This website is a resource of the SBM Law Related Education & Public Outreach Committee.
Constitution Day is a celebration of our American democracy! On or around September 17 of each year, schools across the country place special teaching emphasis on the Constitution in honor of the signing of the Constitution 1787. In 2012, more than 50 lawyers engaged students in Constitution Day lessons in over 112 classrooms. The State Bar of Michigan has designed this page to help bar associations, individual lawyers, and teachers lead exciting and educational classroom activities on Constitution Day.
Please make sure to look at the Practical Guide to Planning Constitution Day below. It gives you a few easy steps on how to get involved and lead a Constitution Day activity in your local school classroom. The most important thing is to start early—in April or May—so your activity can be presented when school starts in September.
Constitution Day 2013
Lawyers and law students around the state of Michigan continue to dramatically increase participation in the annual Constitution Day program. We encourage you to get involved in this enriching program and help make Constitution Day 2013 the best yet!
Constitution Day Websites and Descriptions
National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center has great resources for lawyers, educators, and students. They currently are promoting a First Amendment lesson plan relating to Bruce Springsteen's music.
American Bar Association, Division for Public Education, “Conversations on the Constitution”
This site encourages classroom discussions and debate about the meaning of some of the Constitution's concepts and clauses, using a conversation starter, resources, and closing the conversation format. Topics include separation of powers, advice and consent of the Senate, establishment of religion, and unreasonable search and seizure. They also have election-related lesson plans.
Bill of Rights Institute
The Bill of Rights Institute is a non-profit organization that develops programs and curriculums designed to teach students about how our nation was founded and what it means to be an American citizen. This website contains various educational materials for educators to use when teaching constitutional principles that define our nation.
Center for Civic Education
The Center for Civic Education, in collaboration with the American Association of School Administrators, has prepared lessons for kindergarten through twelfth grade. Elementary lesson topics include authority, limited government, and the ideas in the Preamble. Secondary lessons include federalism, establishment of the executive and judicial branches, and the drafting of the Bill of Rights. The Center for Civic Education is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational corporation dedicated to fostering the development of informed, responsible participation in civic life by citizens committed to the values and principles fundamental to American constitutional democracy.
Constitutional Rights Foundation
This site provides free online lessons suitable for kindergarten, grades 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12, and links to help educators design their own Constitution Day program. Sites include a link to download a Constitution Day Implementation Guide. The Constitutional Rights Foundation seeks to instill in our nation's youth a deeper understanding of citizenship through values expressed in our Constitution and its Bill of Rights and to educate young people to become active and responsible.
Michigan Specific Resources
Grand Rapids Bar Ass'n Constitution Day Presentation
Korematsu v. U.S. Government—Defining Moments from the Past with Lessons for a Post 9/11 World
Available through Michigan Government Television, this package presents curriculum materials dealing with the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, with the U. S. Supreme Court case of Korematsu v U. S. Government, and with the dissenting opinion in that case of Michigan's Frank Murphy, a U. S. Supreme Court justice, former Detroit mayor, and Michigan governor. The materials target standards and benchmarks in the Michigan Curriculum Framework in government, history, and technology.
Written in conjunction with a State Bar of Michigan Legal Milestone presentation, and with funding from the Michigan State Bar Foundation, the materials include a video, script, case, and student and teacher materials. The Lesson Plan Extension offers a perspective through the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and the due process clauses of the 5th.
Genesee Intermediate School District
This page on the Genesee Intermediate School District website was compiled as the result of an exhaustive search for resources to help teachers. Links connect to a variety of sites and resources, including: National Archives Teaching with Documents: Observing Constitution Day, the Bill of Rights Institute Constitution Day Page, U.S. Courts Constitution Day Resources, Federal Department of Education Constitution Day Resources, to name a few.
Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center
This site includes Education Resources and Programs from the Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center.
Educating for Everyday Democracy: The Jury Process PDF
This new curriculum is designed to educate high school students about the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the critical importance of the jury process in our system of justice. The curriculum is a suitable classroom activity any time during the school year, but is particularly appropriate for Constitution Day observances. Developed by the Michigan Center for Civic Education, award winning educator Wayne Bentley, and the State Bar of Michigan, the curriculum explains how jury service and diverse jury pools help guarantee due process, equal protection of the laws, individual rights, and justice in a democracy. The curriculum can be adapted for a variety of situations—a 90- minute classroom lesson, an assembly program, or an in-depth, day-long presentation. An appendix contains various other lessons that can be used in conjunction with this program. View the Jury Process brochure PDF