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The Big Ideas of the U.S. Constitution
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
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In this activity students will identify and define seven key ideas contained in the U.S. Constitution by making matches from the grid. They will then analyze documents that demonstrate each big idea in action.

This activity is designed to prepare students for the Constitution-in-Action Learning Lab at the National Archives in Washington, DC. It is a part of a package of pre-visit activities associated with the lab experience.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Primary Source
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Provider Set:
DocsTeach
Date Added:
11/13/2020
Checks and Balances in Action: Seeing the Big Picture
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
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In this activity students will analyze documents that span the course of American history to see examples of "checks and balances" between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches in action. Students will then match the documents they have examined with an appropriate description of the branches of government involved in the action.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Provider Set:
DocsTeach
Date Added:
11/13/2020
The City of U.S. Virtual Field Trip
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
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For many students, a trip to Washington, D.C. is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that opens their eyes to an exciting world beyond their classrooms. Discovery Education and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden welcome students to a behind-the-scenes Virtual Field Trip to experience the history and beauty of our nation’s capital.

Designed for students in grades 4-8, this action-packed tour features remarkable special guests and give viewers an inside look at six landmark locations:

The White House
The U.S. Capitol Building
The Supreme Court
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Subject:
U.S. History
Political Science
Material Type:
Lesson
Lesson Plan
Author:
Discovery Education
Date Added:
07/21/2021
Compromise at the Constitutional Convention
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
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This activity is designed to help students understand the debates at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 that shaped America’s legislative branch of government. The primary goal of this activity is for students to discover how a compromise balanced the needs of large states and small states and how this led to the creation of the current House of Representatives and Senate.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
United States Capitol Visitor Center
Author:
OER_LIBRARIAN
Date Added:
12/14/2020
The Constitution and Congress
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
Rating
0.0 stars

The nation’s founders believed Congress to be the fundamental institution of the federal government, since it is the body that most closely represents the people. The framers of the United States Constitution began by creating Congress. Then they established the other two branches of government—the executive branch and the judicial branches.The Constitution gives each branch distinct powers, but it makes sure that the three are in competition. Each branch has its own ways to check and balance the powers of the other two. The separation and balance of powers has contributed to the government’s enduring vitality, providing order and stability while allowing flexibility for adaptation and change.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
United States Capitol Visitor Center
Author:
OER_LIBRARIAN
Date Added:
12/09/2020
The Constitution in Action: Article II (Lab Team 3)
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
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In this activity students will analyze the Senate Journal of the First Congress and identify how the document demonstrates content contained within Article II of the Constitution in action.

This activity is designed to prepare students for the Constitution-in-Action Lab at the National Archives in Washington, DC. It is a part of a package of activities associated with the lab experience.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Primary Source
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Provider Set:
DocsTeach
Date Added:
11/13/2020
The Constitution in Action: Article I (Lab Team 1)
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
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In this activity students will analyze the Oaths of Senators for the Impeachment Trial of William Jefferson Clinton and identify how the document demonstrates content contained within Article I, sections 1-7 of the Constitution in action.

This activity is designed to prepare students for the Constitution-in-Action Lab at the National Archives in Washington, DC. It is a part of a package of activities associated with the lab experience.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Provider Set:
DocsTeach
Date Added:
11/13/2020
The Constitution in Action: Article I (Lab Team 2)
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
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In this activity students will analyze the Declaration of Intention for Albert Einstein and identify how the document demonstrates content contained within Article I, sections 8-10 of the Constitution in action.

This activity is designed to prepare students for the Constitution-in-Action Lab at the National Archives in Washington, DC. It is a part of a package of activities associated with the lab experience.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Provider Set:
DocsTeach
Date Added:
11/13/2020
The Constitution of the United States
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
Rating
0.0 stars

The Constitution acted like a colossal merger, uniting a group of states with different interests, laws, and cultures. Under America’s first national government, the Articles of Confederation, the states acted together only for specific purposes. The Constitution united its citizens as members of a whole, vesting the power of the union in the people. Without it, the American Experiment might have ended as quickly as it had begun.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Date Added:
12/08/2020
Draft of Motion Rule for Marbury v. Madison
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
Rating
0.0 stars

This document is an order to show cause in the Marbury v. Madison Supreme Court case. An order to show cause explains that a defendant is expected to appear before the judge and defend his or her actions. The document shows damage from the 1898 fire in the Capitol Building.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Provider Set:
DocsTeach
Date Added:
12/11/2020
Engaging Students Regarding Events at U.S. Capitol
Unrestricted Use
CC BY
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At OSPI, part of our mission is to prepare students for civic engagement throughout their lives. We believe our schools must engage and empower students, from an early age, with opportunities to participate in civil conversations, examples of effective civic engagement, and tools to find peaceful solutions to community problems.OSPI’s Social Studies and Social-Emotional Learning teams have put together resources for educators, families, and students to help with these difficult conversations.

