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OUR CONSTITUTION: WEEKS 13-16

WEEK THIRTEEN (continued)

HISTORY QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What were all four (North, South, East, West) boundaries of the U.S. at independence in 1783? According to the 1783 Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain acknowledged American independence, the new nation's boundaries were the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, the state of Florida and the latitude line of 31 degrees North. (The North boundary is optional.)

Objective: What type of government did America first have and why did it fail?
Homework: Get agenda signed.

  1. A) Do you think most people lock their front doors at night? B) What does your answer say about how much people trust each other? (Teacher explanation: The Founding Fathers figured all people were naturally trustworthy and created a government based on that belief, but they found people aren't inherently good. Thus, the government didn't work.)
  2. Review exam
  3. Unit III: Our Constitution cover page
  4. Notes:
    • Students copy "Shifting Balance of Political Power" from Adventure Tales of America: An Illustrated History of the United States, 1492-1877 (Signal Media Corporation)
    • Articles of Confederation: In the middle write, "Congress." Around "Congress" draw an upset looking man. Draw six arrows coming out from his head. Next to the arrows write one of the following: foreign relations (draw a globe), war (draw a musket), Native American affairs (draw a Native American), Postal Service (Draw a letter), and Coin and borrow money (draw money). Draw two thought bubbles from the upset man's head. In one bubble write, "I can't raise taxes." In the other bubble write, "I can't regulate commerce (business) or settle fights between states." Explain each of these items as you write them. There are some good historic examples out there. To exaggerate the point, talk about how New Jersey is the only state that can grow cabbage. In New Jersey they sell cabbage for $1 a head. In order to make money, they sell it to other states for $15 a head. The national government can't do anything about it.
  5. Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation activity The Constitution in a New Nation: 1.3 Analyzing the Features of the Articles of Confederation: Analyze and discuss the purposes and problems of the Articles of Confederation.
  6. Discuss overhead of p. 219 from This is America's Story (Wilder, Ludlum, and Brown) comparing the Confederation and Constitution and showing how the Constitution solved those problems.
  7. WRAP-UP: CONFESSIONS ABOUT OUR CONFEDERATION: You are writing a front-page newspaper article trying to explain to American citizens the way their new government works. Include at least 4 new aspects to the government and two problems that you see might cause issues in the future. Include one drawing as well.

WEEK FOURTEEN

HISTORY QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Which President first declared Thanksgiving a national holiday? Abraham Lincoln in 1863 OR What was the last state to ratify the Constitution? Rhode Island. The required nine of the thirteen states ratified the Constitution between January and June 1788. But it was not until after Washington was inaugurated in 1789 that all of the states ratified it. The last stragglers were North Carolina in November 1789 and Rhode Island in May 1790.

Objective: What finally caused our Founding Fathers to create our current government?

  1. a) What does "authority" mean? B) Do you think people in authority are always helpful, always harmful, or both? C) WHY? Give 3+ examples to prove it.
  2. Quickly discuss the issue of Congress trying to develop the Northwest Territory using the picture from p. 140 from Adventure Tales of America: An Illustrated History of the United States, 1492-1877 (Signal Media Corporation).
  3. Creating a Coat of Arms activity: The Constitution in a New Nation: 1.2 Experiencing the Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation: Apply the decision-making process of the Articles of Confederation to adopt a “Coat of Arms.”
  4. T-chart: Classroom activity vs. historical reality: 13 teams = 13 states, each team gets 1 vote (no matter how big) = each state gets 1 vote (no matter how big), tried to create coat of arms = Congress tried to make laws like how to develop the Northwest Territory, needed 9 of 13 teams to pass coat of arms = needed 9 of 13 states to pass laws, looking out for our own benefit (extra credit) = states looking out for themselves rather than for interests of the nation, coat of arms never passed = few laws ever passed, game was unfair = citizens not satisfied because the government is too weak
  5. Read pp. 235-239: The Call for Change & answer chapter questions (15 minutes)
  6. Slide lecture: The Constitution in a New Nation: 2.1 The Convening of the Constitutional Convention: Study images depicting the convening of the Constitutional Convention in 1787.” For each slide, write the title and 3+ notes.
  7. As a class, write out notes: "Leading to the Constitutional Convention." Turn papers the long way. Write each of the following down the side: Too many taxes, Failing crops left farmers impoverished, Poor foreign relations, Boundary disputes between states, Shay's Rebellion. Draw an arrow from each of these items to the next item, "Many Americans worried about Confederation's ability to maintain order." Draw an arrow from this to, "Madison and Hamilton persuaded Congress to consider revising government." Draw an arrow from this to, "Delegates from states met at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA." Draw an arrow from this to, "After discussion, delegates agreed to abandon Articles of Confederation and create new Constitution."Note: Not all classes had time for this step, so skip it if the Coat of Arms game goes too long.
  8. WRAP-UP: ACROSTIC POEM: Write an acrostic poem describing the "Articles of Confederation" using the word "Articles." OR Have students write an acrostic poem for "Articles of Confederation" and give extra credit for poems that rhyme. If you do this, have students finish the poems for homework.

