What’s in a Constitutional Preamble?

Students will compare the preamble of the U.S. Constitution with the preambles from two state constitutions. They will extract common themes from the three, and note key differences. The preamble to the Constitution has not been changed since its drafting; the Constitution, however, has been amended. Students will reevaluate the ideals expressed in the Preamble and consider their relevance today. They are given the chance to rewrite the Preamble, share their rationale, and explain the values contained expressed inside.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

I Have a Dream: A Civil Conversation

Understanding the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution is important because it sets out the purposes or functions of government as envisioned by the framers. This lesson opens with a group activity in which students look at the words in the Preamble and translate them into everyday language. Then students take part in a civil conversation on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Through discussion of the speech, students will delve more deeply into the meaning of the Preamble.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

Learning about the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution

This resource provides students with an English language video and associated student friendly readings (in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole), as well as reading and video guides and self assessment tools. Using these, students will explore the meaning and importance of the Preamble.
Free registration is required to use the resource.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Descriptive Text, ESL Appropriate, ESL Materials, Quizzes, Translated Materials, Video
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The Preamble to the Constitution: A Close Reading Lesson

In this lesson, students will practice close reading and analysis of the words of the Preamble and related historic documents that illuminate the meaning of the terms and how they reflect the ideas of the framers of the Constitution about the foundation and historical aims of government.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

We the Students: Writing a Class Constitution

The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution sets out the purposes or functions of American government as envisioned by the framers. Using the Preamble as a guide, students will identify the purposes of their own classroom and create a class “constitution.”

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

What Fundamental Ideas About Government Do Americans Share?

In this lesson, you will examine some of the fundamental ideas about government that are contained in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. When you have completed this lesson, you should be able to explain those ideas and identify which ideas the class holds in common. If you support these ideas, you will be given an opportunity to go online and add your signature to those of the Founders of our nation who signed the original documents.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Constitution Day Lesson Plan (Middle School)

The United States Constitution activity gives a broad overview of the purpose and structure of the Constitution. Students will examine the promise of what the Founders believed government should be by analyzing the Preamble. They will then examine how the Founders put that promise into practice in the structure of the Constitution.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 7, 8

The Preamble to the Constitution: How Do You Make a More Perfect Union?

Help your students understand, by way of primary source documents from archival sources, why the Founders found it necessary to establish a more perfect Union and what goals guided them in accomplishing such a weighty task.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 3, 4, 5

The United States Constitution (CKHG Unit)

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.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Timelines
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8