Constitution Today is a six-week instructional unit introducing seventh grade students to civic responsibility through an exploration of the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the role of democracy in the United States, and issues of importance to New Yorkers and the rest of the nation.
The unit's guides are the animated Statue of Liberty and the two stone lions guarding the New York Public Library- Patience and Fortitude. The guides talk about the Bill of Rights and its impact on students, their families, their friends, and the city.
Students research, write, discuss, and present their views on six issues facing Americans today. Students will showcase their knowledge and skills by presenting their arguments and backing up their perspectives on a particular issue with facts, statistics, and sources.
Constitution Today unit meets the Common Core head-on. With its strong focus on research using multiple texts and primary sources, and its frequent opportunities for students to communicate through writing and speaking, the unit addresses standards in Literacy in History/Social Studies, Reading Informational Texts, Writing and Speaking and Listening. Constitution Today gives particular emphasis to the Reading Informational Texts Standard 1, Writing Standard 1, and Speaking/ Listening Standard 1 which are part of the New York City DOE Instructional Expectations for the 2012-2013 school year. Click for a full list of the Grade 7 CCSS standards addressed in this unit.
At the end of the unit, students independently complete rigorous performance tasks that measure how well the students have met the requirements of the the Common Core. These tasks immerse students in authentic situations and allow them to apply the skills they have learned in real-world contexts. Students thus demonstrate that they have not only learned the content of the unit, but are also more prepared to take their place as informed and active citizens of their democracy.