Today is Constitution Day! (Or more officially, Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, as enacted by Congress in 2004.) On this day in 1787, the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia approved the U.S. Constitution and sent it to the states for ratification.
The original document that was signed on that day resides now in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. There are some wonderful Constitution Day teaching materials available from the Archives — why not spend a few homeschool minutes with them this week:
Here’s the document itself, with detailed images and extensive interpretive materials:
And here’s one of a number of introductory videos showing some of the related documents that were important in the Constitution’s development, all safely stored in the National Archives vault:
You can visit the National Archives yourself and see the Constitution (and the Declaration of Independence) on display in the rotunda. Perhaps that will be a homeschool field trip for your family someday. (I visited several times, quite a few years ago, when I worked across the street at the Smithsonian Institution.)
You can find the full text of the Constitution in your River Houses almanac (riverhouses.org/books) on page 474 — why not have your students read the Preamble aloud this week, or if you have more advanced students, pick one of the Articles and discuss what it means and why it was written the way it was. At the very end of the Constitution’s text you can see why today is the anniversary day:
Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth.
What holidays or anniversaries are you marking in your homeschool this week? 😊
Update: The Library of Congress also has a great teacher’s guide to the Constitution.