Constitution Day, September 17

About Constitution Day and Citizenship Day

September 17 is recognized in the United States as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. The purpose of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is to commemorate the creation and signing of the supreme law of the land and to honor and celebrate the privileges and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship for both native-born and naturalized citizens. Federal law requires that all schools receiving federal funds hold an educational program for their students on September 17 of each year.

Lesson Plans for Constitution Day

  • Commemorate Constitution Day with free, downloadable lessons for Grades K–12, Developed by the Center for Civic Education. Each lesson, below, includes teacher instructions.
If you have difficulty opening the PDF files, click here here to download the latest version of Adobe Reader.
Audio recordings of select Constitution Day lessons are also available to download .

 

Grade Lesson Plan

K

Matching Game with the U.S. Constitution

This lesson introduces students to the Constitution. Students participate in a matching game to learn what the Constitution is and what it does for them. They will recognize key images related to the Constitution and its history.

Orb and Effy Learn about Authority

This lesson introduces the study of authority. Children learn when people are exercising authority and when they are exercising power without authority. Children learn how and why authority is useful in society.


1

The Constitution: The Country's Rules

In this lesson, students develop an awareness of the Constitution by exploring what it is and why it is important. Students examine their classroom rules poster as an introduction to the concept of rules and learn that the Constitution is the law of the United States.


1–2

Constitution Day Rap

This lesson introduces students to important facts about the Constitution and its history. Students create a thirteen-star flag and read or perform the Constitution Day Rap.

What Is Authority?

This lesson introduces the study of authority. Students learn two very important concepts: authority and limited government. Students also learn the importance of examining and choosing people for positions of leadership.
Lesson Audio Teacher Audio


3–4

What Basic Ideas Are in the Preamble to the Constitution?

This lesson explores some ideas in the Preamble to the Constitution. Students learn that the power to govern belongs to the people who have created the government to protect their rights and promote their welfare.


5–6

What Basic Ideas about Government Are Included in the Preamble to the Constitution?

This lesson explores some of the ideas in the Preamble to the Constitution. Students read the Preamble and develop definitions for the six key phrases in the document.
Lesson Audio Teacher Audio


7–8

What is the Federal System Created by the Constitution?

This lesson teaches students about the federal system of government created by the Framers. Students learn about popular sovereignty, federalism, and the supremacy clause of the Constitution.
Lesson Audio Teacher Audio


9–10

To Amend or Not to Amend, That's Been the Question…Many Times NEW!

This lesson asks students to examine recent proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution, analyze them for public policy triggering mechanisms, and compare and contrast them to amendments that have been ratified.

How Was the Constitution Used to Organize the New Government?

This lesson explains the five major accomplishments of the first Congress. Students learn how the Constitution provided a general framework for the government.
Lesson Audio Teacher Audio

Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. Constitution

This lesson traces Lincoln's political life during a time of constitutional crisis. It examines Lincoln's ideas and decisions regarding slavery and the use of presidential power to preserve the Union.


9–12

Responsibility and the U.S. Constitution

In this lesson, students learn about responsibility and apply the concept to segments of the U.S. Constitution.


11–12

Historical Analysis of Constitutional Amendments NEW!

In this lesson, students examine one of six key amendments to the Constitution while considering their historical context. Students create timelines for each amendment that are later combined to fully evaluate and interpret how the Constitution has evolved within its historical context.

What Does Returning to Fundamental Principles Mean?

This lesson presents a series of quandaries that represent many great ideas and principles that have shaped our constitutional heritage. In each exercise, students apply principles and ideas to a contemporary issue and then take a position and defend their judgments.
Lesson Audio Teacher Audio

What Is the Role of the President in the American Constitutional System?

This lesson examines sources of presidential power and ways that checks and balances limit presidential power. Students explain the president's constitutional responsibilities, identify checks on the president's power, and defend positions involving the exercise of presidential power.



Permission to duplicate these lessons for classroom use is given provided the following credit line is used:
Reprinted with permission from the Center for Civic Education. Copyright 2009. Center for Civic Education. www.civiced.org.