Review by Stacy Zeiger, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2014
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United States Constitution

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Digitized version of historical documents is fine for reference

Subjects & skills
Skills
N/A

Subjects
  • Social Studies
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
6-12
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Pros: Organizes the U.S. Constitution and other related texts into an easy-to-navigate format with some brief analysis of the content.

Cons: Design fails to engage kids and could use a bit more analysis.

Bottom Line: This digital version of the U.S. Constitution and related texts is a handy reference, but offers nothing to engage kids or deepen their learning.

Teachers can use United States Constitution to replace more traditional copies of the iconic text. While using the app, teachers can have students search for answers to specific questions, such as "What power does the Constitution give the president of the United States?" The search feature, the analysis passages, and other annotations will provide kids with the answers to the questions. Teachers might also assign students to read and analyze particular articles of the Constitution.

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Rather than simply digitizing the Constitution and such related documents as the Bill of Rights, the Articles of Confederation, and the Gettysburg Address, this app organizes them into an accessible, simple-to-navigate format. Kids see one of the most important documents in U.S. history organized into articles and tap each article to reveal additional information. In addition to being able to read the text, kids will find some articles accompanied by a brief analysis to help them understand what the text means. Kids can also search for specific words to make it easy to find the information they need.

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The Constitution itself can be a tremendous tool for learning about government, democracy, and the history of the United States. And the app does provide an easy-to-navigate way to explore this impressive document. However, for middle and high school teachers, the text-heavy format is going to be a tough sell for your students. The brief analyses can offer some pathways to learning, but there are no features that allow kids to reflect on or apply what they learn. You might be better off using a history textbook, where excerpts from the Constitution are scaffolded with a glossary and discussion questions that provoke critical thinking. Still, if you want students to dive in and explore the entirety of this seminal document, this could be a useful tool.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The interface is well-organized but text-heavy, and lacks engaging design.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

The app offers analysis of passages and additional tidbits of information, but kids have no opportunities to apply the info or make meaning in their own way.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Kids can access links to additional resources for further study. In-app features help with navigating the text.


Common Sense Reviewer
Stacy Zeiger Homeschooling parent

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