In 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed by 39 brave men who changed the course of history. Today, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) uses Constitution Week to celebrate their legacy and develop habits of citizenship in a new generation of Americans. This distinctively civic mission is embedded in our Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum and classroom instruction.
Throughout the county, our schools celebrated Constitution Week (Sept. 17-21). Here are just a few examples:
Elementary students made displays and participated in Constitution -themed scavenger hunts. Children created videos, conducted research, and wrote books. They shared their Constitution know-how with classmates during schoolwide newscasts, and learned about the Constitution from Schoolhouse Rock and the Peanuts gang. Constitution-themed read-alouds, costumes, pocket copies of the U.S. Constitution, and special visitors reinforced their learning.
Gwinnett middle school students analyzed the Constitution and learned how the Bill of Rights applies to our daily life through iCivics. Some students donned costumes to honor their favorite Founder. They learned about the Constitution through shared readings, morning announcements, and trivia questions focused on this key document. Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty greeted students and students used interactive resources.
Older students participated in voter registration drives. (Young people can register at 17½ and vote if they will be 18 by Election Day.) High school social studies classes explored related topics with elected officials. They engaged in online exchange programs with peers and constitutional experts and took part in constitutional debates. Members of a mock Congress created their own constitutions and students learned hand signs for the Bill of Rights.
While Constitution Week is an opportunity for focused classroom activities tied to this foundational document, study of the U.S. Constitution and the country’s other key documents is embedded in GCPS’ AKS curriculum throughout the year and in all grades. Our youngest learners (K-2) develop a foundation for civic literacy with a study of democracy and America’s Founding Fathers as well as rules and laws in our world. Students in grades 3-5 learn the role, structure, function, and responsibility of government in our representative democracy. Middle schoolers study the past and how those lessons inform civic action today, from the rise of democratic ideals and how government was shaped throughout the world’s history to the history of our own state and country. In high school, young people explore civil liberties and the common good in a constitutional democracy, connecting the past to the present. Copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are on display in every school and in central office buildings.
Check out these digital resources that bring our country’s foundational documents to life, including an Interactive Constitution from the National Constitution Center, the Charters of Freedom from the National Archives, and materials from ConstitutionDay.Com and Georgia Center for Civic Engagement.
Social Studies in GCPS
GCPS’ Social Studies program prepares students to participate as constructive citizens in a democratic society. Students understand their role and responsibility as citizens. They discover America’s heritage and its role and responsibility in the world. Students relate the past to the present. They learn the similarities and differences between nations, cultures, and peoples of the world. Students interpret maps and globes, process information, and solve problems. Themes of study include the following: beliefs and ideas influence decisions and laws, and beliefs determine decision-makers; conflict causes change; culture is the product of society; actions affect society; and the movement of ideas and people affects everyone.