Subject:
U.S. History
Political Science
Material Type:
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Author:
Kari Tally
Barbara Soots
Washington OSPI OER Project
Jerry Price
Date Added:
01/11/2021
Inaugurations and the White House: Classroom Resource Packet
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC
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An inauguration is the act or ceremony of bringing someone into a position or an office. Every president of the United States has been inaugurated, dating back to the first executive, George Washington. These inaugurations symbolize a peaceful transition of power between administrations. Although the Constitution provides an oath for the new president to take, all other elements of the modern presidential inauguration grew from traditions, changes, and preferences that evolved over 200 years. As the president's residence, the White House plays an important role in inaugurations. Gain a deeper appreciation of presidential inaugurations and transitions at the White House by learning about the history behind the Oath of Office, inaugural parade, parties, and more.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
The White House Historical Association
Date Added:
11/12/2020
Judgment in Brown v. Board of Education
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
Rating
0.0 stars

On May 17, 1954, in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (five separate cases consolidated under a single name), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that separate but equal public schools violated the 14th Amendment.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Provider Set:
DocsTeach
Date Added:
12/11/2020
Judgment in the U.S. Supreme Court Case Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sandford
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
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In this ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that slaves were not citizens of the United States and, therefore, could not expect any protection from the Federal Government or the courts. The opinion also stated that Congress had no authority to ban slavery from a Federal territory.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Provider Set:
DocsTeach
Date Added:
12/11/2020
A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution
Read the Fine Print
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This activity “Becoming aware of the Japanese American Internment Camp Experience” is intended to help students become aware of, and sensitive to, the Japanese American interment camp experience. They will develop a sense of empathy by simulating the situations which Japanese American children faced.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
National Museum of American History
Date Added:
09/28/2004
Oh Freedom! Sought Under the Fugitive Slave Act: Making Connections
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
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The road to Emancipation was indeed stony! Enslaved people struggled to free themselves and loved ones, one person at a time.

This activity includes primary sources from the official records of the U.S. District Court at Boston that tell the story of William and Ellen Craft, a young couple from Macon, GA, who escaped to freedom in Boston in 1848. The two traveled together, Ellen as a White gentleman (she was the daughter of an African-American woman and a White master and passed as White), and William as her slave valet. They made their way to Boston, and lived in the home of Lewis Hayden, a former fugitive and abolition activist.

With the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act in September, 1850, the Crafts' respective owners employed the legal system to regain their escaped property. A U.S. Marshal was sent to the home of Lewis Hayden. Hayden refused to let the marshal in and threatened to ignite kegs of gunpowder; the Marshal left. Ellen and William fled to Britain, where they remained for 20 years. They eventually returned to the United States and settled back in Georgia.

In this activity, students will examine historic documents about these fugitives from slavery. Then, using the documents, they will construct historical narratives to tell their story. They can explore perspective and use standard elements of writing (plot, character, setting, conflict, impact). Thinking about essential questions/topics, they will begin their writing with a topic/opening sentence that sets out the main idea.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Primary Source
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Provider Set:
DocsTeach
Date Added:
11/13/2020
Opinion of the Court by Chief Justice Earl Warren in the Case of Miranda v. Arizona
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
Rating
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In 1963, Ernesto Miranda was arrested in Arizona and charged with kidnapping, robbery, and rape. When questioned by police, Miranda confessed. He was tried and convicted based on his confession. Miranda appealed his conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in 1966 that statements made by the accused may not be admitted in court without procedural safeguards. Page 31 from the decision describes two of those safeguards—the accused’s right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during questioning. Selected pages are shown.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Provider Set:
DocsTeach
Date Added:
12/11/2020
The Origin of the President's Cabinet
Only Sharing Permitted
CC BY-NC-ND
Rating
0.0 stars

Learn about George Washington's creation of the cabinet, an advisory group for the President of the United States of America, and the cabinet's place in White House history. Featuring Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky, historian at the White House Historical Association and author of The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution (available April 2020).

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
The White House Historical Association
Date Added:
11/12/2020