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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
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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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0.0 stars

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
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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
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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
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0.0 stars

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
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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
The Peaceful Transfer of Power
Only Sharing Permitted
CC BY-NC-ND
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The White House is a stage for the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. Discover how the transfer from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson set this precedent. Featuring Dr. Matthew Costello, Senior Historian at the White House Historical Association.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
The White House Historical Association
Date Added:
11/12/2020
Preamble of the U.S. Constitution
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
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0.0 stars

Print the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution sheet seen here. There are 7 spaces for you to draw your idea of what each phrase means. What does “We the People” look like to you? Draw your idea on the dotted line.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
United States Capitol Visitor Center
Author:
OER_LIBRARIAN
Date Added:
12/09/2020
The Road to Civil Rights
Rating
0.0 stars

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
● Identify key events of the Civil Rights Movement and their place in time
● Explain the significance of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution in relation to the
expansion of rights for African Americans and how they laid the footing for the Civil Rights Movement
● Summarize central ideas of short, dense text
● Apply Tier 2/academic and Tier 3/domain-specific vocabulary associated with the Civil Rights Movement

Subject:
Education
Reading Informational Text
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Assessment
Author:
Brooke Machado
Date Added:
12/28/2021
Roles of the President: Classroom Resource Packet
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC
Rating
0.0 stars

What exactly does the president do in the White House? Most citizens understand that the President of the United States is the leader of the country, but they may not be able to explain all the duties and powers that come with that position. The Constitution specifically lists several presidential responsibilities. Other presidential roles have developed as our country has grown and changed. Learn about the requirements to become president and how the president carries out some of the major duties of this important position, as well as some historic examples.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
The White House Historical Association
Date Added:
11/12/2020
Separation of Powers or Shared Powers: Weighing the Evidence
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
Rating
0.0 stars

In this activity, students will identify and draw conclusions about the relationship between the legislative, executive and judicial branches by critically analyzing primary sources. Using the scale, they will decide whether the United States government more appropriately fits the concept of "separation of powers" or "shared powers." They will formulate an opinion about each document and place it on the scale accordingly, and support their opinions with specific evidence from the primary sources.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Primary Source
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Provider Set:
DocsTeach
Date Added:
11/13/2020
Slavery, Freedom, and the White House
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC
Rating
0.0 stars

Although many people think of the White House as a symbol of democracy, it is also a part of our country’s history of slavery. From the start of White House construction in 1792 until emancipation took effect in Washington, D.C. in 1862, enslaved men, women, and children labored at the Executive Mansion. The stories of these individuals, working under the oppressive institution of slavery in the “People’s House,” demonstrate a stark contrast to the ideals of freedom and democracy that the White House has long represented.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
The White House Historical Association
Date Added:
11/12/2020
Statue of Freedom and Philip Reid
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
Rating
0.0 stars

Atop the Dome of the U.S. Capitol stands a statue more than 19 feet tall, cast in bronze. Her name is Freedom. American artist Thomas Crawford sculpted Freedom from plaster at his studio in Rome, Italy. Crawford created three designs. The statue was shipped across the ocean in five pieces and assembled by an Italian craftsman for temporary display on the Capitol grounds. Then the pieces were to be taken apart and cast into bronze.The U.S. government hired Clark Mills, who owned a foundry in Washington, D.C., to make the bronze castings. A foundry is a factory where metal is melted for casting. However, the artist who assembled Freedom covered the seams between the five pieces in plaster, hiding them from view. He refused to take his work apart unless he received a pay raise. Only one man knew what to do. His name was Philip Reid.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
United States Capitol Visitor Center
Author:
OER_LIBRARIAN
Date Added:
12/09/2020
To Sign or Not to Sign
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
Rating
0.0 stars

Students will consider the arguments made by members of the Continental Congress regarding whether or not to sign the Declaration of Independence. They will also have the opportunity to analyze each section of the Declaration to understand its meaning and consider the consequences of signing the document.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Primary Source
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Provider Set:
DocsTeach
Date Added:
11/13/2020
Tour the White House in 360 Degrees
Rating
5.0 stars

Welcome to the White House 360 Virtual Tour! This immersive experience will bring you inside the halls of the White House and provide access to all the public rooms on the Ground and State Floors. It will also allow you to examine the rooms and objects even closer than you would in person.

