LEARNING OBJECTIVE

Students will be able to understand important background about our Constitution and the separation of powers it created.

KEY STANDARDS

RH.6-8-1, RH.6-8-2, RH.6-8-3, RI.6-8-7, SL.6-8.1, WHST.6-8.2

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS

• Use this article as part of a lesson on the United States Constitution.

• Incorporate this article in a discussion of the three branches of the U.S. government.

Before Reading

STUDENT ENGAGEMENT
(5 MINUTES)

Ask students: What do you know about the U.S. Constitution? When and where was it written? What are its main parts? What are the three branches of government it created?

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Read & Analyze

INDEPENDENT READING
(10 MINUTES)

Have students read the article on their own, writing down any comments or questions.

CLOSE-READING QUESTIONS
(15 MINUTES)

Have students write their answers to each question, or use these prompts to guide a discussion.

• SUMMARIZING: What are the three branches of government established by the Constitution? What “checks and balances” does each have on the others?
(The legislative branch—Congress—confirms the president’s nominees for federal court and Cabinet positions. The president—as head of the executive branch—can veto laws created by Congress and appoints federal judges. The judicial branch—headed by the Supreme Court—can overturn laws of Congress and executive orders of the president that it finds unconstitutional.)

• EXPLICIT INFORMATION: Who is considered the Father of the Constitution and why?
(James Madison is called the Father of the Constitution because he played a key role at the Constitutional Convention.)

• ANALYZING DETAILS: Why did U.S. leaders call for the convention that met in May 1787? What was the result?
(The federal government established by the 13 original states had limited power. The leaders who called for the convention believed that the government needed a stronger government. That process resulted in the writing of the Constitution.)

Extend & Assess

READING A DIAGRAM
Reinforce students’ knowledge about the division of power under the Constitution by assigning the skills sheet Checks and Balances.

CONDUCT RESEARCH
Have students research one of the 27 amendments to the Constitution. When was the amendment created and what does it say? Why did officials feel the need for it at the time? What did it change in the Constitution, or all to it?

DIFFERENTIATING

Lower Level Have students read just one section of the article and discuss with a partner.

Higher Level Have students research the Articles of the Confederation, the document that preceded the Constitution, and write up a brief report. Ask: When was it written? Why did Founders like James Madison consider it too weak?

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PHOTO CREDITS TK