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 For example, in “The Constitution at Work” they will match historical documents to specific wording in the Constitution to understand how our government’s actions are guided by this document.
Distance learning programs are free of charge and are offered for 4th-8th grades. A National Archives facilitator will connect with your class for a fun and interactive experience via traditional videoconferencing equipment or through a web-based platform. (Programs must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.)
- The Constitution at Work: Elementary Edition, for grades 4-5
- The Constitution at Work: Middle School Edition, for grades 6-8
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an eBook that explores the Constitutional roots of the three branches of our government while featuring connections to historical documents in the holdings of the National Archives.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 Original Constitution at the National Archives Museum
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.