From the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution

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Grade Level: 5th
Download the entire unit plan

Unit At A Glance

This unit designed for the fifth grade includes three detailed lessons beginning with the definition of democracy and continues until students, as delegates, write a new constitution in the year 2777.


California Content Standards

This unit is designed to address the following California State Board of Education's content standards for History-Social Science. See below for specific standards addressed. For more information on the standards, or to see the complete list, please visit:

Content Standards


Click here to get more details on these standards and Common Core information



Big Ideas/Essential Questions


The strength of a democracy is equal to the strength of its citizens

E Pluribus Unum:  out of many, one

Through actions come change, and change in the political process involves participation.  (The political process involves participation; understanding requires student engagement.  Integration and application of new learning in multiple learning modalities helps students deepen understanding.) 


1. Does social capital strengthen a republic?

2. Is citizenship a right or responsibility?

3. Can a society exist peacefully without a democratic system?

4. How might our country be different today if the Articles of Confederation had not been replaced with the Constitution?


Concepts and Skills Students Will Learn

Note: The basic elements and design of creating a PowerPoint have been taught prior to this unit.

Lesson One—Our Government Today… What a System! 

  1. Meaning of democracy
  2. Principles of the Constitution
  3. Three Branches of Government
  4. First Ten Amendments
  5. Constitution is a “Living Document”

Lesson Two—Articles of Confederation…Well, They Were Trying! 

  1. The Articles of Confederation
  2. The shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation

Lesson Three—
A New Constitution...Your Turn!

  1. Closing authentic assessment and rubric
  2. Students create a Constitution for the United States in the year 2777

End of Unit Assessment

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