Abraham Lincoln’s Fragment of the Constitution & the Union (1861): The Purpose of the Union

This lesson will examine Abraham Lincoln’s brief but insightful reflection on the importance of the ideal of individual liberty to the constitutional structure and operation of the American union.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

César Chávez Collection

On March 31, we celebrate César Chávez Day. Chávez, a civil rights and labor activist, co-founded the United Farm Workers Union and used nonviolent protests to fight for the rights of laborers. The Share My Lesson team has identified lesson plans and resources you can use in your classes to help teach your students about César Chávez.

  • Resource Type: Audio, Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

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

Reconstructing a Nation

This unit provides a backdrop for the social, political, and economic changes that accompanied the Reconstruction amendments. A 30-minute video explains the events leading to Reconstruction, and introduces three individuals who played different roles — an African-American U.S. senator, a college-educated former plantation mistress, and a former Union Army officer who went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad. All dealt with upheaval and opportunity during this tumultuous period.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Editorial Cartoons, Essays, Media, Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources), Special Needs/Language Focus, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Abraham Lincoln and Executive Power

This lesson traces the rise of Abraham Lincoln from his humble beginnings to the presidency. It examines Lincoln’s ideas and decisions regarding slavery and the use of presidential power to preserve the Union during the Civil War. After the lesson, students should be able to explain how Lincoln overcame daunting disadvantages to become a great president, analyze and evaluate his decisions in response the critical constitutional issues of the Civil War, and understand and appreciate his legacy to American constitutionalism and citizenship.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 9, 10

A More Perfect Union: George Washington and the Making of the Constitution

This animated video highlights the Constitutional Convention and George Washington’s role in the formation of the new government. Events covered in the video include the causes leading to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, the numerous compromises included in the document, and the challenges in ratifying the Constitution. The video has a run time of 23 minutes, and is broken into three chapters for easy navigation.

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

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.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Legislative Branch/Congress
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

A More Perfect Union

This resource introduces students to the U.S. Constitution. Students watch a slide show on the Constitution, then in pairs they answer “enduring questions” about the Constitution, and finally as a class, they hold a discussion on these questions.

  • Resource Type: Games, Photography, Research (Digests of Primary Sources), Timelines
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12