Common Sense Review
Updated October 2014

PBS LearningMedia: Teaching the Constitution

Quick videos, primary source links bring the Constitution to life
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This module is part of the Website PBS LearningMedia.
Common Sense Rating 3
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  • This compilation of Constitutional resources includes lesson plans and primary source docs.
  • Selections, organized by theme, touch on original documents and their modern implications.
  • In the "We the People" activity, kids compare drafts of the Constitution.
  • The primary sources on the Library of Congress site can serve students of all ages.
Patricia Monticello Kievlan
Common Sense Reviewer
Foundation/Non-Profit Member
Common Sense Rating 3
How Can Teachers Use It?

Teaching the Constitution's resources come mostly from the PBS series Constitution USA. Most videos are shorter than five minutes -- the overall tone is thoughtful, sometimes humorous, and almost always thought-provoking. Use these for lesson warm-ups, or to set the stage for a class debate or lecture on a related topic. If needed, you can download individual clips for easy offline playback. Unfortunately, there aren't pre-made lesson plans available for this collection.

Several of the resources here link to other sites on the Web. Our Documents (co-sponsored by the National Archives) is noteworthy for its full text editions of the Constitution, individual amendments, and background essays on each document. These would be useful for a serious study of landmark amendments and their context and implications. We the People lets kids visually compare drafts of the Constitution -- the included questions are an effective starting point for class discussions. The Constitution primary source toolkit links to a Library of Congress site filled with images, audio files, videos, maps, documents, and a detailed teacher’s guide. These high-quality resources offer valuable context and visual detail -- they're great for younger kids encountering the Constitution for the first time or for older students learning to analyze primary source docs.

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Lesson Plans