The Writing of the U.S. Constitution


Social Studies American History Constitution and Government The Writing of the U.S. Constitution
Students create a chart of what they know about the U.S. Constitution. Then they learn about two issues that arose during the writing of the Constitution and the compromises: state representation within the legislature and the Bill of Rights. Next they read some quotes and identify the author: James Madison or George Mason, and explain how they know. Finally, they examine the positions on slavery among delegates to the Constitutional Convention and take a personal stand on whether the Constitution should address the issue of slavery.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

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Here are the teacher pack items for The Writing of the U.S. Constitution:

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Overview

In this experience, students create a chart of what they know about the U.S. Constitution. Then they learn about two issues that arose during the writing of the Constitution and the compromises: state representation within the legislature and the Bill of Rights. Next they read some quotes and identify the author: James Madison or George Mason, and explain how they know. Finally, they examine the positions on slavery among delegates to the Constitutional Convention and take a personal stand on whether the Constitution should address the issue of slavery.

The focus of this experience is historical points of view and the need for compromise within a government. Note that scene 4 is optional and you may tell some or all students to skip it.

Estimated duration: 35-60 minutes, depending on whether you include scene 4

Vocabulary words:

  • fundamental
  • operation
  • consolidated
  • preserve
  • abolish
  • tyranny

Objectives

  • Identify the events that led to the writing of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Describe the debate over ratification of the U.S. Constitution.


Engage


Today, the U.S. Constitution defines the nation’s government, fundamental laws, and basic rights of its citizens. This document was the outcome of much debate and compromise as the nation’s leaders drafted and signed it, and before it was ratified by the general public to become the official law of the land. In this experience, you will learn about some of the debates and the compromises made in drafting the Constitution.

Objectives

  • Identify the events that led to the writing of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Describe the debate over ratification of the U.S. Constitution.


George Washington addressing the delegates at the Constitutional Convention

Washington as Statesman at the Constitutional Convention,
by Junius Brutus Stearns (1856)


Before learning about how the U.S. Constitution was written and ratified, review what you know about the document.


Post a fact you know about the Constitution. If someone has already posted your fact, try to think of a different one.



Review what students know about the U.S. Constitution and correct any misconceptions.

Key ideas:
  • It defines the federal government.
  • It divides the power of the federal government into three branches.
  • It provides a system of checks and balances to limit the government.
  • The legislative branch enacts the laws.
  • The executive branch executes the laws.
  • The judicial branch interprets the laws.
  • The Constitution has seven articles.
  • It has 27 amendments.
  • The first 10 amendments are called the Bill of Rights.
  • The Bill of Rights protects individual freedoms.


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