Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Know Your Rights: Constitution Day

On September 17th, 1787, attendees at the U.S. Constitutional Convention made history by signing the one of the most important documents in the world. Now, some 221 years later, America proudly recognizes the ratification of the United States Constitution (as well as all individuals who've become citizens by either coming of age or through the process of naturalization). Today is Constitution Day. Does this matter to your students? Do they know their rights? How informed are they about their liberties? Integrate a little technology: listen to a digital audio recitation of the Constitution as read by David P. Currie, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of University of Chicago Law School.

Essential questions related to this topic:
  • What's the best/worst way to interpret the Constitution?
  • Is the Constitution the best means of resolving the struggle between security and liberty?
  • What (if anything) is the most important reason to understand or support the continued use of the Constitution?
  • How can the Constitution be improved?
  • What's the best evidence of the power of the Constitution?
  • What is the most good the Constitution has done for any individual in the history of our nation?
  • What is the weakest part of the Constitution?
  • What is the single, most important right insured by the Constitution?
  • What is the most compelling reason to deny and/or suspend an individual's or group's rights as guaranteed by the Constitution? Should these rights ever be suspended?
  • Which individual is the epitome of the ideals expressed in the Constitution (i.e., who is a role model for the ideals expressed in the document)?
  • How can/could the Constitution be reworded so as to express the same (or even more noble) ideals for a larger audience?

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