The United States Constitution was signed into existence on September 17, 1787, following a long hot summer of secret meetings in Philadelphia. More than 200 years later, we study the Constitution to learn more about its history and how the Constitution affects individuals, communities, institutions, and states today.
We even celebrate Constitution Day each year on the anniversary of the date when the Constitution was signed into existence. Tens of thousands of qualified people become U.S. citizens in naturalization ceremonies on September 17 each year, that same anniversary, meaning it's also Citizenship Day.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
So begins the Constitution of the United States of America.
U.S. Constitution Unit Study
Do your kids know about those secret meetings that led to the creation of the United States Constitution?
Do they know which Founding Fathers did not sign the document?
Do they know the sticking points that were difficult for the framers of the Constitution to agree on?
This Constitution unit study introduces the document, the Republic, and the day chosen to honor our Constitution. Help your kids and teens learn about the Constitution through the resources, activities, and worksheets we have pulled together for you! Each section includes links to relevant online resources.
Start your unit with a trip to the library to pick up some age-appropriate books about the Constitution for kids.
Sign up below to get the Constitution Unit Study printable to use with the questions, vocabulary and worksheets on this page.
Books about the Constitution
Here are some of our favorites, but always preview resources for suitability for your family.
- Y—Young (PreK-3rd)
- M—Middle (4th-6th)
- O—Older (7th-12th)
- T—Teacher Resources
The Origin of the U.S. Constitution
After reading and learning together, discuss these questions with your child and make the timeline together. Older kids may be able to write out the answers.
- What is the Constitution of the United States?
- When and where was it created?
- What was the Constitutional Convention?
- Who took part in the Constitutional Convention? How many delegates and where were they from?
- Which state did not participate? Why?
- Create a timeline of the Constitutional Convention. Use monthly increments to break down your timeline.
Bonus activity: Memorize the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.
- Teaching American History
The United States Constitution is a direct outgrowth of the events leading up to its creation and the political, economic, and social environment in which it was created. Teaching American History's American Founding Toolkit helps teachers bring the documents and debates of this period into the present through document-based seminars, document collections, a web-based document library, and other resources.
- Digital Exhibition: The Constitutional Convention
This digital exhibition from Teaching American History provides an interactive, 11-step guide to understanding the Constitutional Convention. It includes a timeline, a look at the delegates, committee assignments, major themes, artistic interpretations, and more.
- Opposing Viewpoints on the Ratification of the US Constitution (M,O)
By examining and analyzing key excerpts from "Federalist No. 51," George Mason’s Objections to the Constitution, and notes from Alexander Hamilton’s Plan of Government speech, students will come to understand that Americans did not unilaterally agree on their new form of government.
U.S. Constitution Vocabulary
Constitutional Convention Vocabulary
Research and define the following terms (aloud or on paper) as they relate to the Constitutional Convention.
- Founding Fathers
- Framers of the US Constitution
- Virginia plan
- New Jersey Plan
- Hamilton Plan
- Connecticut Compromise
- Three-Fifths Compromise
- Commerce and Slave Trade Compromise
U.S. Government Terms
Research and define the following terms as they relate to the completed U.S. Constitution.
- Executive branch
- Vice President
- Electoral College
- House of Representatives
- Executive branch
- Legislative branch
- Judicial branch
- Supreme Court
- Bill of rights
Online resources for Constitution vocabulary:
- Differences between Federalists and Antifederalists (Infographic)
- Glossary of Terms As Used In the Constitution
- Constitutional Convention Vocabulary Quiz
Authors of the U.S. Constitution
Look into the lives of the men who created the Constitution.
- Do a biography report on one of the signers
- Find out who the 40th signature on the Constitution was
- Complete the Framers of the Constitution Crossword Puzzle (Answer Key)
Online resources about the Founding Fathers:
- The Founding Fathers Delegates to the Constitutional Convention
Biographical information from the National Archives on the 55 delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention.
- Founders Online
Explore over 184,000 searchable documents, fully annotated, from the Founding Fathers Papers projects by the National Archives.
