TeachersFirst's Constitution Day Resources

Other TeachersFirst Special Topics Collections

This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about the United States Constitution and to plan projects and classroom activities so students can experience the Constitution as a "living document." Whether you spend one class in celebration of Constitution Day or an entire unit on the Constitution, the ideas included in the "In the Classroom" portion of reviews will launch discussions and projects your students will not forget.

 

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America Goes to War: an Infographic - New England College

Grades
8 to 12
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What does it mean to go to war? This simple infographic shows the Constitutional process by which the United States declares war, traces the history of each of the U.S. ...more
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What does it mean to go to war? This simple infographic shows the Constitutional process by which the United States declares war, traces the history of each of the U.S. declarations of war, and differentiates among formal declarations, military actions, and Presidential or Congressional authorizations of force.

tag(s): civil war (146), congress (32), constitution (72), presidents (126), war of 1812 (14), world war 1 (55), world war 2 (156)

In the Classroom

Was the U.S. at war? What powers does the U.S. President have to declare war, and how have Presidents used those powers historically? A powerful, but simple infographic delineates the legal and Constitutional differences among U.S. wars historically. Share the infographic on an interactive whiteboard, or embed on your classroom website for reference.

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60-Second Civics - The Center for Civic Education

Grades
7 to 12
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60 Second Civics offers podcasts covering one important concept at a time in 60-second narratives. They are updated daily. Short Attention Span? This site is perfect for you! There...more
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60 Second Civics offers podcasts covering one important concept at a time in 60-second narratives. They are updated daily. Short Attention Span? This site is perfect for you! There are nearly 2000 podcasts to explore. You can subscribe to the podcast series through an RSS feed, on iTunes, or access them directly through the website. Unfortunately, they do not seem to be searchable by theme or content, so you'll just need to scroll through them if you're looking for a specific topic or issue. Tip: when you hover your cursor over the word PLAY, it doesn't change to a pointing hand. Click on the word anyway to start the podcast. 60-Second Civics is part of a larger site that contains lesson plans, teacher resources, video clips, and a photo gallery on all aspects of citizenship.

tag(s): bill of rights (27), branches of government (47), constitution (72)

In the Classroom

Need a quick lesson starter or attention grabber at the beginning or end of each class? Try a 60-second Civics lesson. If you access the day's podcast via the website, you'll also find a one-question multiple choice quiz that relates to the podcast so you can check for content acquisition. These podcasts are perfect for a civics or government class! Share the podcasts on your projector (or interactive whiteboard) so the entire class can hear the podcast and see the quiz at the end. If you are the adviser for the school news program, these would be a terrific addition, ready to go for you every day. During the run-up to Consitution Day in September, include these in the morning PA announcements. Load the podcast on iTouches or other mobile devices in the media center for students to browse and learn. Encourage students to create their own "stump the teacher" or "stump the student citizen" quizzes based on these podcasts. Use one of the many poll/quiz tools in the TeachersFirst Edge.

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CurriConnects Booklist: By the People - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Find books about how our U.S. government works and how to take part in that process. These books include topics such as with what it means to be a citizen, ...more
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Find books about how our U.S. government works and how to take part in that process. These books include topics such as with what it means to be a citizen, how our government works, and the tough decisions that people make -- both citizens and those who work in government. Discover civics-related topics such as voting, creating laws, enforcing laws, and the underlying principles of democracy. The collection includes both true and fictional tales about communities and government and books for all grade levels. CurriConnects thematic book lists include ISBN numbers for ordering or searching, interest grade levels, ESL levels and Lexiles''''® to match student independent reading levels to challenge, not frustrate. For more on text complexity and Lexiles''''®, see this information from the Lexile Framework. Don't miss other CurriConnects themes being added regularly. If your library does not have the books, try interlibrary loan!

tag(s): book lists (123), branches of government (47), congress (32), constitution (72), presidents (126)

In the Classroom

Encourage students to select independent reading from this list as part of a citizenship unit, as a focus for Constitution Day, or in a civics/government class.

