Studying the beginnings of our Constitution always leaves me amazed! A group of people with different ideas of what this country should look like were able to come together and create a framework that has lasted for over 200 years!
This unit study guides you and your children through the exploration of what those different ideas were and how the framers decided what ideas would go into the US Constitution. Learn who was left out of the original Constitution and think about how those groups of people were later included. Discover the process of ratification of the Constitution and how we continue to update the Constitution to this day.
The unit study is based upon the What Is the Constitution? book and contains printable notebooking pages, a timeline, and more! It works best for 3rd-6th grade, but younger children could be included with older siblings working through the unit study. Seventh and eighth graders would benefit from the study with encouragement to complete additional research.
Grab the book, sign-up to receive the FREE printable unit study and then explore the other resources below!
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The Book for The Constitution Unit Study
This unit study is based upon the book What is the Constitution?. This book can be read independently by 3rd graders and above, but since there is so much to digest here, it is strongly suggested you read it aloud with your children. Adults can add a lot of context and nuance.
The book starts by explaining why a new framework for the government was needed, who came to the convention, what the different plans were and how the Framers negotiated a final document. It also discusses some of the thorny issues like how people who were enslaved were included as 3/5 of a person in the Constitution and how women were left out of the process.
It should take about 4-5 days to read through the book while completing the notebooking pages.
The US Constitution FREE Printable Unit Study
The printable unit study includes the following:
US Constitution Notebooking Pages with Answer Key: Take notes about why we needed a Constitution, the Framers of the Constitution, the different plans, the Bill of Rights, and other amendments.
Fill-in-the-Blank Preamble: Become familiar with the purpose of the Constitution by filling in blanks in the Preamble.
A timeline: Cut out major events and glue them where they belong on the timeline.
Writing prompt: Encourages children to think about what groups of people were not included in the original Constitution and whether later amendments have fully included those groups.
A Word Search: Familiarize children with important concepts and vocabulary.
A Crossword puzzle: Assess retention of important concepts and vocabulary.
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Videos about the Constitution
Here is a good short introduction to the Constitution. It follows the book closely and provides a good repetition of the information. (6:32 min.)
Here is an overview of how the Constitution lays out who makes the rules (3:28 minutes):
And here is a video by the same people about the Bill of Rights (5:46)
View the Constitution
The original Constitution is held at the National Archives Building in Washington DC and is able to be viewed in person by visitors. It is definitely worth checking out if you are ever there. Seeing it gave me chills.
You can also view the original document online here.
A replica of the Constitution would be a fun addition to a classroom! You can purchase one along with other historical documents by clicking below.
Take a Naturalization Exam
A fun activity as you are finishing the unit study is to have your children take a Naturalization Exam. Ten questions are chosen from a list of 100 and read out loud to people emigrating to the United States as part of their US Citizenship process. Will you all pass the exam? 🙂
Act Out the Constitutional Convention
If you have children who love to act out scenes, encourage them to act out the Constitutional Convention! They can decide if they want to create a new Constitution for our country or maybe a set of rules for their friends or family to live by. Then, have them grab a blazer or suit coat and start debating their rules. They can finish by writing down their rules and signing off on them.
Copy Work: If you would like your children to explore the founding documents more through copy work, Write Bonnie Rose has a great set.
Or try your hand at writing with a quill like the Framers would have with this set:
Scholastic has some great constitution resources for 7th-12th grade, including free printable Skills Sheets.
For older children, check out the Annenberg Classroom.
Other Related Books
Have you used any other resources to study the US Constitution? Please share below!