Constitution Day Activities and Games
Constitution Day is celebrated on September 17 and Constitution Week on September 17-23 annually.
These books, games, videos, and more are a great way to celebrate Constitution Day with your kids.
Constitution Day Coloring Pages
Younger kids (and even older kids) love to color. These Constitution-related coloring pages are a fun way to introduce them to the Founding Fathers and constitutional ideas.
Questions about Constitution Day
After reading and learning together, discuss these questions with your child. Older kids may be able to write out the answers.
- What is Constitution Day?
- When is Constitution Day?
- What is another name for Constitution Day?
- When was Constitution Day established?
- How does one celebrate Constitution Day?
Audio and video about the Constitution
- Liberty's Kids, "We the People" animated episode on YouTube
- The Constitution Explained: Video Series presented by iCivics
- The Constitution Project Film Series, "Creating a Constitution" (many other short films on Constitutional topics are also available on this site)
- The U.S. Constitution, 3/5, and the Slave Trade Clause (this Crash Course Black American History video directly addresses the compromises around slavery that were made in order to get both southern and northern states in the U.S. to agree on the Constitution)
- "The US Constitution through History" from Wondrium (formerly The Great Courses; access may be included in your Audible subscription or through your local library)
Hands-on and real-life activities
Many of our free high school government class activities are directly related to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Plus, they include doing things and going places, which works "better than books" for some teens.
- Constitution Quest (board game)
- Democracy 4 (video game for ages 15+)
While not a game about the U.S. Constitution per say, this simulation or "sandbox" PC video game provides immersion into the issues around government and politics. Read the Common Sense Media Guide for information and parent reviews.
- The U.S. Constitution Power Grab Game (high school)
Game to encourage students to comprehend checks and balances, separation of powers, Bill of Rights, and amendments and relate them to the study of the three branches of our federal government.
Constitution Day Lesson Plans
EDSITEment Teacher's Guide: Commemorating Constitution Day
This Constitution Day teacher’s guide from EDSITEment includes discussion topics, worksheets, K-12 lesson plans, and more, all separated by grade level.
Constitution Day Lesson Plans
The Center for Civic Education has a large collection of K-12 lesson plans for commemorating Constitution Day.
Constitution Day is a website set up to celebrate the ratification of the Constitution and provide education to anyone interested. It provides the full text of the Constitution, its Amendments, and detailed information on the Founding Fathers.
Library of Congress Constitution Day Teacher Resources
The Library of Congress has a large collection of resources for commemorating Constitution Day, including a roundup of primary sources, interactives, lesson plans, and more.
Teaching With Documents: Observing Constitution Day
Primary-source-based lesson plans, a Constitution Workshop, webinars, and more for observing Constitution Day. From the National Archives.
Constitution Lesson Plans
The Constitution: Drafting a More Perfect Union (M,O)
In this unit from the Library of Congress, students will analyze an unidentified historical document from the Federal Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia and draw conclusions about what this document was for, who created it, and why.
The U.S. Constitution: Continuity and Change in the Governing of the United States (M,O)
This unit from the Library of Congress includes four lessons using primary sources to examine continuity and change in the governing of the United States. Lessons one and two are focused on a study of the Constitution and Bill of Rights and provide access to primary source documents from the Library of Congress. Lesson three investigates important issues which confronted the first Congress and has students examine current congressional debate over similar issues. Lesson four features broadsides from the Continental Congress calling for special days of thanksgiving and remembrance.
General US Constitution Resources
National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center provides information and resources to educators and citizens to celebrate Constitution Day. It has a large collection of lesson plans, interactives, videos, crafts, activities, and more.
Similarities and Differences Between the Iroquois Confederacy and the US Constitution (M,O,T)
This History Channel resource explains the influence of the forms of governing used by Native American Nations, in particular the Iroquois Confederacy.
Charters of Freedom
The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are collectively known as the Charters of Freedom. You can find scans and the full text of the original documents on the National Archives website.