To celebrate Constitution Day, September 17, Teaching with Historic Places offers this set of lesson plans related to the U.S. Constitution. These lessons, based on sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places, are free and ready for immediate classroom use by students in history and social studies classes.
• Brown v. Board: Five Communities That Changed America (121)
Explore the five Supreme Court cases over the Constitutionality of racial segregation that came together in the 1950s to be heard as Brown v. Board of Education and understand how they overturned the 58-year-old Plessy v. Ferguson ruling. (Monroe Elementary School [now Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site] is a unit of the National Park Service/Robert Russa Moton High School, Sumner and Monroe Elementary Schools, Howard High School, and John Philip Sousa Middle School are National Historic Landmarks.)
• First Lady of the World: Eleanor Roosevelt at Val-Kill (26)
Meet Eleanor Roosevelt at her private cottage, Val-Kill, in Hyde Park, NY; learn about her legacy of human rights; and explore the relationship between the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights and the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights. (National Park)
• Federal Courthouses and Post Offices: Symbols of Pride and Permanence in American Communities (136)
Examine three government buildings and the powers behind them in this lesson that brings together architecture and the U.S. judicial system.
• "The Great Chief Justice” at Home (49)
Meet Chief Justice John Marshall, who led the U.S. Supreme Court during its formative years in the early 19th century, and examine how his civic virtues and personal values influenced his public life. (National Historic Landmark)
• Lafayette Park: First Amendment Rights on the President's Doorstep (139)
Learn how a group of determined women selected Lafayette Park, across from the White House, to demonstrate for their right to vote, providing a First Amendment model for many others. (National Park/National Historic Landmark)
• Independence Hall: International Symbol of Freedom (132)
Visit Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA, where the Founding Fathers gathered to oversee the creation of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Discover why the Hall was recognized by the United Nations as a World Heritage Site in 1979 and explore the global significance of the two documents produced there. (National Park/UNESCO World Heritage Site)
• New Kent School and the George W. Watkins School: From Freedom of Choice to Integration (104)
Examine how the U.S. Supreme Court defined standards for judging whether Constitutional violations had been remedied in school desegregation cases and determine the importance of the 1968 Charles C. Green, et al., v. County School Board of New Kent County, Virginia, et al. decision in enforcing the Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling. (National Historic Landmark)
• The Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March: Shaking the Conscience of the Nation (133)
Trace the journey that Civil Rights activists made on their 1965 Voting Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, examine the strategies of local and national leaders for direct action, and explore the effect of their march on the nation. (Brown Chapel AME Church and the First Confederate Capitol are National Historic Landmarks)
To learn more about TwHP's other lessons, visit the Lesson Plan Descriptions page.