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Constitution Day - ConstitutionDay.com

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5 to 12
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Learn about the U.S. Constitution and the amendments. See the documents and short biographies of each of the founding fathers. Click links to images of the Constitution on the right...more
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Learn about the U.S. Constitution and the amendments. See the documents and short biographies of each of the founding fathers. Click links to images of the Constitution on the right side of the home page. Although this site is short on original content, the founding father biographies make it a worthwhile visit when studying the Constitution and figures in American History. The number of ads for political races hint that the site may have a political bias.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): bill of rights (27), colonial america (107), constitution (72), philadelphia (13)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students as a resource for reading and viewing the Constitution. Use this site as a resource for biographical information of the founding fathers of the Constitution. This is a great resource for Constitution Day!

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Today's Document - Jon White Studio

Grades
6 to 12
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Today's Document is an excellent daily history site based on an RSS feed from the National Archives. This specific page comes up on Constitution Day. Cartoons illustrate the history...more
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Today's Document is an excellent daily history site based on an RSS feed from the National Archives. This specific page comes up on Constitution Day. Cartoons illustrate the history of the document, and link each drawing to the original, primary source document on National Archives with an invitation to dig deeper. Search the archives for previous entries or scroll back through daily cartoons. Explanations often include links to further historical information or click on included tags for similar resources. This site includes documents for several days each month. The site seems to have stopped in 2010, but you can browse back through many valuable documents and explanations, since the "originals" being discussed are historic, not current.

tag(s): american revolution (84), civil war (146), constitution (72), jefferson (19), lincoln (85), presidents (126), segregation (15), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Today's Document would make a fantastic discussion starter in any classroom. It is an interesting, visual way for students to acquire background knowledge about American history and/or the Constitution and government. You may want to display a document on your interactive whiteboard as a bell-ringer (opener) activity, or as a story starter in English class. Cover up the cartoon explanation, and ask students to discuss events that they think took place. In U.S.history, government, or civics classes, use the site as an example, then challenge students to create their own comics to explain a topic using comic-creation tools from this TeachersFirst collection.

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Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States - Teaching American History

Grades
6 to 12
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Students are ordinarily much more familiar with the signing of the Declaration of Independence than the signing of the Constitution, even though the signing of the Constitution may...more
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Students are ordinarily much more familiar with the signing of the Declaration of Independence than the signing of the Constitution, even though the signing of the Constitution may arguably be the more important event. A painting by Howard Chandler Christy documents the event, and this site provides an interactive look at the characters depicted in the painting. There is also a link to more information about the painting, which is one of the most historically accurate paintings of the founding of our country, despite the fact that it does not actually depict all of the signers. A number of other resource links may be worth pursuing for further information.

tag(s): constitution (72)

In the Classroom

A great resource for the interactive whiteboard or projector, although be aware that you may need to disable your pop-up blocker to get the information to display properly. Challenge students to find other paintings depicting famous events in United States (or another country). Have cooperative learning groups create multimedia presentation about the paintings. Create fictitious blog entries from one character in a painting to another character within another painting at another famous event. What would John F. Kennedy write to Benjamin Franklin?
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Annenberg Classroom - NPR/NY Times

Grades
6 to 12
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This collaborative website focuses on controversial contemporary issues, including juvenile justice, eco-topics, gun control, women's rights, voting rights, civil liberties in war,...more
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This collaborative website focuses on controversial contemporary issues, including juvenile justice, eco-topics, gun control, women's rights, voting rights, civil liberties in war, and affirmative action. Help students understand the role of the news media in a democracy. This website combines the radio broadcast resources of Justice Talking and written articles and features from the NY Times Learning Network. Lesson plans corresponding to each "hot topic" offer social studies, language arts, and science teachers opportunities to connect the real news with topics in their curricula. A glossary of words important to the democratic process and a link to the Constitution with a "what it says, what it means" feature allow students to understand authentic sources as well as historical references. "In Their Own Words" (accessible from the Site Guide) provides primary source documents and statements from each of the three branches of government, from the press, and from schools.

tag(s): civil rights (111), ecology (132), radio (27), women (99)

In the Classroom

Use this site to help students explore the branches of government in action as they address a "hot topic." Have groups of students listen to real broadcasts and analyze the issues as examples of the constitutional concepts you are studying. Make this link available from your teacher web page while studying the Constitution, the branches of government, and many other social studies topics. Use your interactive whiteboard or projection screen to share a video or audio clip to spark discussion on an issue or activate your lesson. Then, divide your class into teams and have a class debate about the issue. Have students prepare a pro/con wiki using links to the primary sources to support their position or create their own podcast commentaries with support for their opinions.

