The U.S. Constitution
Teacher Resources

The U.S. Constitution: Discover How Democracy Works with 25 Projects

By Carla Mooney  
Illustrated by Tom Casteel
In The U.S. Constitution: Discover How Democracy Works, children ages 9–12 learn about the foundation of democracy in the United States and how the documents crafted hundreds of years ago still have an impact on our country today.

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"This book explains how history, civics, philosophy, and current events all play an important role in understanding how the U.S. government works both in theory and in practice. The events that provided a catalyst for the Constitution are introduced, with a brief primer on the American Revolution and the Constitutional Convention. Basic precepts of democracy and more intricate foundational concepts, such as checks and balances and branches of government, are discussed. Vivid illustrations contextualize these abstractions in an appealing comic-book style, and new terms are introduced a handful at a time. Each chapter summary culminates in a relevant active-learning exercise. These activities will appeal to many modalities and learning styles and range in difficulty from creating parchment from scratch to planning a debate of important current events. By using active learning as a capstone to critical concepts and by including essential questions to guide readers, the book provides an interactive introduction to ideas that are vital to responsible citizenship."

Mrs. Yingling Reads
“Divided into six chapters, this book is primarily concerned with the genesis of the constitution, a description of how it works, and includes a chapter on the important documents of other countries. The projects that accompany the extension information are geared more toward upper middle school, and while some crafts like calligraphy are involved, most of them are activities involving thinking and writing. The extensive information makes this a good supplement to a text, or an introduction to the Constitution and the other topics tangential to it (like democracy, US history, etc.).”  Read the complete review online.

School Library Journal
Mooney adds another informational volume to the series with an overview of the U.S. Constitution. She explains the background of the American Revolution as well as the significance of early documents like the Declaration of Independence. The long road to the establishment of the Constitution is examined, including the debates among the differing factions at the Constitutional Convention. The text lays out in accessible language important concepts such as the separation of powers, the Bill of Rights, and the process for amending the Constitution. The author covers various amendments in detail, with excerpts from several primary documents. She also explores historical documents from Europe that provide context to the Constitution, including the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights. Dozens of activities pepper the text, such as discussion questions regarding the Declaration of Independence and debate ideas between Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Casteel's color illustrations are simple and inviting, and they illuminate important points clearly.  VERDICT A handy and useful resource for upper elementary and middle school classrooms with an interest in government and politics."

Marla Conn, Educational Consultant
Love this title! Beautifully designed, well organized and wonderful opportunities for students to think, apply, analyze and connect."

Ken I. Kersch, Professor of Political Science, History, and Law, Boston College
"Mooney's book provides an accessible, engaging, and well-informed introduction to the foundational texts, principles, and history of the constitutional democracy in the United States."


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Detailed Book Description

In The U.S. Constitution: Discover How Democracy Works, children ages 9–12 learn about the foundation of democracy in the United States and how the documents crafted hundreds of years ago still have an impact on our country today.

  • Integrates democracy with civics, social studies, language arts, and history.
  • Readers use critical thinking skills to deconstruct the meaning of language used at different periods in American history.
  • Examines the founding and structure of the U.S. government and the electoral process.
  • Encourages readers to connect historic events to present-day political disagreements.
Available In:
Hardcover, $22.95
Paperback, $17.95
Includes: Table of Contents | Timeline | Maps | Glossary | Resources | Index
Specs: 8 x 10 size | 4-color interior | 128 pages
Subject: Social Studies
Content Focus: U.S. History



What Is Democracy?

Chapter 1
First Documents

Chapter 2
The Constitution of the United States

Chapter 3
Amending the Constitution

Chapter 4
Other Important Documents

Chapter 5
Important Documents of Other Nations

Chapter 6
The Future of Democracy

Essential Questions