We Rule: Civics for All of US is a new national civic education initiative from the National Archives that promotes civic literacy and engagement through programming, curricula, and exceptional field trip experiences both online and at our locations across the country.
As the home of the original United States Constitution, we’re debuting two new interactive distance learning programs for elementary school that will help students explore the big ideas of this founding document and connect it to their own lives. Our live programs and corresponding pre- and post- program activities draw upon the vast holdings of the National Archives to promote the knowledge, skills, and dispositions students need for civic engagement in the 21st century.
As September 17th commemorates the signing of the Constitution in Philadelphia in 1787, we will be offering special, webinar-style presentations of the two new programs for grades K-5 around Constitution Day.
The Constitution Rules! for Grades K–2
In this 30-minute program, students will explore the idea of different responsibilities in their community and analyze images that highlight the jobs of the three branches of government as outlined in the Constitution.
- September 15, 16, and 17 at 10:00 a.m. ET
- September 22, 23, 24 at 2:00 p.m. ET
The Constitution and Our Community for Grades 3–5
In this 45-minute program, students will explore the idea of community, hone their primary source analysis skills by examining government records, and connect the Constitution to their own lives.
- September 15, 16, 17 at 2:00 p.m. ET
- September 22, 23, 24 at 10:00 a.m. ET
Can’t make the Constitution Week webinar events?
Live distance learning programs will be available by request from the National Archives, taught by its educators located nationwide including the Presidential Libraries. Programs are designed for Grades K-2 and 3-5 and for groups of 10 or more students. Registration begins September 15, 2021. Check www.archives.gov/education/civic-education for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be notified when registration opens.
Additional K-12 Resources for Teaching the Constitution
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.
Featured activities include:
The Constitution at Work – In this activity for grades 8–12, students will analyze documents that span the course of American history to determine their connection to the U.S. Constitution. Students will then make connections between the primary sources they have examined and sections of the Constitution, and determine the big idea(s) found in the Constitution exemplified by each.
We the People – In this activity for grades 6-12, students will examine the original and final drafts of the Constitution and evaluate the significance of the selection of the words “We the People.”
Comparing the Constitutional Process of Taking Office in Political Cartoons – Students in grades 6-12 will analyze and compare three political cartoons by Clifford Berryman to distinguish who puts Members of Congress, the President, and Supreme Court Justices in office. They will connect each political cartoon to the process of taking office as outlined in the Constitution.
The Three Branches of Government – In this activity for grades 3–5, students will use a Venn diagram to match primary source documents and photographs representing various functions of the government to their corresponding branch (or branches) of government.
Ebooks and Apps
Exploring the United States Constitution – This eBook connects primary sources to the principles of the Constitution.
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.
Making the Constitution
On the main National Archives webpage about the Constitution, learn about the Constitutional Convention, discover how this founding document was made, access a transcript and more.
National Archives Comes Alive! Young Learners Program: Meet James Madison
Thursday, September 16, 2021 – 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EDT
View on YouTube
During this program, James Madison, as portrayed by historical performer John Douglas Hall, explains the writing of the Constitution and its ratification from the perspective of Madison in 1821. Madison was given the title of “Father of the Constitution” by his colleagues for his crucial role in drafting the Constitution and its ratification.