Lesson Plans

I Am an American Day

Students analyze historical newspaper opinion pieces, focusing on argument, audience and author purpose. After comparing and contrasting the texts, students write a short opinion piece for a modern-day audience that speaks to being an American.

The Constitutional Amendment

Students analyze a primary source, focusing on author purpose and audience, to deepen their understanding of enfranchisement and the debate leading up to the passage of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. After, students investigate the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact and use what they’ve learned to create a poster that supports or opposes…

Preamble to the Constitution Image Sequencing

Students develop their civics vocabulary and deepen their understanding of the preamble to the U.S. Constitution with this primary source image sequencing activity. After, students work together to create a class preamble that describes the purpose and function of their classroom community.

The U.S. Constitution: Continuity and Change in the Governing of the United States

This unit includes four lessons using primary sources to examine continuity and change in the governing of the United States. Lessons one and two are focused on a study of the Constitution and Bill of Rights; lesson three investigates important issues that confronted the first Congress and has students examine contemporary congressional debates over similar…

Introduction to the Constitution

In preparation to learn about the rights and responsibilities detailed in the U.S. Constitution and the purpose for its structure of government, students develop their ability to compare and contrast documents and make their own historical interpretations as they complete a close reading of the Preamble. After, students put the Preamble into their own words.

Signing the Declaration of Their Independence

Students compare and contrast a famous print celebrating the Declaration of Independence with a political cartoon about woman suffrage, then complete a close read of the Declaration’s introduction or preamble. After, students create a product of their choosing that provides a commentary on the meaning of that text in the context of today.

The Declaration, Her Declaration, Your Declaration

Students analyze the text of the Declaration of Independence and the  poem “Declaration” by U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith. After, students create their own Declaration erasure poems that speak to their thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

Making a Declaration – Beginning

Students investigate the Declaration of Independence as a founding document of the United States, then consider the historical and contemporary relevance of its most famous phrase and how it relates to a personal  vision of the American dream.

Making a Declaration – Intermediate

Students investigate the importance of the Declaration of Independence as a founding document of the United States, then consider the historical and contemporary relevance of its most famous phrase and how it relates to a personal vision of the American dream.

Making a Declaration – Advanced

Students investigate the historical impact of the Declaration of Independence, then consider the significance of the Declaration of Independence to the United States today and the contemporary relevance of its most famous phrase to the country, to the community, and to self.

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