Through participation in this lesson students will learn what the Constitution says, what it means, and its importance. Students will be able to identify how the Constitution addressed the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation, how our government derives its power from the people, and how our government is composed of three branches of government.
History Social Studies:
5.7 Students describe the people and events associated with the development of the U.S. Constitution and analyze the Constitution’s significance as the foundation of the American republic.
5.7.1 List the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation as set forth by their critics.
5.7.2 Explain the significance of the new Constitution of 1787 including the struggles over its Ratification and the reasons for the addition of the Bill of Rights.
5.7.3 Understand the fundamental principles of American constitutional democracy, including how the government derives its power from the people and the primacy of individual liberty.
5.7.4 Understand how the Constitution is designed to secure our liberty by both empowering and limiting central government and compare the powers granted to the citizens, Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court with those reserved for the states.
English/Language Arts Standards:
Main idea and details
Draw inferences and conclusions
2.3 Write a persuasive letter or composition:
2.a State a clear position in support of a proposal
2.b Support a position with relevant evidence
Common Core State Standards for ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects K-5
College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing K-5
Text Types and Purposes
1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
Power, Authority, and Governance
Understanding the historical developments of structures, power, authority, and governance and their evolving functions in contemporary US society, as well as in other parts of the world, is essential for developing civic competence.
Civic Ideals and Practices
An understanding of civic ideals and practices of citizenship is critical to full participation in society and is a central purpose of the social studies. All people have a stake in examining civic ideals and practices across time and diverse societies, as well as at home, and in determining how to close the gap between present practices and the ideals upon which our democratic republic is based.
1. What are the duties and responsibilities of an American citizen?
2. What is the significance of the United States Constitution?
Higher Order Thinking Questions:
1. Do you think the delegates at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were right to create a brand new document (the Constitution) or do you think they should have reworked the Articles of Confederation?
2. After analyzing the United States Constitution, what do you think is the most significant article of the document (including the preamble) and why?
3. In your opinion, which document – The Articles of Confederation, The United States Constitution, or the Bill of Rights – has had the biggest impact our nation and why?
Throughout this unit students will be evaluated both formally and informally through the use of student participation, teacher observation, social studies journals, quick writes, persuasive writing assignment, projects, and a multiple choice test.
Students will create a social studies journal which will be turned in for a formal grade based on a point system. The social studies journal will divided into three sections labeled accordingly: The United States Constitution, Vocabulary, and Daily Warm-Ups.
Students will also write a persuasive essay in which they will state whether or not the American citizen should ratify the Constitution or not. This will also be graded on a rubric.
Students will also be given a multiple choice pre and post test. All students should improve on the post test and the post test will be graded by percent.
Persuasive Essay – Graded using a rubric that evaluates the following components: Social Studies content, writing strategies, writing applications, and conventions.
Social Studies Journal – Graded using a rubric that evaluates the following components
Social Studies content, neatness, and creativity.
Formal Assessment – Multiple choice test graded on a 100 percent scale.
In informal assessment can be made from the entry journals from the days specifically linked to the lesson “The Constitution: What it Says and What it Means” can be used to assess student learning on a daily basis.
Student summarizing from their foldable book can be used to assess student understanding of what the Constitution says and means.
The final page of the student foldable booklet where students compare and contrast the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution can be used as a formal assessment to student understanding of the two documents.
This entire unit, assuming you teach Social Studies for approximately 1 hour per day, 5 days per week, will take between 4 – 6 weeks. This particular lesson, which includes the reading of the book SHHH! We’re Writing the Constitution, (allotting for 1 hour per day, 5 days a week) will take approximately 5 to 6 days.
Special Needs of Students Considered in this Lesson:
Outline of Unit Plan:
This is a fifth grade social studies unit focusing on how the original thirteen colonies transitioned from independent states to a united nation. Through a series of readings and activities students will first learn about what life was like during and immediately following the American Revolution. They will then participate in further readings and hands-on activities aimed and increasing their understanding of the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
Prior to this lesson, students will have studied how life was different during 1787. They will have analyzed the Articles of Confederation and will understand the problems and weaknesses of this document. Through the core literature book SHHH! We’re Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz, a power point presentation, and the creation of a flip book, students will understand the challenges surrounding the creation of the Constitution, what the Constitution says, and what it actually means. From here, students will go on to examine the significance of the Bill of Rights, and ultimately, at the conclusion of this unit, they will understand how our government was created by the people, for the people, and that as citizens of the United States they have a responsibility to protect the rights established in the Constitution through active participation in government.