The Constitution at Work: Middle School Edition (Free)

by  National Archives

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Guiding Question: How does the Constitution check and balance power?

Students will analyze primary sources to examine the powers of the Federal Government and discover how the Constitution created a stronger central government compared to the Articles of Confederation. They will also discover how the Constitution checks and balances power between the three branches of government and between the Federal Government and state governments.

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About This Program


By Request: $0.00
By Request Premium: $0.00


This program is free.


45-60 Minutes

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 6, 7, 8

Minimum participants:


Maximum participants:

There is no maximum, but for optimum interactivity, we suggest no more than 35 students.

Primary Disciplines

Social Studies/History

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc...)
Google Hang Out

Booking Information

Programs by Request are available Tuesday-Thursday and must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.

Book it!

Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

Please email distancelearning@nara.gov at least 24 hours in advance about program cancellations. Cancellations due to inclement weather will be rescheduled based on program availability.

About This Provider

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National Archives

Washington, DC
United States

The National Archives is an independent Federal agency that preserves and protects the historically valuable records of the United States
government. The mission of the National Archives is to provide public access to
these Federal Government records. Public access to government records
strengthens democracy by allowing Americans to claim their rights of
citizenship, hold their government accountable, and understand their history so
they can participate more effectively in their government.

The interactive Distance Learning programs of the National
Archives feature primary sources from the Archives' holdings, including historical
documents, photographs, maps, posters, and more!

National Archives Distance Learning Team

Program Details


1. Introduction to the National Archives

2. Review problems caused by the Articles of Confederation

3. Document Analysis with the National Archives

4. Document Analysis to answer the questions: 1) How Does the Constitution create a strong central government? 2) How does the Constitution separate and share power?

5. Full class discussion of discoveries from small group work

6. Conclusion


By completing this program, students will be better able to:
-Cite examples of the system of checks and balances in the Constitution
-Explain how the Constitution established a strong central government
-Analyze primary sources

Standards Alignment

National Standards

National Center for History in the Schools Standards
United States History Content Standards for Grades 5-12 United States Era 3 Standard 3A
The student understands the issues involved in the creation and ratification of the United States Constitution and the new government it established.
Therefore, the student is able to
(5-12) Analyze the factors involved in calling the Constitutional Convention.
(5-12) Analyze the features of the Constitution which have made this the most enduring and widely imitated written constitution in world history.

National Standards for Civics and Government

NSS-C.5-8.2.A.1: The American idea of constitutional government. Students should be able to explain the essential ideas of American constitutional government.

NSS-C.5-8.2.D.1: Fundamental values and principles. Students should be able to explain the meaning and importance of the fundamental values and principles of American constitutional democracy.

NSS-C.5-8.3.A.1: Distributing, sharing, and limiting powers of the national government. Students should be able to explain how the powers of the national government are distributed, shared, and limited.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.1: Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.1: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.1.A: Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.2: Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.