September 17 is designated as Constitution Day to commemorate the signing of the Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. The National Archives in Washington, DC, is the permanent home of the original U.S. Constitution.
Here are some resources for teaching about the Constitution on Constitution Day, or any day!
The Constitution on DocsTeach
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 For example, in “The Constitution at Work” they will match historical documents to specific wording in the Constitution to understand how our government’s actions are guided by this document.
What does the light bulb have to do with the U.S. Constitution? Or the board game “Monopoly”? How about the letter you wrote to the President when you were in elementary school? The answer to all three questions is: Plenty! – if you know your Constitution.
Our Constitution workshop is available as an online or on-paper activity. In both versions, students will analyze primary source documents, then establish each document’s constitutional relevance.
Our “Constitution at Work” program is available free of charge for both elementary grades and middle school. A National Archives facilitator will connect with your class for a fun and interactive experience via traditional videoconferencing equipment, or online via a computer with a webcam, microphone, and speakers. (Programs must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.)
We also offer “The Charters of Freedom: Building a More Perfect Union” program for elementary, middle, and high school. Students will learn about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
“Teaching the Constitution with Political Cartoons” Recorded Webinar
Join the Center for Legislative Archives to discover how to use political cartoons to teach about the Constitution. This recorded webinar, designed for middle and high school educators, covers techniques for helping students evaluate visual content and ideas for how to use political cartoons to illustrate the “Big Ideas” of the Constitution, such as separation of powers and representative government.
The History Behind the Constitution
Learn What Does it Say? How Was it Made? Who were the framers? – discover information about the Constitutional Convention and ratification process, plus dozens of fascinating facts about the Constitution on this webpage.
eBooks, Courses, and Apps
- Exploring the United States Constitution – This eBook connects primary sources to the principles of the Constitution. It can accompany the U.S. Constitution iTunes U course.
- Congress Creates the Bill of Rights – The eBook, app, and online resources situate the user in the proposals, debates, and revisions that shaped the Bill of Rights.
- Putting the Bill of Rights to the Test – This primary source-based eWorkbook helps students explore protections in the Bill of Rights and how they’ve been tested throughout history.
The Original Constitution at the National Archives Museum
And of course anyone can visit the Constitution in person at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
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