Teaching students about the U.S. Constitution doesn't have to be boring. Instead, give your home-schoolers the civics education they need through fun, engaging activities. These lessons work for one child but can be modified for multiple home-schoolers.
Build a Constitution
If you have a younger student, building a constitution can be fun. Not only is this interactive, but it will teach your student all about the Founding Fathers and the makeup of the Constitution. This activity will work best for elementary children.
What You Need
- Large piece of construction paper
- Strips of paper with the names of the signers of the Constitution
- Strips of paper with preamble, articles, and amendments. (This can be as simple or as difficult as you want. i.e. you might just have three strips or one for the preamble, seven articles, etc.)
- Drawing Paper
- Gather all the supplies and set them out in a clean area.
- Hand out the construction paper.
- Introduce the preamble to your student by reading it.
- Have them glue the preamble onto their constitution.
- Next, introduce the articles. Discuss how many articles there are in the constitution.
- Have your child glue them on the construction paper.
- Introduce the amendments. Have the student glue them on to the paper.
- Discuss each of the signers of the Constitution.
- Glue their names onto the bottom of the constitution.
- On a separate sheet of paper, draw a picture of what the signing of the constitution looked like.
- Hang up the child's constitution and drawing. Alternatively, turn this into a notebooking project.
Understanding the concept of a Constitution and how it came into being can be hard for kids. This activity can help them understand the purpose and the meaning of the constitution along with its importance in history. This activity works best for older elementary kids to middle schoolers.
- Construction paper folded or stapled into a book (10-20 pages)
- Scrap paper for ideas and mapping out book
- Internet access
- Have your student research one of the signers of the Constitution. Look for a historical figure that was pivotal in the creation of the Constitution like James Madison. (Hint: If you need ideas, look at a list of presidents, many of whom were crucial in the writing of the constitution.)
- Hand out the scrap paper.
- Have your student create a historical fiction story based on the experiences of the signer of the Constitution. This will be written in the first person.
- Allow them to craft and perfect their story to ensure it is free of errors.
- For the final draft, have your student create pictures and illustrations to show the journey to the creation of the Constitution.
- For older students, you might have them type up their story and share it on an online writing board.
Vocabulary Treasure Hunt
The vocabulary for the Constitution and its history is a bit advanced for kindergarten and first graders but this can work for second graders and beyond with help.
- Vocabulary cards (words and definitions separate on separate cards)
- Constitutional Convention
- Judicial Branch
- Executive Branch
- Checks and Balances
- Great Compromise
How to Play
- Create the vocabulary cards with the definitions and vocabulary words on separate cards.
- Hide the vocabulary words and definitions throughout the house.
- Create a map for your student to where you placed the vocabulary words. This will be a map of where all the vocabulary words are located in your home. (Your student will use the definitions and the map to find the vocabulary words)
- Place the definitions in the envelopes.
- Place a definition with each vocabulary word (make sure the definition is for a different word than the one you are placing it near. For instance, if you have the word preamble by the window, place the definition for Constitution or another word with it so the game will continue. Your student has to guess the next word in her hunt based on the definition.)
- Provide your student with the map and their first definition and let them search for vocabulary words.
- If they match all the words with their correct definitions, give them candy or other treasure.
Six Big Ideas Poster
Creating a visual representation of the purpose of the constitution can be a great way to explore its importance. Therefore, having a student create a poster based on the six big ideas of the Constitution can enhance learning and fun. This works great for older students.
- Poster board
- Internet, printer for printouts
What You Do
- Have students research the six big ideas of the Constitution (limited government, republicanism, checks and balances, federalism, separation of powers, popular sovereignty).
- Lay out the materials and allow your kid to print images.
- Have your student create a visual representation of the six big ideas of the constitution.
Getting to Know the Constitution
Learning about how the Constitution came into being and the different parts can be boring for students. However, if you make this fun and interactive through different activities like debates and craft projects, they are learning without even realizing it.