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The Constitution: A Second Grade Lesson

Lesson Plan

Created by Laura Chatfield

Constitution by Joseph Finn, 2009 May Day Parade, Chicago, IL, (CC by-nc-nd 2.0)


Core Theme to Which Lesson Relates: 

American Revolution

Grade Level:


Estimated duration of lesson: 

1 day

Content standards that the lesson fulfills and the relevant grade level indicators: 

Ohio Social Studies Academic Content Standards 
Government  Grade 2:  2. Explain how a system of government provides order to a group such as a school or community and why government is necessary.  
Also: Ohio law mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on Constitution Day.

Primary Sources:  

1.  Replicas of U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights
2.  Interactive photograph of signing of Constitution (This is a secondary source.)

Summary of the lesson: 

The law establishing Constitution Day was created in 2004. The act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day. Typically this requirement has often been fulfilled simply by having students read a Weekly Reader or Scholastic News issue about the Constitution. This lesson attempts to more fully engage students through use of primary and secondary source material. As a culminating activity, students create their own classroom “bill of rights.” At the on-set of this lesson, second grade students have little to no background knowledge of our US Constitution.

Instructional steps to implement the lesson: 

1) Using the Document Analysis Worksheet for Primary Grades as a guide, view documents (Constitution, Bill of Rights) and discuss orally being sure students understand basic meaning of the documents. 
2) Show the photograph of the signing of the Constitution. Using the mouse, scroll over the people in the picture and their names will appear. Match a few famous signatures on the Constitution to people in the painting.  
3) Show a picture of the original Constitution, on display, in the Library of Congress, Washington D.C. 
4) Make the connection between the laws for how our country is set-up and classroom rules that were established at the beginning of the year. 
5) Make the connection between rights as a US Citizen and rights in the school classroom. 
6) Give students time to work with their table to think of classroom rights, and share with whole class to create a list of classroom rights. 
7) Display Classroom Bill of Rights next to the classroom rules and US Constitution and Bill of Rights documents.

Materials needed by students:

None, possibly paper and pencil for writing ideas for classroom rights. For extension (see below) – crayons, markers

Materials needed by teacher: 

Constitution and Bill of Rights documents, websites as noted above.  for guide, chart paper


Informal assessment – students will understand the meaning of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. They will be able to identify classroom rights. (At the 2nd grade level, these concepts are not formally tested early in the year.)


Once the Classroom Rights are listed and posted, students could choose a right to illustrate and label. Drawings could be posted on the bulletin board.