Roles, Rules, and the Constitution of the U.S.
Students learn how the Constitution relates to rules and community roles. This lesson is designed for Citizenship/Constitution Day (September 17) and connects students to improving their community for the good of all.
The learner will
- identify rules and roles young people and authority figures play to ensure society runs smoothly.
- identify the Preamble, articles, and Bill of Rights in the Constitution.
- state things citizens can do to make the community better.
- copy of the PowerPoint below to project and guide discussion
- student copies of the handouts
- optional read-aloud copy of We the Kids by David Catrow
- optional reproduction copy of the Constitution for students to handle and view
- Constitution of the United States
What can you do to make the world a better place, with the words of the Constitution in mind?
Discuss the following questions with the class. Ask them to give examples of each. Why do we have rules? What does it mean to have a role?
Project the PowerPoint presentation in the handouts below. Show the pictures of various authority figures and talk about who they are and what they do.
Emphasize that being either a parent, teacher, or police office is a role. Everyone has roles, or parts they play, that together keep society running smoothly. The role of a doctor, for example, is to help people stay healthy. Then ask them the supporting questions:
- Describe the role of a police officer.
- Describe the role of a teacher.
- Describe the role of a parent.
- Why do parents, teachers and police officers have rules they follow?
- Why do they have rules they ask you to follow?
Show the image of the Constitution. Tell students that this document was made by the Founding Fathers to set up rules for this country. It describes the roles of the president, courts, and rule makers. This document is important to the United States, and when we all follow its plan, we work together to make a safe, healthy, and happy place to live.
Optional: Read aloud the book, We the Kids by David Catrow. Talk about this as the Preamble to the Constitution in kids' terms. The Preamble tells the purpose of the Constitution.
Ask the students whether they have roles at home that are different from roles at school. This may be seen as a part we play that fits with the parts others play. For example, at school my role is as a student is to act in a way that helps me and others learn and do well together.
Give each student a copy of the handout, My Roles, to complete using illustrations and words.
For the last part of the handout, encourage students to think of one specific thing they can do, in their role as a member of a classroom or community, that makes the world (or their classroom) a better place.
After the students hand in their papers, read some of their ideas without using names. Discuss how these actions will help everyone, including the person who does the helpful action.
Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
Benchmark E.5 Give examples of actions students can take to improve the common good and list or describe responsibilities that go with those actions.