We the People Focusing on Details: Compare and Contrast

Even the most inspiring documents in American history had to go through a few drafts before they were ready for publication. Reinforce the importance of the writing process, as well as the collaborative nature of democracy, with an activity that compares George Washington's annotated copy of the Preamble of the United States Constitution to the final handwritten copy that guides our government today.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Create an interdisciplinary lesson between language arts and social studies during a unit on the Constitution
  • Project both versions of the preamble on the board for learners to note and annotate with dry-erase marker
  • Encourage pairs or individuals to rewrite the preamble in their own modern words, maintaining the themes of the original wording
Classroom Considerations

  • The final copy of the Constition provides a text transcript, but Washington's draft does not; consider typing up his comments to make them easier for pupils to read

  • Ideal for a focus on comparing and contrasting texts or when working on the revision step of the writing process
  • Comes with both versions of the preamble for pupils to compare
  • Provides both the original image of the handwritten documents and the text translations

  • None