US Constitution Interactives
American politics and the US Constitution seem to be on peoples’ minds more and more these days. From debates about gun control, taxation, and governmental powers to procedural events such as the second inaugural of President Obama to new Cabinet nominations it is hard to avoid Constitutional questions today. It is critical that we work hard to help our students not only understand these issues, but also the key documents continually referenced in the debated – the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. The key is helping them understand the importance and relevance of documents that are over 225 years old in their daily lives in 2013.
Several sites are available that have great interactive lessons and games that can help you teach them the importance of these documents and how losing them, or any of the rights they protect and guarantee could affect your everyday life:
- National Constitution Center – You can read through the Constitution and use hyperlinks throughout the text lead to exhibits at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia. There are also lots of lesson plan ideas and activities for teaching specific aspects of the law, rights, and protections guaranteed to all citizens.
- Constitution Facts – A collection of online quizzes, puzzles, word searches, dates, glossaries, and more for use in teaching the US Constitution. The activities are broken down by grade levels from K through adult.
- Celebrate the Constitution – From Scholastic, this is their Constitution Day activities page. A great deal of information, primarily for upper elementary & middle school students is available that walks them through the writing and meaning of the Constitution as well as activities including a scavenger hunt at the Constitution Center, an online quiz, and the ability to write their own Bill of Rights.
- Annenberg Classroom – Eight interactive, flash based games that allow students to work with not only the Constitution and Bill of rights as living documents, but that also allow them to try their hands at governing as the President of the United States or attempt to navigate the nation’s legal system from local courts all the way to the Supreme Court.
- Bill of Rights Institute – Four flash based games are available where students can see what life would be like without certain protections of the Bill of Rights, where they can see all the ways in which their personal information and activities are monitored, where they can interview the Founders to reconstruct James Madison’s missing convention notes, and a quiz of Constitutional knowledge in which they can “duel” classmates.
These five sites are only the tip of the iceberg when looking to find great activities and web-based projects for learning and teaching the US Constitution. If you know of anymore, please feel free to let me know, I would love to hear what you use!