Digging in to the Constitution

Who better than the Bill of Rights Institute to design an interactive activity focusing on the creation of the Constitution and the Constitutional Convention?! “Madison’s Notes are Missing” is a great interactive activity where you “interview” the Founders and hear their contributions and ideas from the Constitutional Convention. There is also an online crossword puzzle , a quotations activity connecting Founders to their statements, biographies and primary source documents on many Founders, and a 7 minute video on the Founders and the Constitution.

Editorial Cartoons and More

Today’s “Friday Five” explores five resources from the Dirksen Congressional Center, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization focused on improving civic engagement and understanding of Congress. Educators of most age groups will find helpful material for teaching US Government and US History here. There is also a beautiful online book (#4 in the list) that would be great for art and architecture!  And now to the Friday Five:

One:  the “Congress for Kids” site is aimed more at that K-8 crowd. With colorful visuals and illustrations aimed at young students, Congress for Kids looks at the Constitution, each of the Branches of Government, Elections and Citizenship with a couple of quizzes too.

Two:  “Congress in the Classroom Online.” Congress in the Classroom Online utilizes a moodle aimed at helping instructors understand today’s Congress and strategies to teach about it. With more than a dozen individual units looking at things like the membership of Congress, lawmaking and more, this looks like a great resource and well worth the few minutes to set up a free account.

Three: the Dirksen’s Political Cartoon Collection has 80 or so political cartoons collected form the late 1950’s to the late 1960’s. Each cartoon has a lesson plan to support it. A great way to learn about presidential appointments, the law making process, party politics, and more.

Four: The Library of Congress: As An Embodiment of the American Identity. An 80-page e-book investigating the beautiful and historic art and architecture of the Library of Congress. An informative and beautiful resource.

Five: An interactive Civil Rights Timeline. Explore the years of 1963-1965 through a timeline that combines facts with primary source documents and additional links and biographical information.

The Dirksen Congressional Center has more resources than those listed above, but I hope these are a great springboard to new material and ideas.

Happy Friday!

The ReDistricting Game

ReDistrictingCreated through the USC Game Innovation Lab – part of the USC School of Cinematic Arts’, Interactive Media Division, the ReDistricting Game gives the player new insight into the apportionment and redistricting process. With five different missions, see the power of cartography and politics collide as you work to make state legislatures, the courts, and political parties happy.

Our senior US Government students love the game. It would be great for any 9-12 students studying government or civics, possibly for middle school too as each mission does have a basic and advanced level.

Good luck!

Budget Hero – Updated

Impressive. American Public Media has already updated their Budget Hero program to incorporate the bailout and stimulus package and their effects on the economy. If you haven’t played around with Budget Hero yet, it is well worth the time and students really enjoy it (I first learned about Budget Hero from one of my sophomores last semester, he had some down-time and found it on his own and was playing it).

Budget Hero would be a great addition to economics, current events, statistics, math, and government courses and results would provide for rich discussion of the challenges which currently face our nation.