The Great Debate

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 11489

If you put 10 politicians in a room you'll get 20 opinions. Arguing can be good if it's constructive and productive. The U.S. was born out of a heated convention. Write your own version of the debate!


Civics, United States

learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Sometimes people argue. Issues pile up and things get tense. There can be productive arguments, however, when disagreement leads to honest and open discussion and an attempt to reach a better solution.

That was the situation at the Constitutional Convention some 240 years ago in Philadelphia. This famous series of meetings gave the United States of America its form of government.

Reflect on how much you already know about the U.S. Constitution. Write down answers to these questions and discuss with a parent or teacher:

  • What is the Constitution?
  • What is it used for?
  • Who were some of the figures involved in composing it?

People often call the American form of government "an experiment in democracy."

There is a good reason for that! The people who formulated this government — the Founding Fathers — culled together bits and pieces of the governments they had observed around the world or learned about through studying history and philosophy. The result was a form of government that no one had ever seen before.

How long would it last? No one knew. It is now over 240 years later, and the original system they established is still moving forward in spite of setbacks here and there.

The Founding Fathers convened to create this system because the one that had been in place under the Articles of Confederation since the Revolutionary War was not working very well.

Let's examine the events of this gathering, known as the Constitutional Convention, and find out what took place there.

Seek answers to these questions about the Constitutional Convention as you read The Constitutional Convention,

  • Who attended the convention?
  • What were the attendees' goals?
  • What processes or procedures did they use?
  • What did they accomplish?

Share your findings with a parent or teacher. Then reflect on the following questions and discuss:

  • What role did the Constitutional Convention play in American history?
  • Why do you think the delegates followed the processes and procedures they did?
  • What results did they achieve?
  • What, if anything, was left unresolved?

One of the most enduring and important parts of this constitutional debate was the writing of the Bill of Rights.

In the Got It? section, you will more closely examine the arguments made in favor of and against the Bill of Rights.

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