US Constitution: Web Quest History and Future of the government: Created by caylie Ratzlaff

Goal and Objective

  • Goal: Understand the US Constitution
  • Objective: The student will analyze and apply the United States Constitution to different scenarios and questions.


2. Individuals have rights and responsibilities

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America"

Essential Question

Why is it important for Americans to understand the structure of the government in relation to their daily lives?

  1. Do some preliminary research using Instagrok to learn some basic facts about the Constitution. Spend 5-10 minutes exploring the site and make a list of 5-10 things you learned.

2. Watch the following video from John Green's Crash Course to -- literally -- get a crash course on this topic. Once again, write down 5-10 things you learned from this. By this point, you should have a list of 10-20 things that you now know about the Constitution, the Articles, and Federalism. Keep these handy.

These are the questions you will now focus on:

1. What philosophical backgrounds and people went into creating the basis for the constitution?

2. How many articles and amendments are there in the Constitution?

3. How does the Constitution limit government power to protect individual rights while promoting the common good?

4. What are the basic purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment?

5. Why have First Amendment rights been viewed as essential to the functioning of a free society? In what ways have these rights been of particular importance to women and minorities?

You don't have to have exact answers to these questions, but they will help you with the assignment due next class (and the questions above will be graded)

Links to Use

Use the links below to gather information for the previous five questions mentioned. Questions 1, 2, and 4 are provided directly by the links. Questions 3 and 5 will require more critical thinking and analysis to answer after viewing the following resources.

Now you know some basics of the Constitution, it's time for your actual assignment due next class.


The following questions need to be answered in a paragraph format with a complete answer to the question. There is no length minimum or requirement however the more information you have, the more you are showing you learned. Format with Times New Roman 12 Font, Double Spaced, MLA format to turn in next class.

1. John Bingham, the author of the Fourteenth Amendment, argued, “Is it not essential to the unity of the Government and the unity of the people that all persons, whether citizens or strangers, within this land, shall have equal protection in every State in this Union in the rights of life and liberty and property?”* Why was Bingham’s statement controversial in 1866? Is it still controversial today? Why or why not?

2. Political and social movements in American history have been successful because of the right of assembly. President Abraham Lincoln wrote in a letter that “the right of peaceable assembly” is part of the “Constitutional substitute for revolution.”* Do you agree or disagree with President Lincoln? Why? What is the history of freedom of assembly in America? How can you apply this to modern day protests? What are some examples?

3. “Compared with the political systems of the other advanced democratic countries, ours is among the most opaque, complex, confusing, and difficult to understand.”* Do you agree or disagree with this statement by Robert Dahl? Why? What institutional arrangements established by the Constitution, if any, make our political system difficult to understand?

4. Do you think an amendment needs to be added to the Constitution? Why or Why not? Do you believe the Constitution is still need? Why or why not? What do you believe are some pros and cons with the Constitution? Why is it important for Americans to understand the structure of the government in which they live (the essential question)?


Assessment Guidelines

This is a 50 point assignment.

  • 10 points: Completion of basic knowledge questions
  • 10 points: Question 1
  • 10 points: Question 2
  • 10 points: Question 3
  • 10 points: Question 4

Points will be deducted for not elaborating on answers for the Critical Thinking Questions 1-4. You will be evaluated on the completion of the pre-assignment activity, depth of answers for the critical thinking, and the eventual answer of the essential question.

Questions for the assignment pulled from We The People Civic Education Course.

Created By
Caylie Ratzlaff


Created with images by Ronile - "statue of liberty new york ny" • Phil Roeder - "United States Capitol" • Christoph - "bald eagles bald eagle bird of prey" • jp26jp - "flag usa patriot" • dbking - "Jefferson Memorial" • Photographing Travis - "We The People..."

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