Course Title: US History: 1763-1865
Grade Level: 8
Unit Title: The Confederation and Constitutional Era
Unit Title
plus suggested time allotment
Core Topics
Major topics included in this unit
Unit Benchmark Interpretation
What do you want students to know, do, be like?
Suggested Assessments
How will you know if benchmarks have been achieved?
Possible Resources
What possible instructional resources could be used?

The Confederation and Constitutional Era

(4 weeks recommended)


Freedom of Religion,
Common Good
Popular Sovereignty
Rule of Law
Separation of Powers,
Representative Government,
Checks and Balances,
Individual Rights
Civilian Control of the Military

MEAP Vocabulary and Concepts

Contemporary Factors (as in the collapse of the Confederation),
Alternative Courses of Action (as in going to a Monarchy?),
Disparities in American Ideals and Reality,
Representative Democracy,
Risk (mortgages)
Criminal Procedure (foreclosure),
Civic Procedure (a bill becoming a law),
Commerce (tariffs),
Role of Government in the Economy,
Bartering (Shay's Rebellion)

Articles of Confederation

Land Ordinance of 1785
Northwest Ordinance of 1787

Shay's Rebellion

Constitutional Convention
-3/5's Compromise
-Great Compromise


Constitution and the Bill of Rights
-Factors that influenced its creation
-disparity between reality and idealistic democratic structure

Founding Fathers:
-G. Washington
-B. Franklin
-A. Hamilton

1. Recognize the difficulties Americans faced in learning to govern themselves.
(III.3.MS.2, IV.1.MS.2)
1.a) Role play 13 states in groups of 2 or 3 students per state; assign limited common budget and different goals for each state; Can they come to a consensus for a future government and budget plan? (goal is class failure to agree)
b) Students write in journals responding to school issue that illustrates a conflict between Federal and local goals; ie. school lunch funding, etc.

United Video Streaming: (Utica Schools Social Studies account)
The Constitution; Decisions, Decisions Kit from Tom Snyder Products

Multimedia (VHS):

Founding Fathers (History Channel series)
Amistad (scene of J.Q.Adams in front of Supreme Court)
American Justice (series)
Constitution - The Compromise that made a Union (VC 28831) MISD

Print Material:

American History - Glenco Textbook; Chapter 9
Pro vs Con, Events in American history, 1492-1875, pub. by
Fanning the Flames, by Sandra Broderick, pub. by Perfection Learning Corp, Logan, Iowa
Fever 1793; a novel by Lory Halse-Anderson
Citizenship Activities, by Hansen Pub. Center for Applied Reason in Education at


Mock Trial Activity

2. Indicate strengths and weaknesses leading to the success and failure of the Articles of Confederation.
(I.4.MS.4, III.1.MS.3)
2.a) 1787 Constitutional Debate, as found in Pro vs. Con Supplement, pages 13-16.
b) Debate the problems/accomplishments of the Articles of Confederation.
3. Explain and identify the various obstacles and compromises the delegates developed within the Constitution.
(III.3.MS.2, III.1.MS.1)
3.a)Create a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.
b) Illustrate or diagram the compromises and depict obstacles encountered in developing the Constitution.
c) Journal response as to being left out of the Constitutional Convention process; ie. women, minorities, landless, etc.
4. Interpret the significance of:
a)the Constitution as a document
b)separating of powers/checks and balances c)need for the Bill of Rights
(III.1.MS.4, III.2.MS.2,
III.2.MS.3, III.4.MS.2)
4.a) With the three branches of government, the teacher creates a long list of characteristics and actions of government; students then match characteristics to the appropriate branch.
b) Students write a school constitution, using the US Constitution as a model and including 3 articles and a Bill of Rights.
5. Describe the conflict over the ratification of the Constitution in terms of personal rights, states rights and Federal power.
(III.1.MS.3, III.1.MS.4)
5.a) Students create a chart of states with reasons for their supporting or opposing the Constitution.
b) Students create propaganda poster that is pro or con the Constitution.
6. Analyze how the Constitution and Bill of Rights effects present daily life.
6.a) Search newspapers for articles relating to Constitutional issues and explain the relationship.
b) Students, in groupsof 3, draw amendments "out of a hat" and role play a skit wherein the class must guess the Amendment.