Constitution Day: Classroom resources to teach about the enduring strength of this founding document

September 17 is Constitution Day, a federal observance to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution on this day in 1787.

(c) 2006 Bonnie Jacobs

If a school receives federal funds for a fiscal year — which Minnesota public schools do — it is required to hold an educational program about the U.S. Constitution for its students on September 17, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Since this year the day falls on a Sunday, schools should hold the required programming sometime during that week or the previous week.

While the department provides a list of K-12 resources, below are others that American Experiment believes are worth incorporating into a school’s Constitution Day programming. All of the subheads are clickable links. Ask your school/child’s teacher what their programming will include, and pass along the resources below as helpful suggestions!

Bill of Rights Institute

Teachers, click the link above to receive Constitution Day resources directly to your inbox from the Bill of Rights Institute. The nonprofit educational organization will hold a live webinar on September 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the theme of “Reflection, Choice, and Self-Government.”

Questions to be explored:

  • What is the role of deliberation and careful consideration in our society? Why is it important? 
  • How do we evaluate and debate ideas collectively?  
  • How do we make choices? What influences us? 
  • Who do we allow to make choices on our behalf?  
  • How do we empower these individuals to make those choices?  
  • What is the purpose of balancing reason and passion? Why were the founders concerned about this balance?  

Make sure you check out the whole collection of educator resources the Bill of Rights Institute offers — from lessons and essays to videos and full texts of primary sources for U.S. history, government, and civics classrooms.

Teaching American History

A project of the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University, Teaching American History offers an archive of historical documents, an interactive timeline, and numerous other resources to help educators and students explore themes in American history and self-government. You can also check out how other Minnesota teachers are using Teaching American History in their classrooms.

For Constitution Day, read Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Address on Constitution Day” or incorporate three lessons exploring the different phases of the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

Land of Hope by Wilfred McClay

Listen to the section of Wilfred McClay’s Land of Hope textbook on Constitution Day and learn how this singularly American holiday is even more unique than the Fourth of July.

Hillsdale College

The classical liberal arts college in southern Michigan offers free pocket Constitutions and a free course on the meaning and history of the Constitution. Check out their other resources for Constitution Day here.

Here’s to to recognizing the continuing strength of our Constitution and reaffirming our dedication to the rights and responsibilities that come with citizenship in our great Nation.


Do you have other high-quality resource suggestions? Share below!