On this day in 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention, after four months of deliberations, signed the Constitution of the United States of America.
But did you know that 71% of Americans cannot identify the Constitution as the supreme law of the land (2012 Xavier University Study) and that 32% of Americans can identify all three branches of government outlined in the Constitution (2018 Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey).
Looking for a lesson plan to help students grasp the magnitude of this day 231 years ago?
In 2004, the law establishing this holiday was passed mandating that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day.
The National Archives' website has a number of different lesson plans tailored to different grade levels.
This lesson plan in particular focuses on the Constitution the following essential question:
What is the significance of the Six Big Ideas in the Constitution historically and for Americans today?
The lesson continues to have students examine the primary document to identify the significance of the following "six big ideas':
- limited government
- checks and balances
- separation of powers
- popular sovereignty
View the rest of the lesson plan and corresponding worksheets here.
And if you are considering planning a Washington, D.C. trip for your class, you may even consider a visit to the National Archives to see the Constitution in person. The National Archives is a popular choice of many of our school groups.