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US Constitution Unit Study

Updated on November 28, 2014

Learning about the Constitution

As young future American voters, children need to learn about forms of government, laws, and choices we can make in America. The following is a unit my children and I studied to help them make wise decisions in the coming years.

I hope you have as much fun as we did learning about this important subject! =D

Graphic created by JoyfulPamela.

Our Constitution Lapbook - Free Student & Teacher Materials!

Constitution Day is September 17th!

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United States Documents - Law Before the Constitution

Our government system in America can be traced back to England in 1215 when King John of England was "encouraged" by force to sign the Magna Carta which entitled jury trials, due process of law, and representation in law making bodies for all English citizens. This led to the formation of English Parliament over the years. The English Petition of Rights (1628) and The English Bill of Rights (1689) were predecessors to the United States Bill of Rights.

What forms of law and government existed in America before the Constitution was written? There were several document which created laws for the colonists ~ The Mayflower Compact, Colonial Charters & Constitutions, The Declaration of Independence, and The Articles of Confederation.

Liberty's Kids - "We the People"

Great Kid's Books

Children ages elementary through middle school will enjoy these books about the Constitution! We found these at our local library.

We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States
We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States

There are so many wonderful books for children about the Constitution, the government, and American history. Here are some of my favorites!

- "We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States" by David Catrow,

- "A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our Constitution" by Betsy Maestro,

- "Shh! We're Writing the Constitution" by Jean Fritz and Tomie dePaola,

- "If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution" by Elizabeth Levy and Joan Holub

- "Constitution Translated for Kids" by Cathy Travis

- "The Declaration of Independence: How 13 Colonies Became the United States" by Syl Sobel

- "The U.S. Constitution and You" by Syl Sobel

- "The Bill of Rights: Protecting Our Freedom Then and Now" by Syl Sobel

- "How the U.S. Government Works" by Syl Sobel

- "Presidential Elections: And Other Cool Facts" by Syl Sobel

 

The Preamble - We the People ...

Starting this document are these well known words which bring us together as a nation.

"We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Such thought and care must have been put into each word in forming this new government. The meaning behind them is overwhelming beautiful!

Declaration & Preamble Videos

Studying the Constitution

There are tons of fabulous resources for your study of the Constitution, government, and civics! Since I have children in elementary, middle, and high school, I tried to find a large range of comprehension levels for them.

"A Mice Way to Learn"

House Mouse, Senate Mouse
House Mouse, Senate Mouse

This series of books is so cute and fun for your younger students to enjoy and learn about government at the same time. Look also for Woodrow for President: A Tail of Voting, Campaigns, Woodrow, the White House Mouse, Marshall, the Courthouse Mouse: A Tail of the U.S. Supreme Court, and A Mice Way to Learn About the Government Curriculum Guide.

 

Legislative Branch - Article I of the Constitution

The Legislative Branch makes the laws.

~ See the 2 L's there? Legislative - Law

See below for two super Schoolhouse Rock vids

"3 Ring Government" and "How a Bill Becomes a Law"!

Schoolhouse Rock! - & Other Fun Educational Videos

Scholastic Books

The Constitution of the United States (True Books)
The Constitution of the United States (True Books)

This is only one from the fabulous Scholastic "True Books" series where you can find all the facts for kids (and adults)! Others in the series are: The Bill of Rights, The Presidency, The Supreme Court, and The Congress. The pictures are colorful and eye catching while the text is informative yet simply stated for all ages.

 

Executive Branch - Article II of the Constitution

The President, Vice President, and their advisors enforce the laws.

See above for another Schoolhouse Rock video, "Electoral College".

Rock & Learn with Schoolhouse Rock!

Schoolhouse Rock: America Rock
Schoolhouse Rock: America Rock

What a great way to learn and retain important facts through catchy tunes! If you are in my generation, I'm sure you learned many educational concepts via catchy tunes from Schoohouse Rock that you still remember. Now with modern technology, my students and your can memorize the Preamble to the Constitution, learn about the congress with "I'm Just a Bill ... up on Capitol Hill" and others. This set contains historical themes in "America Rock". There are also recordings which contain other subjects such as science and language arts so you can get your money's worth on multiple subjects. (Amazon even has a School House Rock Songbook by Hal Leonard publishers written for piano / guitar / vocal if you prefer to sing it live.)

