Lesson 2: Developing the Constitution
Essential Question:
What role does compromise play in constructing state and federal government roles?
Students will be able to discuss the role of state and national powers under the Articles of
Students will be able to compare and contrast the varying perspectives of large and small states
after the American Revolution.
Students will be able to discuss why the Constitutional Convention was called to order.
The student will demonstrate skills for historical and geographical analysis and responsible
citizenship, including the ability to
a) identify and interpret primary and secondary source documents to increase
understanding of events and life in United States history to 1865
b) make connections between the past and the present;
c) sequence events in United States history from pre-Columbian times to 1865;
d) interpret ideas and events from different historical perspectives;
e) evaluate and discuss ideas orally and in writing
The student will demonstrate knowledge of the challenges faced by the new nation by
a) identifying the weaknesses of the government established by the Articles of
b) describing the historical development of the Constitution of the United States
ENG 6.1
The student will participate in and contribute to small group activities
a) Communicate as a leader and contributor
ENG 6.2
The student will present, listen critically, and express opinions in oral presentations
a) Distinguish between fact and opinion
b) Compare and contrast view points
MATH 6.14
The student, given a problem situation, will
b) draw conclusions and make predictions, using circle graphs; and
c) compare and contrast graphs that present information from the same data set.
The student will build trust, cooperation, confidence, concentration, and listening skills through
theatre exercises and team-building activities.
The student will respond to questions about why artists create works of art.

 SmartBoard
 Laptop
 “Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution”
 Constitution PowerPoint (FCPS eCART)
 “We the People” animated historical fiction
 Join or Die political cartoon
 BrainPop: George Washington and James Madison
 1790 U.S. Census data

 Developing the Constitution graphic organizer
 Pencil
 Colored pencils
 Poster paper
 Fakebook –

Learning Procedures:
 Have students think about a strong leader they know – can be a parent, teacher, coach,
peer, etc. What qualities make them a strong leader? How do they treat others? How do
they command respect?
 Based on what we discussed yesterday, what is the state of the country in the mid-
1780s? (Have students recall reasons of dissatisfaction about the Articles of
 Is there strong leadership? With a partner, turn and talk about the changes that need to
happen. Share whole group.
 Continue to read from “Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution” covering the events
leading up to the Constitutional Convention.
 Look at the Join or Die political cartoon by Benjamin Franklin. Discuss its original origins
with the French and Indian War. Discuss its relevance to the time period (states were
very much separate, and people were afraid the country would fall apart if they did not
unite). [Visual-spatial,
 Use PowerPoint to visually show key concepts (attached).
o Students can take notes with the Developing the Constitution graphic organizer.
 Discuss whole group using the points below.
 Because Americans were so unhappy with the Articles of Confederation, they decided
changes must be made.
 The original intention was not a new Constitution, but once they met, the realized a new
document altogether must be drafted.
 Members of the Constitutional Convention spent the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia
drafting the Constitution.
 Ask students, based on what you know, what do you think the major issues of debate
were? (State representation, balance of powers (branches of government).
 Introduce key people at the Convention – George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Roger
Sherman, George Mason, James Madison, Edmund Randolph, William Patterson
 Have scaffolded notes available on each person for students.
 Show BrainPop video on James Madison and George Washington. [Visual-spatial,
 Then, look at population graphs showing the population of each state according to the
1790 United States Census Data. [Logical-Mathematical]
o Which states do you think were considered large? Which states were considered
small? (States with populations over 250,000 were considered large states).
o How will this influence debate at the Constitutional Convention?
 With a partner, make a distinctions chart (T-chart) demonstrating the differences in
state and local powers under the Articles of Confederation. [Interpersonal]
 Then, show how you believe the Constitutional Convention delegates should change the
balance of powers.
 Share out whole class.
 During partner activity, pull small groups. Give handouts on key people from the
Convention and the Virginia and New Jersey Plan to prepare for tomorrow’s simulation.
Scaffold for ELL students through discussion. Have students read more about their
people so they are prepared for the mock Constitutional Convention.
 As students finish, independently they will select a key person from the Constitutional
Convention. Students can and should use their notes they took whole group.
 Write and illustrate an “I Am Poem” about the person they have chosen OR write a song
and illustrate an album cover. [Interpersonal, Musical, Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic,
o This format has been previously modeled and practiced in writing workshop.
 Be sure to include where they are from, their beliefs, and how they may have influenced
the Constitutional Convention.
 Review the major concerns going into the Constitutional Convention.
 Review the differing opinions of the large and small states. Have students be prepared
to represent a small or large state at tomorrow’s convention. Some students will play
key historical figures.
 Tomorrow we will have a mock Constitutional Convention!
 Students can create a Fakebook using online software for a key historical figure from the
Constitutional Convention.
 The Fakebook page should show what their occupation, political affiliations, and
purpose at the Convention.
 Students can illustrate as well.
Formative: Use “I Am” poems to formatively assess students’ understanding of key figures
perspectives, and the role they played at the Convention. Take anecdotal notes during group
discussion and partner work, noting areas where students may need additional support, or
provide more knowledge to promote deeper understanding.
All students will have differentiated activities based on interest (choice of poem or song).
ELL Students: Provide key information visually on the SmartBoard, as well as orally through
class discussion. Give scaffolded notes for important information. Opportunities to discuss ideas
as well as write/draw.
Low-Readiness: Circulate during activity providing one-on-one support as needed. Give
students choice in partner work so they are supported and encouraged by their peers.
High-Readiness: Provide extension activities as appropriate. Extensions offer students a way to
go deeper with their thinking, looking not only at facts, but also at perspective, and how
perspective influenced major events in history.
Special Education: Not applicable for this class, but can make individual accommodations where
necessary. Option for one-on-one help during individual work, as well as scaffolded notes, and
oral assessment.
Multiple Intelligences addressed throughout.