Constitution Day and Citizenship Day
Many schools are required to teach about the Constitution on Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, which is observed nationally on September 17. In communities across the nation, schools meet this requirement by joining with their federal court in a variety of ways.
Engage students in learning about the U.S. Constitution through:
- participating in the activity Civil Discourse and the Constitution: Candid Conversations or another educational activity based on the Bill of Rights,
- reciting the preamble to the Constitution and starting a discussion on what it means to students, or
- observing or participating in naturalization ceremonies.
These activities can help schools meet a Congressional mandate to teach about the Constitution on September 17 every year. In 2004, Congress mandated that schools receiving federal funding provide education about the Constitution on that date.
"(b) Each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution."
Civil Discourse and the Constitution: Candid Conversations
Civil Discourse and the Constitution is a 50-minute classroom activity that engages students in candid conversations with a federal judge and volunteer lawyers as they learn and practice civility and decision-making skills. The program is relevant throughout the month and the academic year. Classroom visits can be virtual or in person. Learn more about the activity.
Ponder Promises of the Preamble
Inspire the young people in your life – in classrooms, courtrooms, and communities – to understand and embrace the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. In this video, high school students interpret the promises and the impact of the preamble on their lives. As a discussion starter the video can stimulate reflection, writing, and civil discourse among teens and adults searching for common ground in the celebration of the Constitution.
Reciting the preamble to the U.S. Constitution in unison has become embedded in the traditions of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. This video is simply the words of the preamble to the Constitution, projected at a comfortable pace for easy reading at any group recitation.
When students of all ages participate in naturalization ceremonies presided over by federal judges in their communities, they take away a real-life experience of civic engagement. The ceremonies are scheduled at courthouses across the country and at other significant locations, including iconic cultural sites; natural and civic landmarks; and historic places.
Courts have developed activities and how-to information to prepare students and to involve them in the ceremonies in simple yet significant ways. While waiting for the event to start, students in attendance can answer the questions in this annual quiz. These ceremonies offer an opportunity to interact with the federal judges who administer the Oath of Citizenship.
Learn more about Naturalization Ceremonies.