 

Judicial Branch - Article III of the Constitution

The Judicial Branch interprets or explains the laws; they decide if something is constitutional or not. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the country. Cases usually start on the local and state level and build their way up if the original rulings are appealed. One chief justice is resides above the eight associate judges who also work on the cases. The judges are chosen by the President, and approved by the Congress. Their appointment is for life.

A Judiciary Branch mini book is in the lapbook pieces file.

What else does it say? - Articles IV, V, VI, and VII

IV ~ Full Faith & Credit Clause: States work together in accepting one anothers laws.

V ~ Amendments - Changing the Constitution: In order for the Constitution to be changed or amended, 2/3 of the legislature must propose the amendment, and ¾ of the states must ratify or approve it.

VI ~ Supremacy Clause: There is no higher law in the land than the Constitution.

VII ~ Ratification: When the constitution was first introduced to the states in 1787, 9 out of the 13 colonies had to ratify or approve it before it became law.

Living Document: A living document is a document that changes and grows with the nation.

The Contitutional Convention & Signers

Who were these men and what did they discuss at this ever so important convention? Research to find out.

The Bill of Rights & Amendments

The Bill of Rights gives us so many freedoms that we take for granted! I am so grateful for the freedom of religion, press, speech, assembly, petition, and the others that our country has fought hard for!

Special thanks to those who serve our country to bring us these liberties!! :)

The Constitution has been amended or changed a total of 27 times to help the nation grow.

A DVD History of the US Constitution

A DVD History of the US Constitution (1619-2005)
A DVD History of the US Constitution (1619-2005)

Over 4 hours of footage help all who wish to learn move about the Constitution's history.

 
Constitution Lapbook Unit
Constitution Lapbook Unit

Hands of a Child Units

I love units, lapbooks, and project packs from Hands of a Child! I have used several of them. They contain easy to read information pages followed by several mini book templates for your students to take notes about what they learned!

~ The United States Constitution Unit

~ American Government Lapbook Unit

~ American Government Notebook Pack

~ Declaration of Independence Unit

~ Study a President Unit

~ Election Lapbook Curriculum

~ Benjamin Franklin Lapbook Unit

Constitution Webquests

Webquests can be such a fun way to learn about a topic and strengthen valuable internet research skills as well. Enjoy your quest!

Declaration on Independence Notebook
Declaration on Independence Notebook

Excellent Resources!

Find these awesome Declaration on Independence notebook pages from Notebooking Nook.

Review & Evaluation - Here are some ideas for checking your students comprehension!

Walk Through the Constitution - Board game that my children made for review. (You may download it for free at one of the above links to our blog.)

Preamble ~ use the "Preamble Order Game" to practice the preamble - write the preamble by memory on the notebook page - sing the "Preamble" Song by Schoolhouse Rock

Constitution Timeline Chart- match and sequence events! Fill in the blank charts with events.

Constitution Vocabulary - play a matching game.

Amendment Challenge - name as many of the amendments in the Bill of Rights and others that you can in 60 seconds!

Share your lapbook with friends and relatives telling them about the things you've learned!

Review your Constitution Outline.

Notebook Pages ~ write a paragraph about main points of the Constitution; write a paragraph with suggestions for a better government ~ check below for other writing ideas.

Check the Constitution Resource Guide for extra websites, lesson plans, book list, worksheets, webquests, quizzes, games, and other interesting things to add to your study and lapbook / notebook!

Write a letter to your state or national representatives thanking them for their work; or, request information pamphlets about the Constitution or state and national government.

Visit one of your local government buildings or representative offices.

Write a play about the making of the Constitution; act it out with your friends or family.

Compose a song about the Bill of Rights or any aspect of the Constitution.

Play some of the online games listed here!

Did you enjoy learning something new? :)

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    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Wow! Nicely done and so thorough. This is wonderful. Thank you!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I am amazed at how much info you have accumulated and put together! Thank you so much for sharing it!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      thank you thank you thank you we are going to study the constitution next school year and you have saved me so much time. everything is so orderly and easy to use. i wish that every lapbook site was set up like this one. kudos for a job well done.

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 7 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      Pamela! Welcome to Squidoo! This is WONDERFUL! What a thorough resource you've put together. And thanks for all the freebies. I'm totally impressed with your work here!

      You're officially blessed!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Oh my! I can't thank you enough for all your wonderful information! We will be studying this in the fall and this will be a fantastic resource!

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