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We the kids: the preamble to the constitution of


Description: We the kids: the preamble to the constitution of
File name: We the kids: the preamble to the constitution of

Lesson Title: We the Kids: Decoding the Preamble

By: Annie Robertson Teacher Consultant, Wasatch Range Writing Project

Burning Question: Can students make personal connections to the Preamble to the Constitution by reading a picture book and does drawing and writing help to solidify those connections?

Objectives:

  • Students will use prior knowledge to make connections to text (text to text, text to self and text to world).
  • Students will recognize and define the concepts in the Preamble.
  • Students will generate an illustrated Preamble.

Context:

  This lesson can be used and adapted for any elementary level class.

Materials:

  • We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States by David Catrow
  • Paper, crayons, markers

Time Span:  45 min - 1 hour

Procedures:

  • Read the book We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States to the students. Stop on each page to define and discuss the meaning of each phrase. An explanation of the definitions is included at the beginning of the book to help aid the discussion.
  • Have students in 4th-6th grade respond to the prompts:  Write about one idea from the book that stands out to you? How does it relate to you?
  • Let students share their writing responses.
  • Divide students into 10 groups. Give each group a phrase from the Preamble and have them design a page to describe the meaning of the phrase. The phrases are:
    1. We the People of the United States
    2. in order to form a more perfect Union
    3. establish Justice
    4. insure domestic Tranquility
    5. provide for the common defense
    6. promote the general welfare
    7. and secure the Blessings of Liberty
    8. to ourselves and our Posterity,
    9. do ordain and establish this Constitution
    10. for the United States of America
       
  • Tape or staple the class pages together and display them on a bulletin board or somewhere in the room.
  • Have the students discuss what they have learned about the Preamble.

Adaptations/Extensions:

  • You could display pictures of a handshake, a balance scale, a dove, a tank or soldiers, a school or hospital, and the Statue of Liberty for some examples related to the phrases.
  • For older students, give them a copy of the Preamble to work from. They could write about their drawing using a genre of their choice (i.e. poem, letter, memoir, song, etc)
  • Because this is a summary of the Constitution, students could read the Constitution to identify where the concepts are addressed in the Constitution.
  • Students could decide as a class if they want to model the book and include a character that would be present in each groups’’ drawing.
  • Students could write a class Preamble to precede a class Constitution.

Rationale:

Students need to be able to relate historical concepts to something  with which they are familiar with. Picture books are enjoyed by students of all ages. Teachers have the flexibility to discuss the concepts with their students in a way their students can understand. By using a variety of learning strategies, students will become familiar with the Preamble and what it says about the aspects of governance the founders hoped the Constitution would establish.

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