The U.S. Constitution can be a daunting document for students to understand. By having students search through the Constitution, connecting numbers to some important information about our government, this scavenger hunt activity provides the students with a non-threatening way to become familiar with the articles and amendments of the Constitution while learning about our government and how it connects to them.
Why is it important for citizens to have a written document like the Constitution?
Students discuss the essential question and use that as a lead-in to play a numbers game with aspects of our Constitution. Students also pull numbers out of a bowl or hat, and then make inferences about those numbers in order to pique their curiosity about significant aspects of our government.
Students explore information about the U.S. Constitution through an outline and a primary text to verify and/or correct their own inferences.
Students open envelopes corresponding with the numbers. The envelopes have the correct answers to the numbers game. This reveal is used to check for understanding and fill in gaps of knowledge.
Students use the I Think/We Think strategy to connect the U.S. Constitution to their own lives. This strategy also assists them in prioritizing what has the greatest impact.
Students show understanding of the U.S. Constitution and are able to evaluate its impact on their lives through a writing assessment.
Numbers for game (attached)
Handout 1 Activity Sheet for Students (attached)
Handout 1 Answer Sheet for Teachers (attached)
Handout 2 Outline of Constitution (attached)
Handout 3 I Think/We Think (attached)
Handout 4 Essay Prompt and Rubric (attached)
Introduce the essential question to students by placing it visually on a board or projector. Read the question out loud to the students: "Why is it important for citizens to have a written document like the Constitution?" Ask students to quickly share their thoughts on this question. After the essential question has been discussed, inform students that they will be taking a brief view of our U.S. Constitution. Encourage them to keep an eye out for things that already know or might impact them.
Have a bowl or box prepared with the following numbers inside it: 4,12, 35, 2, 435, 7, 14, 27, 6, 13, 3, 20, 538, 25, 8, 1, 100, 19. The first page of the attachment "Numbers for Numbers Game" can be printed out and cut apart for this purpose. Each one of these numbers represents facts and data found in the U.S. Constitution.
Inform the students that they are going to play a numbers game. First, give them "Handout 1- Student Activity Sheet for Numbers Game." Let them know that this is their guide to the numbers pulled from the bowl.
Ask one student at a time to come up to the bowl and pull out a number. After a student pulls out a number, give the class a minute or two to discuss that number. Ask the class to quickly share which component of our Constitution might match that number and have them guess which statement to assign it to on Handout 1 Activity Sheet. They can fill in the "Inference" column on their handout with these answers at this time. After all the numbers have been pulled from the bowl, display the numbers in a place where all students can continue to view them.
Distribute Handout 2 Outline of the Constitution to students. Let them know they will be using this outline to help guide their exploration of the Constitution.
Use a copy of the U.S. Constitution from your textbook or give students a copy of the Constitution.
Inform students they will use the outline and the Constitution to finishing filling out the "Inference" column on Handout 1. If class dynamics allow, ask students to work in small groups of three. In their small groups, they should explore the outline in Handout 1 and use the U.S. Constitution to complete the first column on Handout 1.
Have students come back together as a whole class. In the front of the room, have envelopes labeled with the same numbers that were in the bowl. This will be the big reveal for the correct answers of the numbers. Encourage students to record the correct answer in the second column of Handout 1. Inform them that these answers will be used throughout the lesson and will be helpful in their final assessments. Open each envelope and reveal the constitutional component that connects to that number. For example: Open envelope 19, and inside should be the slip of paper that reads "This is the Amendment that gave women the right to vote."
Now that students have filled in all the correct answers for the numbers game, they will reflect on which of these constitutional components effect their personal lives most. Give students Handout 3 I Think We Think. Inform them that they will only focus on the "I Think" column of the page first. Give students about 5 minutes to quietly reflect on the constitutional components. Ask them to list three statements about the Constitution that impact them the most in the "I Think" column.
After students have individually completed the "I Think" column of Handout 3, allow them to get into new groups of four. Within their groups, students should share their "I Think" column with group members and give a brief explanation as to why that component is on their list. After all individuals have shared, inform the groups to choose at least three elements of the Constitution that they believe to have the most impact on their lives and that they can agree upon.
If time allows, make a whole class "We Think" list. Look for common connections. Ask the class to prioritize the list based upon what has the most impact in their lives and discuss why this might be true.
To check for individual understanding, assign this short writing assessment. This writing assessment can be given as an in-class essay using their documents, or it can be assigned as a take-home essay. Give students Handout 4 Essay Prompt and Rubric. The prompt for the essay is meant to check for their understanding of the U.S. Constitution but also to encourage them to apply it to their own lives. The essay prompt is as follows: How does the U.S. Constitution affect my life? Cite at least three specific examples of how the U.S. Constitution directly affects or impacts your daily life. If you do not feel that it impacts your life at this moment, how will it impact your life in the near future?
K20 Center. (2014). I Think/We Think. Strategies. https://learn.k20center.ou.edu/strategy/d9908066f654727934df7bf4f5065bfd
U.S. Constitution. Retrieved from http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html
IIP Digital. (2007, July 4).Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, annotated. Retrieved from http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/publication/2008/04/20080416204259eaifas0.7985803.html#ixzz46NhGguMG