September 17 is designated as Constitution Day to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787.
The National Archives in Washington, DC, is the permanent home of the original United States Constitution. Here are a few resources that you can use to talk about the Constitution with your students on Constitution Day or any time.
Help your students understand ideas like checks and balances, separation of powers, amendments, the Bill of Rights, slavery and the Constitution, and more through primary sources and online activities on our special Constitution page on DocsTeach.org.
Students can connect primary sources that span the course of American history to the principles found in the Constitution. For example, in “The Constitution at Work” they will match historical documents to specific wording in the Constitution to understand how our government’s actions are guided by this document.
Congress Creates the Bill of Rights
You and your students can explore how the First Congress proposed amendments to the Constitution in 1789 in “Congress Creates the Bill of Rights.” This package, including eBook, mobile app for tablets, and online teaching resources, shows how the ratification of the Constitution necessitated the creation of the Bill of Rights, and how the creation of the Bill of Rights, in turn, completed the Constitution.
Constitution eBook and iTunes U Course
Learn about the Constitutional Convention, drafting and ratifying the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the three branches of our Federal government, and how the National Archives is preserving our Constitution in a Constitution course on iTunes U. Or read “Exploring the United States Constitution,” an eBook that explores the Constitutional roots of the three branches of our government while featuring connections to historical documents in the holdings of the National Archives.
The Preamble Challenge
The National Archives is a partner organization in the Civics Renewal Network, an alliance of nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations committed to increasing the quality of civics education in our nation’s schools and improving accessibility to high-quality, no-cost learning materials.
You can Celebrate Constitution Day with the Civics Renewal Network by signing up to take the Preamble Challenge, a nationwide celebration on September 16, and access a free Teacher Toolkit.
The Challenge is a fun, easy way to fulfill the Byrd Amendment, which requires educational institutions that receive federal funding to teach about the Constitution on Constitution Day. You can even share photos of your classroom activity on Twitter or Instagram using #ConstitutionDay2016 and visit CivicsRenewalNetwork.org on Constitution Day to see what other classes are doing!
The Original Constitution at the National Archives Museum
Anyone can visit the Constitution in person at the National Archives. And online visitors can learn about the creation and history of the Constitution, and meet America’s Founding Fathers, in the “The Charters of Freedom” online exhibit.
The Constitution-in-Action Learning Lab
You can plan a trip to the National Archives in Washington, DC, to participate in a Constitution-in-Action Learning Lab. School groups, families, and other groups of civic-minded individuals can take on the roles of archivists and researchers completing a very important assignment: providing the President of the United States with real-life examples of our Constitution in action.