Sunday, January 19, 2014

21 YouTube videos that help make learning the Constitution fun

The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution
This terrific 13 minute video from the people over at Crash Course. It provides a nice overview of the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution.


James Madison
Flocabulary's A More Perfect Union introduces students to John Locke and Thomas Jefferson, as well James Madison who is known as the "Father of the Constitution."


When discussing the Preamble here are a couple a videos from classic television shows. Before using this video from the Andy Griffith Show, be sure to go over the Preamble with your students first and have the text in front of the students. Watch them and if they are like my students, they will be trying to help Barney Fife as he struggles to remember the words.

Whether or not you are a fan of the original Star Trek series, this speech by Captain Kirk gets to the heart of the Constitution when he says, "It must apply to everyone, or it means nothing!"


Finally there is this cool "hip hop" remix of the classic Schoolhouse Rock Preamble video.


Three Branches of Government
Flocabulary has a great video that explain the three branches concept as well as checks and balances. The video is well done, the song stays in your head and the lyrics are embedded into the video which is beneficial for hearing disabled students.


Next up is the first in a terrific series of videos titled Fact of Congress. This one details the basics behind the three branches of government.


The final video of this three branches trilogy is from the old Schoolhouse Rock series. This one is titled Three Ring Circus and it still does a nice job of explaining the concept. This video is probably best for younger students.

Checks and Balances
As stated earlier, the Flocabulary video titled Three Branches of Government does explain checks and balances. This video from the Fact of Congress series also does a nice job of explaining the concept while keeping it short and to the point.

When teaching what Federalism is, most social studies teachers (like me) use a simple venn diagram to explain the concept. To add support, try showing this video from the Fact of Congress series.

This entertaining video from Ignite Learning uses super-heroes to help students understand the concept of Federalism.

Legislative Branch
Article I of the Constitution explains the Legislative Branch of the government. These two videos from the Fact of Congress series will help you to explain the similarities and unique qualities of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The House of Representatives

The Senate
How a bill becomes a law
Most people are well aware of this classic Schoolhouse Rock video, so no further explanations are necessary.

Here is another video you may want to show when teaching this to your students. It is another great video from the Fact of Congress series.

Electoral College
The way the United States chooses a president is confusing and often misunderstood. I like to conduct mock election in my class with both popular and electoral votes. These videos are very helpful in getting students to better understand such a strange election system.

Back in 2008, the Disney company produced a nice  video that explain the Electoral College in a simple way.


I grew up in the 1970's when Schoolhouse Rock was a regular part of my Saturday mornings and I can't say I remember this video about the Electoral College.

When explaining the Electoral College, the videos that I recommend the most is a three parts series from C.P. Grey. The first one explains how the Electoral College works.

The second video in the series explains the Trouble with the Electoral College.

The final video explains what happens when the Electoral College does not choose a president.

Bill of Rights
This is the one topic that students can relate to the most. The following videos will assist with helping to learn about them. The First Amendment gets the attention from this Fact of Congress video.

The final video from the Fact of Congress series is this one that focuses on the Amendments to the Constitution.


Finally, there is this Ted Ed video that shares the Bill of Rights in a short but easy to understand video.


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