By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki
Constitution Day is celebrated on Monday, Sept. 17, in the United States to commemorate the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 brave men on September 17, 1787. This important day in the nation’s history presents a key opportunity for social studies teachers to get their students interested in U.S. history and examine its relevance today.
On this same day, we also celebrate Citizenship Day, recognizing people who are taking steps to become U.S. citizens.
We encourage you to begin preparing now so that you can celebrate Constitution Day in your classroom with students who have a full appreciation of the important document they are commemorating and want to celebrate what it means to their lives.
Curriki offers a number of sources for rich, interactive materials to help you teach thoughtfully and comprehensively about the Constitution and the founding of the United States of America. Here are some of our favorites:
The National Constitution Center
Curriki’s partner the National Constitution Center offers a number of materials on Curriki’s site to acquaint your students with this important document. They include:
- The United States Constitution – In this lesson, students will study the Constitution from three perspectives, looking at its structure, content and underlying principles. The same lesson is also available for English Language Learners (ELL).
- Interactive Constitution – Constitutional experts interact with each other to explore the Constitution’s history and what it means today. For each provision of the Constitution, scholars of different perspectives discuss what they agree upon, and what they disagree about.
Voices of History from Bill of Rights Institute
The Bill of Rights Institute provides quality, primary-source based resources to civics educators across the country. Its Voices of History collection is especially vivid and relevant. Resources include:
- Founders and the Constitution: In Their Own Words – This introduces students to 24 individuals who had a direct impact on the founding of our constitutional government, analyzes their writings, and appreciates each Founder’s role in shaping our government.
- The Constitutional Powers of Congress – In the early republic, Congress was a colorful, exciting, unpredictable, and contentious branch of the United States government. The members constantly quarreled but often deliberated and compromised through persuasive oratory and rational conversation. Follow them through this rocky ride.
- How Does the Constitution Protect Liberty? – The Founders listed several rights guaranteed to the people in the first eight amendments of the Bill of Rights – then added a Ninth Amendment to protect the rights of the people that were not listed in the first Eight. This lesson explores the nature of these unnamed rights and examines the arguments around who should interpret them, judges or the people.
- Being an American – Through primary source analysis, writing assignments, discussion prompts and other activities, students will “connect the dots” by focusing on the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, civic values, American heroes, and exploring the meaning of citizenship to them. (This resource is also available for English Language Learners (ELL).
Constitution in Spanish
Your Spanish-speaking students will appreciate having the ability to read the U.S. Constitution in Spanish here.
Webinar on Civil Discourse
Want to go even deeper? Curriki plans to hold a free webinar entitled “Civil Discourse in a Republic: Using Historical Context to Discuss the Importance of Civility” to help teachers use historical context to discuss the importance of civility in republican self-government.
This webinar, scheduled for on Wed., Sept. 12, at 3 PM ET, will discuss the importance of civil discourse to the health of a republic and provide teachers with tools to foster civil discourse in their classrooms. Register here.
There will be an archive available afterward if you can’t make the webinar. To receive a notification, sign up for Curriki’s monthly enewsletter.
Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.
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