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US Constitution


Room 29: October 24 to November 10, 2016 (xSF days)
Room 26: November 28 to December 16, 2016


Founding Fathers
Episode 4 (second episode on disc 2):  A Strong Constitution
-starts at the end of the War for Independence
-introduces James Madison as the Father of the Constitution
-relationship with Thomas Jefferson

Constitution USA
PBS Video, 4 episodes:

The National Constitution Center has developed educational materials for each episode of CONSTITUTION USA which addresses a theme related to the Constitution.

Episode I: A More Perfect Union (Federalism) : Federalism has led to tensions throughout American history and still sparks controversy today.

Episode II: It's a Free Country (Rights) : See how freedom is defined for “We the People” as well as you the citizen.

Episode III: Created Equal (Equality) : See how equality is defined in this episode based on the 14th Amendment.

Episode IV: Built to Last? (We the People) : Does our Constitution stand up to the 21st Century? This question is explored in episode four.


Preamble of the Constitution


 Jan-Feb 2018 Legislative
1. Anthony
2. Polina
3. Kaili
4. Mateo-Ryan
5. Nour
6. Noah
7. Ashika
8. Samantha
1. Sobhan
2. Audrey
3. Kokoro
4. Gabe
5. Enzo
7. Deepika
8. Bella
1. Loic
2. Alexandra
3. Amelia
4. Leo
5. Tabark
6. Manogya
7. Logan
8 Roslyn

Oct-Nov 2017
1. Guy
4. Mika
 February 20171 Karina,
2 Taika,
3 Aidan,
4 Jacob,
5 Parth,
6 MichaelM,
7 Caedon,
8 Nicole/Lena
9 MicHael 

1 Rhema,
2 Neha,
3. Gwen,
4 Jason,
5 Aidan,
6 Amiri,
7 Thomas,
8 Nicole/Lena,
9 Ken
1 Maya,
2 CanChi,
3 Gwen2,
4 Max,
5 Will,
6 Andre,
7 Taran,
8 Nicole/Lena 
9 Rianna
 December, 2016 Lucia, Nazli, Skylar, Aneil, Justin, Andy, Krisahn notes
 Nikta, Sonal, Casey, Kyante, Spencer, Cole, Saam Ethan, Gayatri, Kiki, Elijah, Jasper, Eddie, Nathan

Branches of Government
-what each one is and does (balance) and how they influence each other (checks)
-about the two parts
-how a bill is formed
-"people's branch"
-pres, vp, cabinet
-role in lawmaking
-international relation
-Commander in Chief
-Supreme Court
-lower courts
-landmark cases

 March  2017The Legislative Branch is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The branch has the power to enact legislation and declare war.

-senators must be 30 years old, and have been a U.S. citizen for at least 9 years
-2 senators per state
-a senator's term lasts 6 years
-elections are staggered, one elected every couple years
-senators are considered older and wiser
-have unlimited debate time which allows filibusters
-filibusters delay the voting of the bill

House of Representatives
-reps must be 25 years old and have been a US citizen for 7 years
-number of reps per state corresponds with the state's population
-a rep's terms lasts 2 years
-their term is short so that they truly represent their state
-it is their responsibility to listen to their states' citizens
-when debating a bill, they have a 5 minute time limit
-no more than 435 voting reps
-the Speaker of the House is the "leader" of the house, elected by other reps.  Current leader is Paul Ryan (R)
-the next in line after the VP is the Speaker of the House 

-chief executive (head of branch)
-chief diplomat (w/ other countries)
-commander in chief (military head)
-chief of state
-legislative leader
able to veto laws
-carries out laws

-provides pres with info & advice
-there are about 15 of them
-State, Treasury, Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health, Housing, Energy, Transportation, Education

Vice President
-takes over if president dies, resigns, etc.
-sits next to the president
-presides over the senate
-can vote if the senate is tied
14 vice presidents have become presidents
 Supreme Court
-The judicial branch is in charge of deciding the meaning of laws, how to apply them to real situations, and whether or not a law breaks the rules of the constitution
-The constitution is the highest law of the nation
-interprets the constitution
-highest court in federal system
-has chief justice and 8 associate justices (minimum of 6 needed)
-most cases come from appeals of lower court decisions as well as cases involving ambassadors
-choose to hear only 150 out of 8,000 proposed cases a year
-decides whether laws are constitutional
sometimes overturns decisions
-congress can't appeal only modify the law
-role has grown as constitution has been interpreted
-justices are nominated by president and approved by senate
-started in Article in the constitution, giving basic framework of this branch

Appellate Courts
- instituted by congress
-12 throughout the U.S. (geographically spread out)
-has appellate jurisdiction

Lower Courts
- district courts (state courts)
- gives jurisdiction

Landmark Cases
-Bethel School District #43 v. Fraser (1987) - students do not have a First Amendment right to make obscene speeches in school
-U.S. vs. Nixon (1974) - the president is not above the law
-Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) - separate schools are not equal.  This case outlawed segregation in schools
-Cooper vs. Aaron (1958) - states cannot nullify decisions of the federal court
-Tinker vs. Des Moines (1969) - students do not lose their rights at the schoolhouse door
Texas vs. Johnson (1989) - even offensive speech such as flag burning is protected by the First Amendment
-Roe v Wade
-Filburn v Arizona

Federal Judge Qualifications
1. Nominated by president, approved by senate
2. No constitutional qualifications required
3. Serves until retirement, death, or conviction by senate
4. Can resign or be impeached
5. Number of supreme court justices is up to congress. At times there have been as few as 6, while the correct number is 9 (with 1 chief justice and 8 associate justices)
 Rm 29 Class of 2018


 Room 25  


 Room 22  
 Room 25  


DCS Constitution

Kids Discover Constitution

View the pdf and answer the questions.

KD Constitution Questions


The first 10 amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights
    AnimaTed: Know the Ten

Go online and find information about your amendment.

Add information to a presentation

Organize the information into the following topics:

1. Find and read the exact text of the amendment (selected portions if too long)  "it says..."

1, 2, 

2. Translate it to common language  "this means that..."

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 

3. Find out and describe where/why it fits into history "created at a time when..."

4. Now, get personal... tell a story as historical fiction, real or not "imagine someone who..."

1, 2

5. Describe the effect that the amendment has had on our nation and society (application and implications)

1, 2

6. Quiz questions:  2 or 3 questions that anyone you taught should be able to answer
7. Bibliography
1, 2, 

This link opens the doc below in a new window.

Constitutional Amendments

Slide Examples

Constitution Amendment Scoring Sheet


Other Videos:


Room 29 (Fall)

Room 22 (Winter)
Intensive Update 1 (Feb 14, 2015)
Intensive Update 2 (March 4, 2015)