A New Nation – Constitution and Constitutional Convention Lesson Plans


lesson plansWinning independence was easy compared to the difficult task of building a new nation. Lessons in this section will focus on the Constitution, first presidents and foreign affairs in the early years of our nation’s existence.

Check out this blog post with resources I use in my classroom every year!

Influential Government Document Inquiry Activity:
How the Magna Carta, English Bill of Rights and Mayflower Compact impacted the development of American government.

Constitution Pocket Guide
This is a resource that I use each year in which students create their own “book” about the Constitution.  The pages have graphic organizers that allows them to organize their Constitution notes in a user-friendly way.  You could have the students actually create a book by designing a cover and creatively binding it, or you can cut out the pages and tape/glue them into their notes journal.

To what extend did the Articles of Confederation provide the United States with an effective government?
This lesson from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of America History includes three lessons that explore the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation.  Accessing this information does require a username and password but creating an account is FREE (my favorite word) and the website is filled with incredible resources.

Could the Constitution be written without compromise?
You just can’t teach the Constitution without emphasizing the importance of compromise.  I find myself preaching compromise every single year until I’m blue in the face.  Why not have the students explore this issue on their own?  This unit from the Gilder Lehrman Institute includes 5 lessons that explore the compromises of the Constitutional Convention.

How did political parties take shape?
My students have a lot of questions about political parties and why they exist.  This unit from the Gilder Lehrman Institute includes 4 lessons that explore the party system, Washington’s views on political parties and how parties came to be.

Is Compromise Always Fair?
This inquiry allows students to investigate the fairness of compromise by examining documents related to the adoption of the Great Compromise.  You can download the lessons in PDF or DOC format from C3teachers.org for free!

Can the Structure of the US Government Prevent a Dictatorship?
This inquiry from the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School District (KY) is designed for 10th grade but can be modified to fit a lower grade level.  Students investigate primary sources to determine if the Constitution organizes our government in a way that protects us from dictatorship.  This is a great inquiry that will allow students to really connect to the Constitution.


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