Friday, June 12, 2015

The Constitution for the little guys!

Our Social Studies curriculum asks students to identify the Constitution, describe its purpose and relate the information in the Constitution to the functions of the American government. This is a lot for the little guys to grasp and shhhhhh.....{not so exciting to them!}

After searching Pinterest, blogs, and TPT, I came across the Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher's blog.  I used her idea and tweaked it a bit for the little guys.  (She teaches third grade.) Here is what I ended up doing to introduce The Constitution:

First I told the students we were going to play a new math game and I had them choose a partner. Next I gave them a brand new math game that they had never played before with NO DIRECTIONS.  When they had the paper with the game on it and a pair of dice, I sent them on their way!

I wish I had video of them. All of the groups tried so hard to figure out how to play the game! While a couple of the groups did come up with a way to play (not the correct way), most were not successful and got pretty frustrated. 

This is what I heard while walking around.
"This is so hard!" 
"I don't know what to do!" 
"Maybe we should just..."
"Lets do this. No that won't work!"
"Ms. Gilbert, PLEASE help us!"
"We could just try rolling the dice and then see what happens."

After about 4 minutes, I called them back to the carpet and gave them the rules and directions to the game. All groups were then able to go back and play the game successfully!

I let them play the game (the correct way) for about 10 minutes. I asked them which way was better and to describe the differences between the two ways. You can imagine the discussion! They all decided it was much easier and much more fun with the rules. I then explained that this was kind of how it was when America was just getting started. There were no rules or directions so there were problems. That is why they wrote the Constitution. 

My students really "got it" with this introduction! How do you teach the Constitution? 
Ms. Gilbert

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