Skip to Main Content
undefined

State Constitution Comparison

70 min
  • Students will explain how state constitutions addressed the rights and responsibilities of citizens, and how they exhibited constitutional principles.
  • Students will compare and contrast important elements of the new state constitutions written in the former colonies during the period from 1776 to 1780.

Provide markers and chart paper for the conclusion/assessment activity, or, alternatively, computer access so that students may develop a slideshow to visually represent a comparison of the three state constitutions.

After the Warm-Up Activity, you will divide your class into three groups and assign each of them to read one of the three state constitution excerpts. You might choose to have your students read their assigned excerpt as homework to allow more time for comparison and discussion time during class.

Working either independently, in small groups, or through whole-class instruction, students read the background essay, Handout A: New State Constitutions, and answer the Review Questions.

After groups have completed the Review Activities, use a jigsaw (or similar) strategy to rearrange the groups. Each new group should include at least one student who worked with each of the three state constitutions. Students will share their information and fill in Handout E: State Constitution Comparison within their Application small groups. Take care that students are actually discussing how each constitution demonstrates each of the principles as they complete the graphic organizer. Have them conclude the Application activity by listing at least three similarities and three differences among the three state constitutions, as directed at the end of Handout E.

Students, working in their Application groups, will use the markers and chart paper to illustrate their comparisons through a visual representation. Alternatively, they could develop a slideshow using computers. The visual representation could be in the form of cartoons, stick figures, or other images. The visual representation must contain the following elements for each constitution:

  1. Name of state, date of constitution
  2. Purpose of government
  3. Rights guaranteed
  4. Legislative branch
  5. Executive branch
  6. Judicial branch
  7. Constitutional principles demonstrated

Students, working in their Application groups, will use the markers and chart paper to illustrate their comparisons through a visual representation. Alternatively, they could develop a slideshow using computers. The visual representation could be in the form of cartoons, stick figures, or other images. The visual representation must contain the following elements for each constitution:

  1. Name of state, date of constitution
  2. Purpose of government
  3. Rights guaranteed
  4. Legislative branch
  5. Executive branch
  6. Judicial branch
  7. Constitutional principles demonstrated

Have students display their posters or slideshows for a gallery walk in the classroom or adjacent hallway.