Thanks to an amendment advanced by Senator Byrd in 2004 to an omnibus spending bill, all schools that receive federal funding must “hold an educational program pertaining to the United States Constitution” on September 17. (Read the pertinent ED regulations.) This year, the 17th falls on Saturday so the requirement moves to September 16.
Of course, back in the day when civics was a standard part of the curriculum, the Constitution Day requirement wouldn’t be such a big deal. Nowadays, with fewer and fewer teachers equipped to teach about the Constitution, there’s growing demand for easy-to-use resources that anyone can teach and meet the Constitution Day teaching requirement.
iCivics is doing its part by offering free resources and free lesson plans for Constitution Day. Here are two choices for busy teachers:
1. Play a game. In Do I Have a Right?, students run their own law firm and help clients resolve funny yet thought-provoking issues. They’ll learn about the Bill of Rights and other amendments to the Constitution. This Game Guide for Teachers explains how to use this game in a classroom setting.
2. Teach a Constitution Day lesson plan. iCivics’ free Constitution Day lesson plan provides a great overview of the Constitution and how Articles I-III describe the structure, function and powers of our three branches of government.
Of course, there are plenty of other resources available for teachers, too: