Historical Scene Investigations

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What was Connecticut's contribution to the Constitution?

The Case

The Constitution is an important part of our country’s history. There were many people who were instrumental in creating this document. You may be familiar with some of them such as, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison.

Follow the links below to view artwork that depicts the convention and the signing of the Constitution. Use the worksheet Activity One- Learning to Look to guide your thinking about what you see in the paintings.

Washington as Statesman at the Constitutional Convention by Junius Brutus Stearns
http:// teachingamericanhistory.org/convention/stearns/

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States by Howard Chandler Christy
http://teachingamericanhistory.org/convention/christy/

The Constitution, Mural by Barry Faulkner
http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/charters_mural_constitution_b.html#

Use any of the links above to Complete Activity Two: Convention Contributions to gain background information and identify the role each played in the creation of the Constitution. Click on the person to open a window of biographical information.

Your teacher has guided you to learn about some of the more well-known Founding Fathers of the Constitution, now bring it home. Your job is to investigate Connecticut’s connection to the U.S. Constitution.

Becoming a Detective:

Complete the List/Group/Label Worksheet to activate your background knowledge about the Constitution.

You will use a variety of resources to learn about some the lesser known, but equally important, contributors to the Constitution who happen to be from your home state of Connecticut, “The Constitution State”.

(From Left to Right) Oliver Ellsworth, William Samuel, Johnson Roger Sherman

Revisit the Christy painting to locate the three Connecticut delegates listed above and complete
Activity Three- Taking a Closer Look where you will read artwork to gain information and
produce a richer examination of the events and people portrayed by the artist.

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States by Howard Chandler Christy
http://teachingamericanhistory.org/convention/christy/

Use the links below to Complete Activity Four: Connecticut Character Sketch to gain
background information and identify the role each played in the creation of the Constitution.

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States by Howard Chandler Christy
http://teachingamericanhistory.org/convention/christy/
Click on the person to open a window of biographical information.

Under Archives and Readings click on Ratification of the Constitution and scroll down to Roles
for the Ratification Convention to read excerpts from speeches and writings from the delegates.
http://www.connhistory.org/

The Framers of the Constitution Read brief character sketches of each of the delegates written by
William Pierce, delegate from Georgia.
http://www.usconstitution.net/constframe.html

 

Investigating the Evidence:

You’ve discovered the important contributions that the Connecticut delegates made to the
Constitution. Now you will learn about the significance of these contributions.

Use the following link to examine the image entitled The Connecticut Compromise by Bradley
Stevens. Scroll down to the section titled “Two Bodies, One Branch”. Complete the Visual Image
Worksheet.

http://www.visitthecapitol.gov/aboutcongress/

Use the following resources to acquire knowledge about the Connecticut Compromise. Complete
the Fact Pyramid and Because Box organizer using your new information.

(Left to Right) The Constitution of the United States pages 25-27, If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution pages 45-49, A More Perfect Union pages 14-23, Who Wrote the U.S. Constitution? pages 18-35, Connecticut and the Federal Constitution pages 14-26

 

Searching for Clues:

Use the link that follows to read a reader’s theater script titled The Constitution of the United
States the Foundation of our Government. Your task is to choose one of the following:

Write the letter from John Russell to his family explaining what he overhears during the
Convention about the Connecticut Compromise.
Write Act II of the script which includes the conversations between the delegates
regarding the Connecticut Compromise.

Use the following questions to guide your thinking.

Based on your research what can you infer about the conversations and actions of the
delegates?
Who might begin the conversation?
What might they say and how will they say it?
Who might respond and how will they say it?
Why do you think the Compromise came from the Connecticut delegates?
Who might agree with the Connecticut delegates? Disagree?

Reader’s Theater
http://www.teachercreatedmaterials.com/curriculum_files/free/activities/september2009/
10533.pdf

 

Cracking the Case:

Use the link below to read the poem titled “It’s my Honor”. Complete the “Bring It Home in a
Poem” activity by applying all the knowledge you have gained about Connecticut’s Contribution
to the Constitution.

“It’s my Honor” poem

To Learn More:

Sources for Students:

Sites:

The Constitution For Kids
http://www.usconstitution.net/constkids4.html

Constitution: Travel Back in History
http://www.congressforkids.net/Constitution_delegates.htm

National Constitution Center
http://ratify.constitutioncenter.org/constitution/

Independence Hall Association
http://www.ushistory.org/

National Archives
http://www.archives.gov/

Books:
Haesly, Richard, ed. The Constitutional Convention. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2002
Stewart, David O. The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution. New York: Simon
and Schuster, 2007.

Critical Thinking Question(s):

There are many landmarks in Connecticut that honor Ellsworth, Johnson, and Sherman for their
contributions. What other evidence can you find in Connecticut that tells of the importance of
these men?

 


 

Sources for Teachers:

National Archives
http://www.archives.gov/

Map of Connecticut Landmarks of the Constitution, Drawn by John McCrillis 1987: found at the
Connecticut Trust For Historic Preservation.

The Constitution a Primary Sourcebook, published by the Teaching American History Professional
Development Project.

Schwartz, Rebecca Spears. Story of the Constitution, A Jackdaw Portfolio, Jackdaw Publications,
1998.

Collier, Christopher and James Lincoln. Decision in Philadelphia: The Constitutional Convention of
1787. Random House, 1986.

 

The Evidence:

Washington as Statesman at the Constitutional Convention by Junius Brutus Stearns
http://teachingamericanhistory.org/convention/stearns/

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States by Howard Chandler Christy
http://teachingamericanhistory.org/convention/christy/

The Constitution, Mural by Barry Faulkner
http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/charters_mural_constitution_b.html#

Roles for the Ratification Convention to read excerpts from speeches and writings from the
delegates.
http://www.connhistory.org/

The Framers of the Constitution Read brief character sketches of each of the delegates written by
William Pierce, delegate from Georgia.
http://www.usconstitution.net/constframe.html

Image entitled The Connecticut Compromise by Bradley Stevens
http://www.visitthecapitol.gov/aboutcongress/

Reader’s Theater and poem
http://www.teachercreatedmaterials.com/curriculum_files/free/activities/september2009/
10533.pdf

 

 

 

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