Objective: What compromises were made to create our government?
Homework: Get agenda signed

  1. In 4+ sentences describe a time when you had to make a compromise. (Need to explain what a compromise is.)
  2. Define Virginia Plan, NJ Plan, Great Compromise, 3/5 Compromise by book (12 minutes)
  3. The Constitution in a New Nation: 2.2 The Compromises of the Constitution.” Use the slides but not script nor the activity. (The activity worked just fine, but it takes an extra day and I didn't think it was worth it.)
    • Introduce analogy after VA & NJ plans but BEFORE 3/5 Compromise.
    • Take notes on each compromise in the following manner: "PROBLEM" (under it write the problem that needed to be solved). Draw an arrow pointing to "PROPOSAL" (Above "PROPOSAL" write one of the proposals and an arrow pointing down to "PROPOSAL." Below "PROPOSAL" write the other main proposal and an arrow pointing up to "PROPOSAL"). Draw an arrow pointing from "PROPOSAL" to "COMPROMISE" (under it write the name and description of the compromise made. Do the Great Compromise with the class, but have them do the other two on their own (with help). This is the example: PROBLEM: How should the states be represented in Congress? COMPROMISE: New Jersey Plan: Each state should get equal representation (2 votes)…Virginia Plan: Base it on population: larger states get more votes. COMPROMISE: Great Compromise: Divide Congress into 2 houses: Rep. in Senate is equal (2 votes) & Rep. in House of Reps based on population.
    • Analogy: Problem: What should the theme of the 8th grade dance be? Proposals: Enchanted Memories OR Barney and his friends. How do we decide? We'll vote by homerooms. I have 24 kids in my homeroom, 2 of which are 7th graders. Ms. Tracy has 10 kids in her homeroom, all of whom are 8th graders, Mrs. Shannen has 39 in her homeroom, 15 of which are 7th graders, Mr. Jamie has 16 in his, with no 7th graders. Does each homeroom get 1 vote? (NJ plan) Does each homeroom get a set number of votes depending upon their size? (VA plan) Do the 7th graders (slaves) count in the vote?
  4. WRAP-UP: POLITICAL POSTER: Select either the Virginia or New Jersey Plan. Create a poster trying to convince the other states to vote for that plan. Include what the plan says and at least 3 reasons the states should vote for that plan. Also include a visual aid to help people remember that plan.

WEEK FIFTEEN

HISTORY QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What was the first state admitted to the union after the original 13? Vermont in 1791, created from parts of New York and New Hampshire

Objective: What does the Constitution say?

  1. Study the cartoon on the overhead. A) Of the compromises you learned about in the last class, which compromise does this represent? B) How did you know this? C) What was the problem that this compromise was trying to resolve?
  2. Define: legislative branch, executive branch, judicial branch, impeach, electoral college, veto from textbook (8 minutes)
  3. 3 Branches of Government notes: Draw a tree with 3 branches. On the trunk write, "Our Constitution = Our Government." On the first branch write, "LEGISLATIVE." Under that write, "law-making." At the top of the branch have the trunk divide into two smaller branches. In one branch write, "Senate." In the other branch write, "House of Representatives." Above this write, "Congress." At the base of the entire branch write, "Article I." On the second branch write, "EXECUTIVE." Under that write, "enforce laws." At the top of the branch write, "President." Under the branch write, "Article II." On the third branch write, "JUDICIAL." Under that write, "Judgement." At the top of the branch write, "Supreme Court." Under the branch write, "Article III."
  4. Constitutional Card Sort Game The Constitution in a New Nation: 2.3 Constitutional Card Sort: Analyze 25 constitutional questions about the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.”: Students have questions on slips of paper. Looking up answers in the Constitution, pairs of students write down the answer in a complete sentence along with the Article and Section in which they found the answer. Exchange question slips with another group. The pair to get the most correct answers in 40 minutes gets extra credit. (Students will not finish.)
  5. Students write preamble on note card for exam. Be sure to tell them it will be fill-in-the-blank on the exam.

Objective: What does the Constitution say?

  1. In 3+ sentences describe a very stressful or very exciting event AND how you felt after it was over.
  2. Create a "Quick Guide" to the Constitution. Next to each Article, write the topic of that article and add a relevant picture to help you remember what is contained there.
  3. Watch a section of video on Constitution.
  4. Watch "School House Rock" video on preamble of Constitution. The entire class should sing along using their note cards. (The teacher should always be the loudest singer no matter how poor his/her voice.)
  5. Write out the Preamble in phrases. For each phrase, draw a picture of each phrase to help you remember that phrase.