This feature was made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Subject:
Architecture and Design
Art History
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Primary Source
Author:
White House Historical Association
Date Added:
03/11/2021
Transfer of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence to the National Archives (1952)
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
Rating
0.0 stars

This footage shows the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence as they are loaded into an armored truck at the Library of Congress, taken to the National Archives Building in a procession down Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues, and carried up the building's steps. President Harry S. Truman and Supreme Court Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson speak in a ceremony at the National Archives Rotunda on the historic importance of the documents.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Date Added:
12/08/2020
US Constitution -- The "Fifth Page"
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
Rating
0.0 stars

The so-called "Fifth Page" of the US Constitution -- also known as the Transmittal Page -- has never been publicly displayed. On the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the US Constitution the Fifth Page was displayed at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The Fifth Page has received the same care as the more famous documents in the Charters of Freedom and is encased in the same type of state-of-the-art oxygen-free encasement as the Declaration of Independence, Constitution pages one to four, and the Bill of Rights.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Date Added:
12/08/2020
The U.S. Constitution at the National Archives
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
Rating
0.0 stars

In this Inside the Vaults video short, Chief of Reference at the National Archives Trevor Plante literally takes viewers inside the Archives vaults to see some of his favorite rarely-displayed documents. They include:
• The original text of the "Virginia Plan," Edmund Randolph's proposal for a national government that included three co-equal branches: "supreme legislative, judiciary and executive";
• A printed copy of the Constitution with George Washington's handwritten annotations;
• The final printed copy of the Constitution, which was delivered to the Constitutional Convention September 13, 1787, approved by vote on September 15, and then signed on September 17; and
• The state of Pennsylvania's ratification copy of the Constitution — unlike the four-page version of the Constitution on display at the National Archives in Washington, DC, the entire text is on one enormous sheet of parchment so it could be more easily transported.

Inside the Vaults includes highlights from the National Archives in the Washington, DC, area and from the Presidential libraries and regional archives nationwide. These shorts present behind-the-scenes exclusives and offer surprising stories about the National Archives treasures.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Date Added:
12/08/2020
U.S. Constitution finds a permanent home at National Archives
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
Rating
0.0 stars

Come see the U.S. Constitution on permanent display at the National Archives in Washington, DC. September 17 is designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Date Added:
12/08/2020
The Voting Record of the Constitution
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
Rating
0.0 stars

In this activity, students will analyze a primary source document to find relevant historical data and measure the degree of agreement and disagreement during the Constitutional Convention.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Primary Source
Provider:
National Archives and Records Administration
Provider Set:
DocsTeach
Date Added:
11/13/2020
We the People: George Mason
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
Rating
0.0 stars

The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution are known as our Bill of Rights, which serve as a guarantee for our freedoms. But these amendments almost didn’t happen. Join a group of middle schoolers on a tour of Washington, D.C. as they learn about the Constitution and what it means to be “We the People.” The “We the People” videos are produced in collaboration with the U.S. Capitol Historical Society.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
United States Capitol Historical Society
Date Added:
11/20/2020
We the People: National Archives
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
Rating
0.0 stars

Once a vision for the United States of America, crafted by our founding fathers, the Declaration of Independence is preserved as living proof of our history at the National Archives and Records Administration. Join a group of middle schoolers on a tour of Washington, D.C. as they learn about this document and others and what it means to be “We the People.” The “We the People” videos are produced in collaboration with the U.S. Capitol Historical Society.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
United States Capitol Historical Society
Date Added:
11/20/2020
We the People: The White House
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
Rating
0.0 stars

The president of the United States serves as the chief executive and commander of the armed forces, all defined in Article II of the Constitution as the executive branch. Join a group of middle schoolers on a tour of Washington, D.C. as they learn about the Constitution and what it means to be "We the People." The "We the People" videos are produced in collaboration with the U.S. Capitol Historical Society.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
United States Capitol Historical Society
Date Added:
11/20/2020
We the People: U.S. Capitol
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
Rating
0.0 stars

Of the three branches of our government, many believe that the most important is the one directly elected by "We the People": the legislative branch, represented by the two houses of the U.S. Congress at the Capitol building. Join a group of middle schoolers on a tour of Washington, D.C. as they learn about the Constitution and what it means to be "We the People." The "We the People" videos are produced in collaboration with the U.S. Capitol Historical Society.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
United States Capitol Historical Society
Date Added:
11/20/2020