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Too many resources to even summarize. I can't wait to share this resource. CONSTITUTION ON SEPT. 17. Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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Conversations on the Constitution: Sign the Constitution - American Bar Association

Grades
6 to 12
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Each year, teachers are asked to observe Constitution Day with special instruction on one of the United States' founding documents. In many areas, residents are asked to add their signatures...more
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Each year, teachers are asked to observe Constitution Day with special instruction on one of the United States' founding documents. In many areas, residents are asked to add their signatures to a copy of the Constitution to show their support. This site from the American Bar Association provides students the opportunity to add their virtual signature, and provides sample lesson plans and resources, including some flash-enabled interactive lessons and activities on specific aspects of the application of the Constitution. Don't miss the "Interactive Features" link. This site does include some unobtrusive advertisements.

tag(s): bill of rights (27), constitution (72)

In the Classroom

Use the lesson plan suggestions to meet the mandate for instruction on Constitution Day, but be sure and check out the other resources for lessons on civics, government, current events and the Constitution itself. The section called "Conversation Starters" provides a rich resource of writing prompts, group discussion builders or assignments that provoke higher level thinking.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Who Wrote the Constitution? - NARA

Grades
6 to 12
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Here's a collection of biographies of the people who were responsible for writing our Constitution. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention were an interesting group, and this...more
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Here's a collection of biographies of the people who were responsible for writing our Constitution. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention were an interesting group, and this site lets you learn more about them.

tag(s): colonial america (107), constitution (72), philadelphia (13)

In the Classroom

Share this and other sections of the TeachersFirst Colonial America tour as part of your study of the colonies so students can see what these historic locations look like today.

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The Supreme Court: Games - PBS

Grades
9 to 12
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As a supplement to their series on The Supreme Court, PBS has prepared nine interactive modules on various aspects of the high court. Although they are called "games" most are ...more
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As a supplement to their series on The Supreme Court, PBS has prepared nine interactive modules on various aspects of the high court. Although they are called "games" most are simply interactive lessons on topics including a quiz on the constitution, information on the symbols used by the court to illustrate its importance to the US system of government, civil rights rulings, specific justices of note, and landmark cases. For reasons not immediately apparent, one of the interactives requires registration with an email address and password. Rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. There are also links to educator resources and lesson plans.

tag(s): civil rights (111), constitution (72), supreme court (21)

In the Classroom

These lessons would be useful on an interactive whiteboard or projector along with a unit on the Supreme Court or the US judicial system. Students might also use them to to extend or enrich the topic on their own time, or when they have completed other classwork. They are well researched and informative, however, most students won't view them as "games" as they are labeled. Have cooperative learning groups investigate one specific topic and share their discoveries with the class. Challenge students to create a video and share using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Argument Wars - iCivics Inc.

Grades
5 to 10
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This site offers a creative way to teach landmark Supreme Court cases. The site provides five historical court cases for students to argue. Each case is a separate interactive. In ...more
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This site offers a creative way to teach landmark Supreme Court cases. The site provides five historical court cases for students to argue. Each case is a separate interactive. In each activity, students play a lawyer who represents one side in the case. Using supporting documents, students must choose the best argument for the side they are representing. Students "win" the game and case if they score more points than their computer generated opponent.

tag(s): constitution (72), game based learning (85)

In the Classroom

This site is great way to review the amendments of the US Constitution. Using an interactive whiteboard or projector, complete one case as a whole group so students can see how the interactive should work. Use the provided handouts so students can take notes as you are working through the case. When it is time for students to work independently, make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Afterward have a discussion or have students journal using the provided discussion questions. Why not create a "Argument Wars Wiki" to discuss the cases. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. This site does not have a save feature so students have to complete the entire activity to see if they've won. For students that need more of a challenge, assign them Gideon v. Wainwright. Students have to examine two arguments which makes it more challenging.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Do I Have a Right? - iCivics Inc.

