The US Constitution and Convention Unit
A Complete Unit Plan for US History in Middle School or High School
A fantastic unit plan study in both my US History curriculum and Civics and Government curriculum covers the US Constitution as well as the events that led to its creation at the Philadelphia Convention in 1787.
These are among the most important US History lessons your students will encounter, because they will give them key knowledge on the ideas and concepts that form America's government and how they impact their lives today.
The unit begins with a lesson on the Articles of Confederation, America's first attempts at a national government. The lesson includes a PowerPoint and guided notes (plus Google Slides or video option) for direct instruction. Following this, teachers have a variety of resources to select from based on their classroom's needs. These include an analysis activity and debate on the Articles of Confederation Analysis Worksheet, a Class Constitution project, or a digital notebook activity.
In the next lesson, students learn more about the framers of the Constitution through a fun and unique the “Magic Portrait" PowerPoint. Moving video portraits of several Founding Fathers are embedded into the presentation that bring them to life in your classroom as you talk about each one. It’s fun. It’s different. It’s awesome for young learners.
For learning about the Constitutional Convention, teachers can take elect to use either an interactive pop-up notes graphic organizer and PowerPoint or a traditional option with guided notes. Both versions are available here along with Google Slides and "flipped classroom" videos. Following this, students delve more into the main concepts of the Convention through several Google Docs or printable PDF worksheets, digital notebook activity, and several videos.
Students spend time analyzing the Constitution over the next two lessons. While this can appear daunting for students, the activities help break down difficult language and concepts clearly for them so that they leave the lessons with a deep understanding of our government. There are several activities students can do to help ease them into dissecting the document, including an analysis of the preamble through a song, an interactive building block activity, and scavenger hunt. In choosing one or more of these tasks, teachers can make students feel more comfortable with large portions of information.
In the next lesson. students learn about the Bill of Rights and the process of the Constitution's ratification. Another PowerPoint or Google Slides set with guided notes (or the flipped classroom video lesson) provides students with the main concepts before they analyze a set of scenarios based on the Bill of Rights. Higher level classes can also review excerpts of the Federalist Papers while other classes may elect to use one of the interactive notebook activities or digital resources.
The unit concludes with a lesson on Alexander Hamilton using music from the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. Students complete a set of interactive graphic organizers on Hamilton based on PowerPoint notes and several songs. They then analyze a primary source to better understand Hamilton's contributions to America's government.
Throughout the unit, students can also work on a variety of engaging digital interactive activities or the unit guide packet. There are dozens of great videos linked to use in your lessons along with readings you can share from our online textbook.
The Constitution unit concludes with an editable test - along with an editable Google Forms version included for easy grading.
You can download each resource individually through the links above as well as check out reviews of each from teachers that have already used the resources. You can also download all of them for the unit here in one zip folder that can be saved to your desktop. Or, you can gain access to the entire unit’s lessons and resources online through a subscription. A subscription also grants you immediate access to the ENTIRE US History curriculum.
If you’re not sure which option is better for you, you can read more about the differences between subscriptions and TpT purchases here.