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Tag Archives: US Constitution

Video of the Day – 4/18/13 (How Is Power Divided in the US Government?)

Daily Video — “How Is Power Divided in the US Government?

From TED a short 4-minute video that explains the separation of powers in the US government and the Constitutional powers of each of the three branches — Legislative, Executive, and Judicial..

All videos are owned by their respective YouTube channels and users and are embedded here for your benefit to use in class in compliance with the appropriate copyright provisions.
 
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Posted by on April 18, 2013 in Daily Video

 

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Video of the Day – 2/22/13 (The Audacity of the Louisiana Purchase)

Daily Video — The Audacity of the Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 effectively doubled the size of the young United States.  However was it legal?  Did you know that Thomas Jefferson struggled with the idea of making the purchase because he questioned its constitutionality?  Today’s video covers not only the legality of the purchase, but also explains the concept of implied Constitutional powers vs. strict constructionist interpretations.

All videos are owned by their respective YouTube channels and users and are embedded here for your benefit and use in class in compliance with the appropriate copyright provisions.
 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Daily Video

 

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Pocket Law Firm — Constitutional Law App

Pocket Law Firm

With so much in the news lately about the Second Amendment and gun rights as well as general questions about the Constitutionality of pieces of legislation and the general rights that Americans enjoy, students need to be made aware of what rights they do and do not have under the Constitution and Pocket Law Firm can help.

Pocket Law Firm is an iPad only app that according to iTunes lets students “decide if potential clients have a right, match them with the right lawyer, and win the case. The more clients you serve and the more cases you win, the faster your law firm grows!”

The gameplay is very straight forward and similar to other games where you have to perform tasks in a certain amount of time   What is unique about Pocket Law Firm is that as a client enters the office to be paired with a lawyer, students have to determine whether or not they have a Constitutional right, given the case, and then they pair them with a lawyer who is an expert in that portion of the Constitution.  Cases are won and lost based on the proper assessment of a right and pairing with a lawyer.

As you progress through Pocket Law Firm, the lawyers attain new skills in Constitutional law and new lawyers with different skills can be added. Each case, when won or lost, also includes an explanation of the actual rights as defined by the Constitution and sometimes corresponding cases for further research.

I highly recommend Pocket Law Firm as not only a fun game, but also as a tool to allow students to assess cases based on the Constitution and to study where in the US Constitution those rights are granted or protected.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Apps, Tips & Tricks

 

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Teaching the Constitution — Interactives

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!

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2013 in Tips & Tricks, Websites

 

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