Grades
5 to 10
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In this interactive role playing game, students take on the role of a lawyer starting a new business. Students take on cases, hire lawyers and try to grow their business. ...more
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In this interactive role playing game, students take on the role of a lawyer starting a new business. Students take on cases, hire lawyers and try to grow their business. To be successful, they must understand constitutional amendments. Students can earn prestige points by successfully interacting with clients and winning cases. In order to have a thriving law practice, students have to hire lawyers that are familiar with various amendments. Lesson plans and after-activity PowerPoints are provided.

tag(s): constitution (72), game based learning (85)

In the Classroom

This site is great way to review the amendments of the US Constitution. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Working in groups have a class competition to see who can win the most cases and achieve the most prestige points. Afterward, have a discussion about the process each group used to build their law firm. This site does not have a save feature so the teacher should set a duration for play. Built in help makes this site useful for students who might need some additional guidance. Use the final score printout to assign your students a grade.

To fully involve students in their "law firm," have them create a firm logo and "shingle" using an online graphics tool such as Supalogo, reviewed here. Print the logos for classroom decorations or have students upload them to law firm pages on on your class wiki.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Constitutionfacts.com - Oak Hill Publishing

Grades
K to 12
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In spite of the endless verbiage on the home page, this site has many options for topics ranging from the United States Constitution and Amendments to the Supreme Court. ...more
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In spite of the endless verbiage on the home page, this site has many options for topics ranging from the United States Constitution and Amendments to the Supreme Court. Each topic has an overview, sub-topics, and then quizzes to test your knowledge. Dive further in and there is a Fun Zone for treasure hunts, crossword puzzles, and even which founding father are you! On some of the surveys and quizzes it may prompt you for an age and state but it's optional. You can just click the link to see the results and bypass the personal information. Most of this site is designed for older elementary students (and above). However, some of the Constitution Day activities may be useful in the K-2 classrooms.

tag(s): bill of rights (27)

In the Classroom

This is a great site for both introducing and reinforcing topics about the Constitution. Teachers can print out crosswords puzzles for a "What Do I Know" activity. Students could find out which founding father they are in the interactive portion and create a multimedia project on the result. Challenge students to use ThingLink, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo. What a new twist to an oral report! Students could create a Photostory on their own version of the Story of Fourth of July. The possibilities are endless. For fun, teachers can present the Real or Fake Quiz on the projector or interactive whiteboard as whole class instruction or have discussions after each answer.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Centuries of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline - National Constitution Center

Grades
5 to 12
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This interactive timeline is an historical experience that explains the key events of the U.S. Constitution. The events begin with the Magna Carta in 1215 and continue to 2009. Use...more
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This interactive timeline is an historical experience that explains the key events of the U.S. Constitution. The events begin with the Magna Carta in 1215 and continue to 2009. Use the broadband interactive timeline to give your students the ultimate experience. Students can explore primary documents, view maps and graphs, hear audio clips, listen to debates, read pertinent stories in the New York Times, and learn who had the right to vote during specific time periods. Be sure to also visit the Interactive Constitution. Search the Constitution by keywords, topics, or court cases. This website is definitely worth the visit!

tag(s): bill of rights (27), constitution (72)

In the Classroom

Use this website to engage your students to learn more about different eras of U.S. History. Challenge students to debate the issues found in "Point Counterpoint." Use the primary sources to discuss relevant historical issues or how the problems presented might be found in current events. Use the interactive U.S. Constitution to help with your Constitution Day activities. A link to a pdf file of the entire U.S. Constitution is available. Have students create a multimedia presentation using Thinglink, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report about the U.S. Constitution.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Which Founder are You? - The National Constitution Center

Grades
4 to 10
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This website offers an eleven question quiz about which founding father you are most like. Much like personality quizzes in pre-teen and teen magazines, this site will appeal to students....more
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This website offers an eleven question quiz about which founding father you are most like. Much like personality quizzes in pre-teen and teen magazines, this site will appeal to students. It is a different take on history and the men who formed our country's foundation. This is a great site to demonstrate qualities found in true leaders.

tag(s): constitution (72)

In the Classroom

Have students take this quiz individually on laptops to hook them into the Constitution. Have students pair and share their answers. Then have students further research the founding father with which they have the most in common. Have students create a multimedia presentation comparing themselves to the founding father they are most like. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). Or have them create a mock Faecbook "profile" and updates for their founder of choice (not on the real Facebook, but perhaps on a class wiki).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Constitution Day - National Constitution Center

Grades
K to 12
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Happy Birthday To You.... U.S. Government. This fantastic site provides a large collection of lesson plans, interactives, resources for students, and more. All activities relate to...more
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Happy Birthday To You.... U.S. Government. This fantastic site provides a large collection of lesson plans, interactives, resources for students, and more. All activities relate to Constitution Day (celebrated in September). Visit the Educators link and search for activities by grade level, specific topics, or by resource type (lesson plans, audio visual, activities, and more). There are also links for students, government & military, and community leaders.

tag(s): constitution (72)

In the Classroom

Before you start planning your Constitution Day activities, check out this FREE site. Since this site was created by the National Constitution Center, you can be sure that the material is of high quality. Share the audio and visual on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Take advantage of the lesson plans and more.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Constitution Day - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
4 to 12
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for Constitution Day. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Constitution-related...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for Constitution Day. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Constitution-related vocabulary words. You will also find printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

tag(s): constitution (72)

In the Classroom

Have students work in cooperative learning groups, divide up the vocabulary words, and have each group find the definitions for their assigned vocabulary words. Have the groups share their words and definitions in an online book, using a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here). Have the groups share the online books on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If you don't have the time to complete online books, have students share the definitions using a class wiki. Be sure to also check out the interactive word puzzles!

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Ben's Guide to U.S. Government - Government Printing Office

Grades
1 to 12
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Here's an introduction to American government that even the youngest students can appreciate. Divided into four grade levels, the site explains the structure and purpose of American...more
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Here's an introduction to American government that even the youngest students can appreciate. Divided into four grade levels, the site explains the structure and purpose of American government in age-appropriate terms for everyone from Kindergarteners to high school students. For example, there are four interactive games for your primary students (grades k-2)that make learning about our government fun. Have students learn states' locations by placing them on the map. Color the USA flag, help Ben Franklin out of a maze, or find your way around the liberty bell. There are also age-specific activities divided into grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): constitution (72), franklin (12), states (162)

In the Classroom

With younger grades, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to learn the states' locations with the entire group. This simple site would be great to use in your computer center for individual learning or for some indoor recess enrichment fun. Secondary teachers looking for more than the basics will want to supplement this site with other resources. There is a link for parents and teachers, be sure to take a look!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The First Amendment: What's Fair in a Free Country? - National Endowment for the Humanities

Grades
3 to 6
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The cherished right of Freedom of Speech is carefully analyzed in this thoughtful unit plan that illustrates the delicate balance between rights and responsibilities in a free society....more
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The cherished right of Freedom of Speech is carefully analyzed in this thoughtful unit plan that illustrates the delicate balance between rights and responsibilities in a free society. A series of six lessons guides upper elementary students through an authentic scenario in which the expressive rights of individuals are in question, provides connections to constitutional interpretations, and analyzes related Supreme Court cases. Aligned to Standards.

tag(s): bill of rights (27), freedom of speech (7), speech (92)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this free lesson plan about the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights! To help ELL students, share the vocabulary with them beforehand OR make and print out easy to understand definitions of words that these students may have trouble with. Be sure to save this site as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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Constitution for Kids - Constitution Center

Grades
4 to 12
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Philadelphia's new Constitution Center offers a full collection of online information and activities for students. Both format and quality vary, but the Flash activity about the Bill...more
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Philadelphia's new Constitution Center offers a full collection of online information and activities for students. Both format and quality vary, but the Flash activity about the Bill of Rights is a good start. Click elsewhere to learn lots more about the Constitution, how it was created, and what it means today. Requires FLASH.

tag(s): bill of rights (27), constitution (72)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the constitution and the creation of the bill of rights. This would be a great tool to use for a review session, and could break up the monotony of a study guide. Very useful for a US history course.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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