Focus: This unit (Unit 8 for schools using the CKHG series in Sequence grade-level order) explores the creation and central ideas of the United States Constitution. Students learn how, after the Revolution, the Founding Fathers, confronted by the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation, worked to form a new government.
Led by the thinking of James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, the delegates at the Constitutional Convention grappled with critical issues such as defining the power of the central government, how that government should be structured, how large and small states should be represented, balancing power between the central government and the states, and dealing with the divisive issue of slavery. Students learn why the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution, and explore reasons why the Constitution has survived as the guiding document of government in the United States. Some lessons present primary source documents and additional activities examining key principles of the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights. Much of the content of this unit is tied to the “Pathway to Citizenship,” an array of civics-focused knowledge, questions, and activities.
Number of Lessons: 18
Lesson Time: 45 minutes each daily. Each lesson may be divided into shorter segments.
Additional Search Terms: social studies • geography • civics • map skills • nonfiction • informational text • Declaration of Independence • Shay’s Rebellion • George Washington • three branches of government: executive, legislative, judicial • Supreme Court • checks and balances • separation of powers • republican government • “Three-Fifths” Compromise • Preamble to the Constitution • “We the people” • Federalist Papers
CKHG Grade Levels: CKHG units are correlated to topics at the grade levels specified in the Core Knowledge Sequence, which allows students in schools following the Sequence to build knowledge grade by grade. In other settings, individual CKHG units may be used as supplemental resources. In general, the content and presentation in the CKHG units for Grades 3-5 are appropriate for young readers from the upper elementary grades through middle school.