Lesson: Preamble of the U.S. Constitution

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Lesson Objective

By the end of the lesson, SWBAT describe and state why the Framer’s outlined what they outlined in the Preamble. By the end of the lesson, SWBAT describe why the Framers created the Constitution.

Lesson Plan

Key Word:

·       The Constitution was created because the U.S. was so big while Federal government was so weak with hardly any power to protect the entire country.

·       The Preamble laid out the basic principles of that U.S. wanted to live by as a country and government. 

·       “E pluribus…” recognizes that the U.S. is diverse but has the same core values and is unified like a family.

Essential Question: Why do you think the Framer’s of the Constitution chose the phrase E Pluribus Unum as the U.S.’s national motto (phrase)?

Vocabulary: E Pluribus Unum, Preamble, Constitution, Framers, Rights, Responsibilities

Assessment: During the independent practice, students will work in groups to complete a Preamble Quilt. The quilt will consist of the different lines of the Preamble with illustrations and graphics. In addition, as an exit ticket, the students will complete a brief formative assessment which will ask the following questions: “Why did the U.S. decide to create a Constitution?” “What does “E Pluribus…. Mean?” “What was the purpose of the Preamble?”

Opening (10 minutes):


·       Teacher will put the following starter on the board: “Write: What values or manners are the most important to you?”

·       Teacher will ask the students from various groups to relay their answers to the class.

·       The teacher will explain the objectives and purpose of the day’s lesson: “SWBAT to describe the purpose of the Preamble of the Constitution, SWBAT to describe the purpose of the Constitution.”


·       Students will sit down at their appropriate seats

·       Students will work through the starter

·       Students will share their responses with the class – if they want.

Introduction of New Material (30 minutes):


·       The teacher will refresh the memories of the students by mentioning that we live in the United States.

·       T will ask, “How many states are in the United States?”

·       T will ask the students, “Where is the capitol of the United States”

·       T will explain that even though there are 50 states, the Federal laws that apply in one state, apply in another state as well.

·       T will explain that this has not always been the way.

·       T will explain that states all used to have their own laws and the Federal government’s laws were not strong at all.

·       T will give examples of ridiculous state laws – Rhode Island would print their own money – Delaware would have huge import duties, Virginia had their own army – this stopped them from sending troops to the national government when they needed them.

·       T will ask the students what the class would be like if each cluster of desks in class had their own rules, policies, homework policies etc?

·       T will explain that because of these problems and the weak Federal gov’t – many people started to think that the U.S. needed a new way to give more power to the Federal government in Washington, D.C.

·       T will explain that people got together and started creating the Constitution with the Preamble.

·       The Preamble states the purpose of the Constitution – explains why the Constitution was created.

·       T will go line by line of the Preamble explaining what each line means.

·       T will also explain that on the money the U.S. started printing money with the label: “E Pluribus….”

·       T will explain that this was put on there to remind people that the U.S. is made of many different people, and backgrounds, but we are all one nation.

·       T will have the Ss copy down notes on their graphic organizers.


·       Students will take notes on a graphic organizer.

·        Students will ask questions and answer questions when needed.

Guided Practice (10 minutes):


·       T will tell the Students that they are going to create a quilt based on the words of the Preamble.

·       T will explain that each group will have a section of the Preamble

·       T will explain that it is the job of the group to come up with a creative way to present that section of the Preamble.

·       T will model this exercise by creating a quilt patch for the first line of the Preamble.

·       T will start with a couple of images and ask the students what I could add to that part of the quilt.

·       T will tell the students that after the group completed their section of the quilt, the T will attach all of the patches and create a Preamble quilt.

·       T will give each group a line of the Preamble

·       T will ask the Ss to work together, and create a creative depiction of that line.

·       T will tell the Ss to look in the dictionary for reference with hard words.


·       Students will help the teacher create a quilt on the first line of the Preamble.

·       Students will asks questions if any on the project.

·       Students will model respectful behavior – the type that is needed in group projects.

Independent Practice (35 minutes):


·       T will monitor the Ss as they complete the Preamble quilt

·       T will assist the Ss when needed – if there are problems, creative slumps, etc.

·       T will ensure that all Ss are contributing to the group

·       During this section of the lesson, T will take a group of students that are showing confusion to meet with he/she to go over the lesson and graphic organizer again.

·       Early finishers will write an essay on why it would be a problem if each state completely had their own laws.


·       Ss will do their group quilt project respectfully, quietly, and diligently

Closing (15 minutes):


·       T will then have the Ss share out their quilt patches to the class.

·       As a closing, T will give out a brief exit ticket with the following questions: “Why did the U.S. decide to create a Constitution?” “What does “E Pluribus…. Mean?” “What was the purpose of the Preamble?”

·       T will monitor the Ss as they finish their exit tickets.

·       T will close out the lesson by reviewing the objectives and leading the Ss to think about the next lesson in which will talk about the Bill of Rights that are found in the Constitution. 


·       Students will complete the exit ticket independently.

·       Students will listen to the closure and ask final questions about next lesson.

Materials: LCD, Exit Ticket, Quilt Template, Markers, Graphic Organizer

Teacher’s Reflection:

This lesson set the groundwork for the remaining lessons in this short but very important unit. I found that my students didn’t know why the U.S. had a Constitution. This lesson allowed the students to see where the Framers were coming from when they designed the document. As the lesson progressed, I found that the students did a great job following a long, but they did need some guidance on what they could illustrate or write on their portion of the quilt. In addition, having the dictionaries at their disposal made it easier for them to understand some of the more challenging words found in the Preamble. When the students are done with the quilt, I found it beneficial to have it displayed in the room throughout the year. It was constantly used as a point of reference for many lessons.

Lesson Resources

American Civics Unit - Lesson 1 - Preamble - Graphic Organizer   Notes
American Civics - Lesson 1 - Preamble - Quilt Activity (Mac)   Activity
American Civics - Lesson 1 - Preamble - Quilt Activity   Activity
American Civics Unit - Lesson 1 - Preamble - PowerPoint   Smart Board
American Civics Unit - Lesson 1 - Preamble - Keynote (Mac)   Smart Board
American Civics Unit - Lesson 1 - Preamble - Lesson Plan   Lesson Plan
American Civics Unit - Lesson 1 - Preamble - Exit Ticket   Assessment


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