Your students are learning about the U.S. Constitution at such an important time during an election year and time of COVID-19 and protests. From the history of the document and its origins to how it applies today, there are so many U.S. Constitution resources for upper elementary and middle school that can make American history relevant for young people.
U.S. Constitution Resources Your Students Will Love
Constitution AnnotatedFirst, this Constitution Annotated breaks down the Constitution in language that's friendly for the modern-day public. Each part of the Constitution is also broken down and explained including:
Library of CongressNext, the Library of Congress provides instant access to primary source U.S. Constitution documents. First, one amazing resource is the original Constitution with marginal notes from George Washington. Next, another resource students will enjoy is Alexander Hamilton's papers. To start, see the primary source connection from the Founding Father made famous to a new generation through pop culture and Broadway's "Hamilton". In addition, related online resources and recommended texts for young readers also make this an important resource for studying the U.S. Constitution. Overall, seeing the documents as the Founding Fathers viewed them is an important view into U.S. History for your students.
Constitution WorkshopsAnother resource is the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration website. To begin, this site has a Constitution Workshop for students that help students make connections to the U.S. Constitution. First, review the different options for the workshops:
PBS's Constitution USAAnother great Constitutional resource is Peter Sagal's Constitution USA. This program on PBS is a great place to start with middle school American History. The site includes lesson plans that follow the video series. The series includes four episodes: First is Episode I: A More Perfect Union (Federalism). This episodes discusses the tensions involving Federalism throughout history. Next comes Episode II: It's a Free Country (Rights). How is freedom defined for citizens in the United States? Then watch Episode III: Created Equal (Equality). This episode focuses on the 14th amendment and equality, an important discussion always but especially in our current climate. Finally, view Episode IV: Built to Last? (We the People). How does the Constitution hold up today in the United States? This episode explores that question. Before watching each episode, use the ready-to-use lessons to guide instructions and discussions. After your students watch each video, lead engaging discussions over the Constitutional content.
Human Rights and the ConstitutionTeaching Tolerance provides lessons for grades 3-9 (refer to the grade level for each lesson). These lessons focus on the following essential questions as stated on the website.
BrainPOPFinally, elementary students of any age LOVE BrainPop movies and games. These are perfect for introducing U.S. Constitution concepts including the Bill of Rights, Branches of Government, the Constitutional Convention, and more! BrainPOP resources include movies, "Make-A-Movie", primary sources, quizzes, "Make-A-Map", related readings, worksheets, graphic organizers, vocabulary, and games! Before beginning any social studies unit, I always check BrainPOP for videos, games, and other resources to share with my students.
Extension ActivitiesAfter reviewing one or more of these U.S. Constitution resources with your students, extend their learning with a U.S. Constitution Escape Room!
What is an Escape Room?To begin, an escape room is a bundle of readings and puzzles that help students learn about a topic. They also find clues that help them solve a puzzle! With the U.S. Constitution Escape Room, you can introduce or review the following topics:
Overall, I love using this fun activity with students during American history! Unlike other escape rooms, there are no locks, cutting, or other prep. To begin, just print and the activities are ready-to-use! Before you begin your U.S. Constitution unit, look at these resources for upper elementary and middle school students to help inform your instruction. Finally, don't forget to check out other Escape Rooms for the Classroom, perfect for 4-8th grade students!
Find Escape Room Inspiration With Think Tank
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