Constitution Day is coming up! September 17 commemorates the Founding Fathers’ 1787 signing of one of the most important documents in our nation’s history — the United States Constitution.
Ready to celebrate? Get a little help from The Walking Classroom’s U.S. Preamble and Constitution (4-#58, Complete- #72), and you can easily get started!
A Bit of Background
The Constitutional Convention took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (at the Pennsylvania State House, now Independence Hall). Held from May 14 to September 17, 1787, the event’s purpose was to amend the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation had been approved at the Second Continental Congress in 1777, then ratified in 1781. This agreement among the 13 original states named the new nation “The United States of America” and it served as the country’s first constitution.
Among the seventy men chosen to attend the Constitutional Convention, only 55 attended. Rhode Island did not send any delegates. Those present elected George Washington to guide the process.
Rather than amending the Articles of Confederation though, some delegates to the Constitutional Convention had other plans. They wanted to create a new government instead of fixing the existing one!
After two months full of debate, and with no agreement in sight, the delegates formed a committee to draft a new document. Eventually, they adopted The United States Constitution on September 17, 1787 with 39 signatures. Afterward, they sent it to the states to be ratified.
And Just Who Were Those Founding Fathers?
Encourage your students to look into the lives of these famous folks. With nearly forty figures signing the document, students can work individually or in pairs to learn (and later share!) a bit more about the Founding Fathers’ lives. And you can get some additional assistance from a couple other Walking Classroom podcasts, which focus on two of these figures.
- Benjamin Franklin (4-#47, Complete-#69)
- George Washington (4-#86, Complete-#71)
Even More to Explore!
Thanks to the National Constitution Center, you can explore this important document further with the Interactive Constitution. Weaving together storytelling, interpretation, and reflection, your students will think like constitutional scholars in no time! And plenty of additional educational resources support you. You can easily access historical documents and primary sources, lesson plans, interactive games, craft activities, and even virtual tours.
For a different spin on things, check out some Constitution Day events. Ideas abound; you can even get a bit of multimedia assistance — from a video explaining the Constitution for kids to some catchy Preamble practice!
Get Your Government On!
And once your students are experts on the United States Preamble and Constitution, go a bit further. Have a listen to The Walking Classroom’s Checks and Balances (4-#59, Complete-#73). Gain a better understanding of the three branches of government and how they work! Then, assess your students’ knowledge with a game, crossword puzzle, or word search.