MOUNT VERNON, VA – In preparation for Constitution Day on September 18 (observed), George Washington’s Mount Vernon has made available a variety of teacher and student resources devoted to the Constitution. Through the website www.mountvernon.org/teachingtheconstitution teachers can download lesson plans and students can explore special interactives along with a dynamic Constitution video, A More Perfect Union: George Washington and the Making of the Constitution. This visually stunning video tells the story of the constitution’s creation and is a terrific resources for teachers to utilize in their classrooms.  The video’s tactile animations and live-action reenactments bring key concepts to our nation’s democracy today come to life. 

“When we shared A More Perfect Union video with teachers from around the country, they found it compelling and agreed that their students would benefit from the beautiful map animations and the scale images that illustrate the different compromises made during the convention,” said Allison Wickens, Mount Vernon’s vice president for education. “The lesson plans and quizzes we created as companion to the video focused on providing vocabulary and chronological support so critical to teaching the key concepts in the video.”

The video also places Washington at the center of the action, from the call for a convention to its ultimate approval in ratification and the election of the country’s first president.  This biographical framing is one of the key educational elements that this production uses to give students a better grasp on the chronological details and debates. 

Also available on Mount Vernon’s website are student quizzes and study tools that integrate the powerful imagery of the film with critical points of understanding including vocabulary, democratic concepts, compromises, and chronology.  Teachers can download lesson plans which use imagery as a tool for memory building and conceptual understanding.  These lessons integrate research, role-play, and inquiry source analysis that take students from the simple act of video viewing to tasks of increasing complexity and meaning making. 

Educators have told Mount Vernon that vocabulary and chronology were important barriers for their students to overcome so they could understand the true accomplishments of the Constitutional Convention—the compromises that were critical to the forming of the new government.  The video, quizzes, and lesson plans can be found at www.mountvernon.org/teachingtheconstitution.  Teachers can send students to www.mountvernon.org/constitutionquizzes to test their knowledge of the Constitution.

Each year 300,000 students from across the country visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon to see the home of our nation’s first president.  Focused on the understanding that not every student will be able to visit Mount Vernon, the organization’s digital resources for teachers and schools provide opportunities to bring Washington’s biography and the story of the founding of the United States government to schools.  Visit www.mountvernon.org/teachingtheconstitution for more information about these new digital resources. 

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