Grade: Elementary
Subject: Science

#3884. The Constitutional Convention

Social Studies, level: Elementary
Posted Sun Jan 28 17:17:17 PST 2007 by Mandy Clark (
Dacusville Elementary, Easley, US
Materials Required: Shh! We're Writing the Constitution by: Jean Fritz
Activity Time: 1 period
Concepts Taught: Understanding Constitutional Convention

Standard: 4-4 The student will demonstrate an understanding of
the beginnings of America as a nation and the establishment of the new government.
Indicator: 4-4.4 Compare the roles and accomplishments of early leaders in the
development of the new nation, including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Marshall, and James Madison.
Objective: The student will compare the roles and accomplishments of early
leaders in the development of the new nation, including George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. .

Materials: Shh! We're Writing the Constitution by: Jean Fritz
12 paper clips
rhyme sheet


1. TTW arrange the students into groups of three or four. An already prepared envelope will be passed out to each group. The envelope contains 1 die, 12 paper clips, and the rhymed instructions.
The rhymed instructions are:
It's time to play a little game,
No two groups will play to same.
What and how is up to you.
The group must choose what it will do.
Use the things that you find here.
It won't take long; you need not fear.
In six short minutes you'll share your fame
By telling how you played your game.
2. Instruct students to follow the instructions contained in the envelop. Caution them to remember how they feel as they follow the instructions. Give the students specific instructions on how to behave during group work time.
3. Circulate around the room and remind students to remember how they are feeling while playing the game.
4. After six minutes, instruct students to stop the game. Ask a spokesperson from each group to describe the game they devised, and how they felt as they played.
5. The teacher will list some of the students' feelings on the board. Ex. Confused, overwhelmed, arguments, out of control, unclear, strong opinion for your idea, ect. . .
6. After discussing the remarks the class will participate in a guided imagery exercise.
Sit comfortably and relax. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Allow yourself to travel back in time to Philadelphia in 1787

See yourself as one of the 55 delegates who have just arrived at Independence Hall. Your task over the next few months is to improve the Articles of Confederation and try to create more unity and cooperation among the states by developing and adopting a new plan of government for the United States of America.

As you enter the stately chamber, hear the wooden floors creak with each step that you take. Notice the tall ceilings and the high windows on either side of the room. Smell the musty odor caused by the hot, humid weather

As you take your place at one of the round tables covered with a rich green cloth, observe the glass ink well with the quill pen sitting on the table. See the candles in the brass holders on the wall. Look around at the other delegates dressed in knee britches with silver buckles, silk stockings, and long waistcoats. Notice that several are wearing carefully powdered wigs.

Feel the excitement in the air as the chairman of the convention, General George Washington, calls for order. What a great leader! Everyone respects him so.

In the weeks and months that follow, you and your colleagues set about the business of writing a new constitution. What an awesome task you face.

Listen to the other delegates argue and shout and defend their positions. Everyone feels so strongly about their beliefs.

See yourself standing up and speaking for the people of your state. You owe it to them to represent them well. Hear the applause form the other delegates as you make some favorable suggestions. They like your ideas, and you feel proud.

7. Ok, open your eyes. Compare the experience you had making and playing the game with the one I just read to you.
8. Today, you used 12 paper clips. They represent the patriots who came from the 12 states. The die represents luck and each day that rolled around from May 25 to September 17. You figured out how to play the game. They figured out how to write our Constitution. And while they went about the great task of writing the United States Constitution, they probably felt much the same as you did today.
9. The teacher will read the first half of the book Shh! We're Writing the Constitution to the students, stopping to point out important names. George Washington, Alexander Hamilton & James Madison,
10. The students will write the three important names in their response journal and the major contribution that each of them made towards the development of the new government. The students will also write what they would have done differently if they would have been in charge of the convention.

Closure: Students will turn to a partner and tell the accomplishments of each person. They will then tell their partner why the convention was so important.
Accommodations: Resource students will be able to receive help from their group and also from a partner during the closure. Gifted students will be able to be leaders in their groups.

Questioning: 1. What was the Constitutional Convention? (Knowledge)
2. Why did the delegates choose George Washington to lead the
Constitutional Convention? (Comprehension)
3. Do you think that it was a hard task to write a new government? How
did the delegates feel at the convention? (Analysis)
4. James Madison said he was afraid that Congress under the Articles of Confederation had become a "rope of sand." Such leaders as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams agreed with Madison. What did James Madison mean by this statement? (Analysis)
5. Describe what you would have done if you were in charge of the
convention? (Evaluation)

Assessment: The students' response journals listing the three important figures that were discussed, their major accomplishments in developing the new government, and what they would have done differently if they would have been in charge of the convention.