Preamble to the Constitution  

This resource breaks down the Preamble in simple ways, making it both memorable and appropriate for a primary school audience at the t
hird, fourth and fifth grade levels.  The lesson plans helps students explore ideas in the Preamble, teaching them that the power to govern belongs to the people who have created the government. 

This lesson plan is both informative and interactive, first delivering information then setting-up activities for the audience to do.  The problem-solving section is a strength of the presentation because if students do not grasp the idea of the entire lesson, they will at least walk away with details concerning some of the preamble.


How do you use it?

The lesson booklet is geared to teachers, but could be adapted for judges or other presenters.  It provides detailed information and instructions that a teacher can give to students without additional preparation. 

Presenters of the material can divide a large audience into groups and help facilitate the groups as they analyze a section of the Preamble.  

The challenge in these Center for Civic Education sources is presenting the background/information provided without overwhelming young learners. The lesson plans provide what could be a post-presentation activity, such as a follow-up assignment on the men who attended the convention.

Who is the audience?

This resource is informative and educational, and tailored toward the strengths of children at a middle primary level.  The informational "lectures,” discussions, and picture-drawing make for an enjoyable range of activities. The supplemental graphics are a good way to keep this age group interested without underplaying the important information.  Allowing the group to use pictures or skits is a great way to give children this age something tangible to ground their learning of difficult concepts.

Some of the words/concepts in this lesson booklet — such as “domestic tranquility" — may be challenging for primary students. 

What other resources will complement this?

  1. Amazing Amendments  Document from (P, M) 
  2. Argument Wars  Game from iCivics (H)
  3. Constitution Day Rap  Lesson Plan from the Center for Civic Education (P) 
  4. Courts in the Classroom  Videos from the Judicial Council of California and the Administrative Office (P, M, H)
  5. Matching Game with the Constitution  Lesson Plan from the Center for Civic Education (P)
  6. The Constitution: The Country's Rules  Lesson Plan from the Center for Civic Education (P)
  7. U.S. Constitution Fact Sheet  Document from (M)  

Additional Recommended Resources | Off-Site Links
  1. A Constitutional Timeline
    • Multi-aged audience timeline that highlights key dates in history of Constitution, with links to text, audio and video clips. From National Constitution Center's Constitution Day site. 
  2. Interactive Constitution
    • Multi-aged audience site that enables users to search Constitution by keyword or topic, with access to explanatory materials throughout. From National Constitution Center.   
  3. The Annenberg Guide to the United States Constitution
    • Multi-aged audience site that lists the text of each section of every article in the Constitution, and provides explanation of what the text means in plain language.  From the Leonore Annenberg Institute of Civics. 
  4. Understanding the Federal Courts
    • Multi-aged online textbook-type document that includes sections on Article III, the Federal Court system and the geographical boundaries of the Courts of Appeal and the District Courts, the code of conduct for judges, juror qualifications, exemptions and terms of service, as well as categories of bankruptcy cases.  From the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts.