public debate that would last months, pitting pro-Constitution Federalists against Constitution-wary Anti-Federalists. It was a battle for ratification, and it resulted in a glimpse into the minds of our Framers – and a concession that would come to define American identity.
Our guides through the minds of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists are Claire Griffin and Cheryl Cook-Kallio.
This short episode includes a one-page Graphic Organizer for students to take notes on while listening, as well as discussion questions on the back side.

Grades 9-12, 7, 8
Foundations of Democracy
Audio

Founding Documents: The Constitution Podcast

After just six years under the Articles of Confederation, a committee of anxious delegates agreed to meet in Philadelphia to amend the government. The country was in an economic crisis — citizens couldn’t pay their debts, the government couldn’t really collect taxes, and rebellions were cropping up in states across the nation. The existing government had the potential to drive the country to ruin. So fifty-five men gathered to determine the shape of the new United States.
The document that emerged after that summer of debate was littered with masterful planning, strange ideas and unsavory concessions. The delegates decided they’d be pleased if this new government lasted fifty years. It has been our blueprint for over two centuries now. This is the story of how our Constitution came to be.
This short episode includes a one-page Graphic Organizer for students to take notes on while listening, as well as discussion questions on the back side.

Article VII: Ratification

After months of debate during the hot Philadelphia summer, on September 17, 1787, the Constitutional Convention finally adjourned and the new Constitution was signed, but it was not the law of the land yet. According to Article VII of the document, nine of 13 states would have to ratify (or approve) the new Constitution before it would officially replace the Articles of Confederation as our governing document.

Grades 12, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Foundations of Democracy
Media

Environmentalism Then and Now

This PowerPoint presentation uses modern environmental images juxtaposed with historic images and facts, and then asks students: Is Going Green new? While it is clear that environmentalism and the environmental movement, even environmental law, are historic, it is worth discussing how today’s movement is different from the past. Today there are stricter laws, policy initiatives, social networks, and new technologies.

New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985)

This case summary provides teachers with everything they need to teach about New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985). It contains background information in the form of summaries and important vocabulary at three different reading levels, as well a review of relevant legal concepts, diagram of how the case moved through the court system, and summary of the decision. This resource also includes seven classroom-ready activities that teach about the case using interactive methods.

Grades 12, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
Lesson Plans

The Bill of Rights: Debating the Amendments

In this lesson, students will examine a copy of twelve possible amendments to the United States Constitution as originally sent to the states for their ratification in September of 1789. Students will debate and vote on which of these amendments they would ratify and compare their resulting “Bill of Rights” to the ten amendments ratified by ten states that have since been known by this name.

Grades 11, 12, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Legislative Branch/Congress
Lesson Plans

The Constitution: Drafting a More Perfect Union

Students will analyze an unidentified historical document and draw conclusions about what this document was for, who created it, and why. After the document is identified as George Washington’s annotated copy of the Committee of Style’s draft constitution, students will compare its text to that of an earlier draft by the Committee of Detail to understand its evolution.

Grades 9-12
Legislative Branch/Congress
Lesson Plans