A New Constitution…Your Turn!

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Lesson At A Glance

This lesson (which will take place over several class periods) is the last in a series of three lessons in the unit.  This lesson brings together the understanding that for a country, state, and community, there needs to be a system in place that treats each person with respect, fairness, equality, and provides safety and protection for all.  This unit includes the closing authentic assessment and rubric.


  • Students will analyze the consequences of the Articles of Confederation and the merits of the Constitution to understand the vital component required in a constitution.
  • Students will create a Constitution.

Standards Addressed in the lesson: 

History Social Science:
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 citizens, Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court with those reserved to the states.

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects

Reading Standards for Informational Text K–5

Key Ideas and Details

1. Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

2. Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.

3. Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.

Big Ideas:    

  • E Pluribus Unum:  Out of many, one.  (From a variety of sources and experiences, we have developed a successful government and legal system) 
  • 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)

Essential Questions/Issues:

1. Does social capital strengthen a republic?

2. Is citizenship a right or responsibility?

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

Activity Steps:

This lesson could be divided into several class periods depending on student need.

Download activity steps

 Purpose   Teacher   Learner
Into Put up pictures that depict chaos.
What’s do you see in all of these pictures?
Lead discussion as to what might be the cause of the chaos, fighting, disruption…

Right now, everyone get up and at the same time, talk about your favorite activities….. and speak up to be heard.

What feelings do you experience when there’s noise and no one can hear you?

Does this happen in our society today? Can a society exist when people only complain, but do nothing to solve problems? What happens if no one is listening?

People of today became very ego-centric and refused to work together as citizens. The government you know of today no longer exists.  Other countries took advantage of our lack of unity and the United States was taken over by other countries. Fast forward to the year 2777. After many years of turmoil and war with other countries, the citizens realized that through actions come change, and change in the political process involves participation. The U.S. citizens fought back and regained independence.  A new Constitution must be written.

Show GRASP to give students an overview of their project 

Participate in class discussion.

Class chaos.

Class discussion.
~Write replies on board

Class discussion.

Read through GRASP and rubrics, ask questions, discuss criteria for constitution.


Need for access to resources

Students give PowerPoint presentations…

Teacher makes constructive comments…..feedback
Students present PowerPoint on their creation of a class Constitution
  Beyond Students write a 5 paragraph persuasive essay to explain what was the most powerful part of the overall unit that helped them to understand the importance of our country’s constitution. This essays includes an introduction, 3 paragraph body stating main points learned which are backed up with supporting facts, and the essay ends with a conclusion. The conclusion restates the main points of the essay, summarizes key points, includes a new reason to back up facts, and ends with a personal opinion. Students share with class/peers…. Whole group or small groups.

Special needs of students are considered in this lesson: 

Students can be paired or provided with accommodations working in the Resource Center.  This is an independent assessment, so modifications may be required for students with special needs.  Teacher assistance can be provided for technology support.  This project may also be adjusted to completing a constitution in a written outline form only.

Extension Ideas: 

Make a list of countries that are ruled by a monarch or dictator.  From this list, write down rights the citizens are allowed.  Create a list of rights the citizens are denied.

Compare countries that are run by a democracy and list the similarities/differences between the countries

Become “computer pals” with students from another country and ask about their system of government, way of life, etc.


Materials and Resources Needed:

Students need access to computer labs (classroom or home computer) to create PowerPoint presentations, type up outlines or conduct any on-line research.  GRASPS and rubrics need to be distributed to all students.  The audience (class members) would represent a political committee.  Students understanding that the PowerPoint presentation is being heard and judged by a committee will give students a sense of ownership in the creation of their constitution.


California State Standards:

Guidelines for Writing a Constitution:

Writing a Group Constitution:

Reflections, United States History: Making a New Nation, Harcourt School Publishers, 2007



This lesson is a part of the From the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution Unit.