Though it was not to take effect until ratification by the states, the United States Constitution — the foundational document of the modern U.S. government — was signed by delegates of the Constitutional Congress on September 17, 1787. Traditionally, the unofficial holiday called Citizenship Day was celebrated on that day each year. In 2004, it became a federal observance: Constitution Day.
Educators looking to build learning about this important cultural, historical, and legal document have a number of resources at their disposal, even while teaching remotely.
Center of It All
The National Constitution Center has a number of online events to mark the occasion and help people build an understanding of the document, including live and interactive events for teachers and students.
Some events of interest might include:
- Virtual Kids Town Hall with Supreme Court Justice Justice Neil Gorsuch (Register/Watch on YouTube)
- A live reading of the preamble (Register)
- Liberty Medal ceremony with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Watch)
Beyond events to commemorate the occasion, the Center offers a number of helpful tools for understanding the “supreme law of the land” all year long.
- The Interactive Constitution lets learners explore the document with links and useful explanations for each article and amendment.
- Classroom Exchanges help students make peer-to-peer connections while discussing civic issues.
- The Center’s extensive video series highlights some of the people and ideas that shaped the Constitution, as well as the various parts of the document.
- Lesson plans for various grade levels and aligned with popular standards are also available.
Dig Into the Archives
The Library of Congress and National Archives also host a number of resources that can help you teach the Constitution in flexible, digital ways, whether on September 17 or anytime.
- Events from the National Archives include the live discussions “The Electoral College and the Constitution” and “OMG WTF Does the Constitution Actually Say?: A Non-Boring Guide to How Our Democracy Is Supposed to Work.”
- The Constitution Workshop activity connects the Constitution to everyday life and can be done on paper or online.
- The Archives also offer professional development webinars and the free Exploring the United States Constitution ebook and the primary-sourced workbook “Putting the Bill of Rights to the Test.”
- The Library of Congress connects you with primary source documents, PDFs of relevant journal articles, and links to useful resources from other entities, like the Bill of Rights Institute, The Center for Civic Education, and more.
Constitution Day Toolkit
The Civics Renewal Network, a large coalition of nonprofits and similar organizations, offers a Constitution Day Toolkit for educators, complete with interactive biographies of the framers, lessons, games, and documentary resources for exploring multiple aspects of this influential piece of American history.
More Interactive Social Studies Resources from TCEA
- The Big List of Remote Learning Social Studies Resources
- Hypertext Docs: Teaching the Bonus March
- Experiencing Early American History with Interactive Resources
- StoryMap JS: Creating Immersive Social Studies Education
- Understanding This Moment through Civic Education
- Exploring Civil Rights History with Digital Resources
- Using Google Earth to Follow the Trail of Lewis and Clark
- Celebrate Constitution Day with Free Digital Resources
- Digital Resources to Celebrate and Teach Juneteenth
- Digital Resources for MLK Day
- Digital Resources for Independence Day
Photo: wynpnt (pixabay.com)