By Meghan Arnold
Field Experience Specialist, College of Education
Constitution Day is a day that many schools are required by law to participate in each year. But, for some educators, it is a day to reflect upon what makes our nation so wonderful.
As educators, it is important to determine the true importance of this day and the impact this very special document has on our day-to-day lives.
In reality, this one document, the U.S. Constitution that was created in 1787, is truly something that provides inalienable rights and freedoms that many American citizens take advantage of. With that said, it has become the job of the teacher to ensure that our students understand their roles as citizens, by not only discussing the freedoms that have been provided to us by this document, but also through educating them about the past history of our nation and how we as citizens should be active participants in our cities, state and country.
Even if you are not a teacher of history and you are requested to discuss the U.S. Constitution with your students on Sept. 17, it is important to teach students about how our country was formed.
Truly, Constitution Day was originally built to educate young students about the success of our nation as a free nation and how they as young individuals should grow through time as American citizens.
When you speak with your students about our wonderful Constitution, however, you won’t want to spend an entire class period going over each and every article. For some, this will not be something that is tangible or real life.
Rather, students truly want to understand how the Constitution and being a citizen relates to their real life. You may want to discuss and share the meaning of the Preamble of the Constitution.
When discussing the Preamble, you can find a plethora of videos and other virtual items that break down the words of the Preamble and make it relevant to the students’ lives.
Another lesson plan idea would be to create small groups where the students have the opportunity to look at different individuals who have taken on different roles throughout history based on the freedoms that have been provided by the Constitution. For example, you could provide primary and secondary sources from women who were involved in the suffrage movement and discuss how their role ratified the Constitution and provided voting rights for women, granting women the right to participate in the democratic process and forever changing the lives for future American girls and women.
Another idea for small groups could be to use different officials in federal, state and local government who uphold the Constitution and truly take on the role of being an American citizen. You could even have students look into the different roles of being a citizen, such as voting, public service, responsibilities to serve on juries, upholding the laws and upholding important freedoms.
Lastly, when it comes to creating a lesson on the U.S. Constitution in your class, it should be fun and the students should take something away that is a real understanding of the world they live in.
We hope that you spend today celebrating Constitution Day. For more topics related to celebrating citizenship, please check out past blog posts.
More About Meghan:
Meghan Arnold currently serves as a field experience specialist working with supervisors and cooperating teachers in the southeastern part of the country. She is a native Phoenician and an alumna of Northern Arizona University, earning her bachelor’s in history secondary education. Meghan taught seventh and eighth grade social studies for more than five years before coming to GCU. In her free time, Meghan spends time enjoying the Arizona weather, yoga and hiking. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs.
About College of Education
Are you a current teacher, future teacher, administrator, paraprofessional, or do you have a passion for the field of education? If so, check out the College of Education “Teaching in Purple” blog and be inspired by educators of all kinds. Peek inside the minds and classrooms of today to shape your own classroom of tomorrow. Come join us and start teaching in purple!