Public school students throughout Maryland will be spending classroom time in the coming days to learn about the U.S. Constitution.
Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) is federal holiday that recognizes the ratification of the United States Constitution, and also recognizes all who have becomes citizens due to either coming of age or naturalization. It is observed on September 17, the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787.
The law establishing the holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by the late Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill. Before the law was enacted, the holiday was known as "Citizenship Day." In addition to renaming the holiday “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day,” the act -- known as Public Law 108-477 -- requires all schools that receive federal funds of any kind hold educational programming on the history of the American Constitution for their students on September 17 of every year. In May 2005, the United States Department of Education announced the enactment of this law.
"The U.S. Constitution provides the foundation for the United States of America and it highlights the many liberties that we enjoy each and every day," said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery. "Constitution Day gives the opportunity for all students to put a spotlight on the Constitution, and gain a better understanding about how it enriches all of our lives."
Maryland's State Curriculum provides opportunities to include political science concepts and skills related to the Constitution as early as prekindergarten. More meaningful study of the Constitution begins in the fourth grade and continues throughout high school.
For additional information, please contact Dr. Marcie Taylor-Thoma, Social Studies Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 410.767.0519.
Teachers may refer to the following websites for additional resources:
From the National Constitution Center:
Abraham Lincoln Game
Other resources :
Teachers’ Web site sponsored by the Youth Leadership Initiative at the University of Virginia. This site features extensive resources for teaching civic engagement.
5 Constitution Day lesson plans, from Junior Achievement. Site features elementary, middle grades, and high school lesson plans.
US Department of Education
Center for Civic Education