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Instructional Resources

Series Info

Episodes: 6

Length: 30 min.

Grade Levels:
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Social Studies

U.S. Constitution

This series, hosted by Bill Moyers, shows that the original structural aspects of the Constitution have important interrelations, and that the Constitution is a document that can be changed, and has been changed, as a result of the need to resolve conflict.

The lessons present recurring constitutional themes and issues that will stimulate young people to think more critically about the Constitution.

Episode Guide

1. Limited Government & the Rule of Law — Discusses why a constitutional government is valuable and how citizens can maintain it.

2. Federalism — How powers are divided and shared by federal and state governments and the rationale behind such an arrangement is examined.

3. Separation of Powers — The system of checks and balances has existed for many years in the United States. This program traces the system from 1789 with a look at how the balance has shifted with the circumstances and different leaders.

4. Freedom of Expression — Young people are encouraged to think critically about the meaning of free speech and issues surrounding limitations on it, as they learn about how the Constitution gives and withholds certain individual rights.

5. Equal Protection of Laws — The Fourth Amendment guarantees equal protection under the law. Students are asked to consider to whom this applies and under what circumstances.

6. The Constitution & the Economy — Property rights and opportunities for economic development are guaranteed under the Constitution. However, the government also regulates business activity for the protection of the public. The government’s adaptation to economic conditions is traced from 1789 to the present.

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