Objective: What rights do we have?
Homework: Finish worksheet & get agenda signed

  1. List 3+ ways in which the Constitution is similar to a DVD player or computer instruction manual.
  2. Answer questions for pp. 244-247.
  3. Federalist vs. Anti-federalist notes: Create a T-chart with Federalists vs. Antifederalists. Under "Federalists" write, "Favor Constitution, Strong National Government, and James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay (Wrote The Federalist Papers). Draw a smiley face, up arrow, and thumbs-up sign below these. Under "Antifederalists" write, "Against passing the constitution, Limited national government (with strong states rights), Patrick Henry and John Hancock." Draw an unhappy face, down arrow, and thumbs-down below these. Be sure to mention that this issue will again come up in less than 100 years and will divide the country in the War Between the States.
  4. Overview of Bill of Rights (using The Constitution in a New Nation: 3.3 Understanding the Bill of Rights: Examine 10 images depicting individual rights and identify the corresponding amendments, overheads from pp. 161-162 in Adventure Tales of America: An Illustrated History of the United States, 1492-1877 (Signal Media Corporation), and textbook). During this lecture I discuss some of the specific ways our current national government is ignoring the rights we have in the Amendments. If you would like my examples, you can e-mail me.
  5. Worksheet on Federalists vs. Anti-federalists
  6. Pass out extra credit worksheet to students who want it. It included notes taken from James Madison at the Constitutional Convention concerning the slave trade and sections from Patrick Henry's speech before he agreed to ratify the constitution.

WEEK SIXTEEN

HISTORY QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Which document contains more signatures, The Declaration of Independence or The Constitution? How many more signatures did it have? Declaration of Independence - 17

Objective: What rights do I have?
Homework: Finish drawing Bill of Rights

  1. Study the slide. A) Which amendment do you think this slide represents? B) Why? C) What other rights does this amendment say we have?
  2. Finish Bill of Rights slide lecture. Starting by reviewing the first amendment. Give students 15 minutes to write in summary of amendment and draw a picture for it. Have students write in headings for amendments 2-10 as I lecture. (I use p. 34 from the Student Activities Book that's part of Adventure Tales of America: An Illustrated History of the United States, 1492-1877 (Signal Media Corporation)).
  3. Drawing Bill of Rights: draw a picture for amendments 2-10. Finish for homework.

Objective: Did America's new government work?
Homework: Study for exam

  1. UNIT EVALUATION a) What are 3 things you've learned during this unit on our Constitution? B) What are 2 areas about which you still feel confused? C) List the one area from this unit about which you would have like to study more.
  2. Notes: "How Political Parties Developed." At the top write, "US Constitution Written (1781)." Draw two arrows coming out from below. One points to, "Federalists (supported the Constitution as written)." The other points to, "Antifederalists (opposed the Constitution without Bill of Rights)." Below "Federalists" draw an arrow to "Hamilton Federalists" to "National Republicans" to "Whigs" to "Republicans." Below "Antifederalists" draw an arrow to "Jeffersonian Republicans" to "Democratic Republicans" to Democratics."
  3. Define: precedent, public debt, bond, interest, tariff, strict construction, loose construction from textbook
  4. Notes: "America's First Government Under the Constitution." Draw a tree similar to the one drawn for "Our Constitution = Our Government." In the trunk write, "1789." In the first branch write, "House of Representatives" and "Senate". In the second branch write, "George Washington." Draw three smaller branches coming off this branch. In one branch write, "Secretary of State (Thomas Jefferson)." In the second write, "Secretary of War (Henry Knox)." In the third branch write, "Secretary of Treasury (Alexander Hamilton)."
  5. New Political Parties:
    • Under the tree, draw a t-chart with the Hamiltonian Federalists vs. the Jeffersonian Republicans.
    • Under the Hamiltonian Federalists write, "Government controlled by rich and educated, focus on business, national bank, strong national government, loose construction (government can do anything the Constitution doesn't say it can't do), favor tariffs."
    • Under the Jeffersonian Republicans write, "Government controlled by ordinary citizen, focus on farmers, state banks, weak national government, strict construction (government only has power Constitution gives it), against tariffs."
    • Analogy 1: To explain "tariff," draw two identical shirts on the board, one priced $22 and the other $36. Ask which they would buy and why. Then draw two identical cars, one priced $19K and the other $38K. Explain are the exact same car. Which would you buy? Why? Show the more expensive one being from another country. Why would America do this? (to protect their own businesses) Are Americans still willing to pay more for things from other countries? (sometimes) Why? (sometimes better quality) Who would like tariffs? (American businesses/the North) Who wouldn't? (people who have to buy a lot of stuff from other countries/the South)
    • Analogy 2: To explain strict and loose construction: Strict construction: Our school's student/teacher handbook says that I can instruct students and lead activities related to academics. I cannot act prejudice against any student, nor may I physically, mentally, or sexually assault any of them. Loose construction: The student/teacher handbook doesn't say anything about me telling the students who they can or cannot date, so "Maria and Juan, you're going to have to break up." It also doesn't say anything about me telling my students what they can do on the weekends, so "From now on, you're each going to spend 2 hours every weekend reading history books. Plus, I want you all to come to my house and pull weeds once a month."
  6. Review worksheets from book
  7. Watch "School House Rock" video on preamble of Constitution

Objective: What have I learned about our Constitution?
Homework: Finish worksheet

  1. Cram/study for exam
  2. Watch "School House Rock" video on preamble of Constitution
  3. Have students fill in the blanks to the Preamble to the Constitution.
  4. Exam.
  5. Worksheet



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