PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 7 Humanities: Week of 12/16/2019: Is The Constitution A Mess? Does It Need Amendments? Is It Full Of Contradictions? So Is Independence!

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Dear Families,

Traditional history books often describe the participants the 1787 Constitutional Convention at the Philadelphia State House as the most outstanding leaders and thinkers of their time. While this may be true, they were also some of the most privileged.

So, we decided to hold our own Constitutional Convention and invite a slightly different mix of people; people whose lives were inextricably linked and who would be deeply impacted by the document that would later be known as “the supreme law of the land.”

First, students chose to be part of one of the following groups:

  • Southern Planters
  • Farmers
  • Enslaved Americans
  • Bankers/Merchants
  • Workers

Then, students created a written document that detailed their lives, work, and a proposal for a resolution (for our purposes, resolution=the expression of opinion or will of an assembled group). Students were provided with information handouts on their groups, but were also encouraged to use any class notes and/or independent research findings to generate the document.

The written document could be a speech, but might also include anecdotes, dialogues, and even arguments between group members. The document was then presented on The Convention floor. When all groups finished presenting, they each sent one delegate to sit on a talk-show panel to further discuss their lives and their proposed resolution(s) with the other panelists and the audience.

Finally, at the conclusion of The Convention, all delegates received a ballot. They cast their votes for ONE group’s resolutions only to be considered for inclusion in The Constitution. 

The results are in! 

701: The Enslaved Americans’ resolutions passed! Workers and (ironically) Southern Planters were close behind, with Bankers and Farmers trailing!

702: Wow! Southern Planters and Workers TIED for most votes and will have BOTH of their resolutions passed (wonder how THAT will work?!), Farmers and Enslaved Americans were close behind, with Bankers trailing!

Special thanks go to Lance (701) for creating our ballot box and Emily and Isabel (702) for our Constitution banner. And, no, King George did NOT get to vote!

Next year 😉 we’ll be examining The Bill of Rights!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday,

Ms. Sacilotto


A great deal of work happens in Google Drive before we are ready to present . . .

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After several days of writing, rehearsal, editing, more rehearsal, and more writing, we presented! I can’t think of a more awesome way to spend the last school day in 2019 . . .


And even King George III made a special appearance via satellite . . .