Constitutional Principles (HS)

Lesson Duration

From iCivics

Students will:

• Analyze the basic principles of the U.S. Constitution.

• Identify relationships among popular sovereignty, consent of the governed, limited government, rule of law, federalism, separation of powers, and checks and balances.

• Describe how these principles are incorporated into the Constitution.

• Explain the concerns that led the Founders to value these principles.

Sequence -

1. Use the mind map framework to brainstorm everything you can remember about the relationship between the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. government.

2. Constitutional principles reading

3. Web of Principles: Think about how these principles are related to each other. Draw lines between pairs of icons and write a note on the line about how those two principles might be related. Connect as many principles as you can.

4. “Barebones Constitution” – a straightforward visual of the preamble and seven articles

5. Principle Examples – students are given five things that were said or written around the time the Constitution was created, and are tasked with matching the statement to a principle. An optional Powerpoint is provided.

6. Cut and Paste diagramming activity – students are provided with a page of cut-out icons and must come up with a variety of ways to diagram the same principle. Some examples are provided. Students may make posters for the classroom, using other materials.

Go to:



iCivics is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing civic education.