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We were there

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  • 1. We Were There… WebQuest on the U.S. Constitutional Convention In 1783, with the war formally drawing to a close, the Congress faced a wider range of issues...Despite the Congress's continued efforts to improve its effectiveness, many Americans saw the need for a more powerful central authority; the Congress as defined by the Articles of Confederation was too weak to make the states obey congressional mandates…in 1786, leading statesmen called for a special convention to revise the Articles -- the Constitutional Convention. (To Form a More Perfect Union – Introduction)
  • 2. The Quest (choose one)
    • You find yourself in late 18th century United States. Everything is just like you learned in Social Studies class, except many of the technologies of today exist. You will assume one of the following roles:
    • You are one of the 55 delegates selected to represent your state at the Constitutional Convention.
    • You are a reporter assigned to cover the Constitutional Convention.
    • You are a public relations person hired by the delegates who wish to convince other delegates to approve the new constitution or to convince the population of the states to encourage their delegates to support adoption for ratification.
  • 3. The Task (choose based on above)
    • You and your team are the delegates from ________________ (pick state or teacher assign). You have each been asked to appear on a local talk show to present your position on the proposed Constitution. Choose one of the following:
    • Prepare a handout for the talk show host with a brief biography and position for each member of your delegation. Include:
    • State represented.
    • A picture if available.
    • A biographical sketch for each member which includes birthplace, and family and economic background.
    • The reasons each delegate supports or opposes adopting the Constitution in bullet form.
    • OR
    • You temporarily get called back to your home state on an emergency, and will not be able to attend the talk show. Prepare a video presentation to be aired on the talk show in your absence. Include all of the information above.
  • 4. The Task (choose based on above)
    • You have been assigned to cover the Constitutional Convention for the Philadelphia Gazette .
    • Create a 1-2 page newsletter using a desktop publishing or word processing program. Write an article (or articles) about the Convention. Include:
    • The number of delegates originally selected to the Convention.
    • The state(s), if any, that did not send any delegates.
    • The number of delegates who actually attended. (Include names if possible)
    • The number of delegates who never attended. (Include names if possible)
    • The oldest and youngest delegates and their ages.
    • The professional and societal backgrounds of the delegates.
    • The number of delegates who signed the Constitution.
    • The names of prominent delegates who voted to ratify the Constitution and their reasons for doing so.
    • The names of prominent delegates who failed to vote to ratify the Constitution and their reasons for doing so.
    • Pictures and/or graphics to enhance your article.
    •  
  • 5. The Task (choose based on above)
    • Your public relations firm feels the best way to win support for the proposed Constitution is to inform the delegates, who do not support ratification, and the population in general.
    • Create four-page brochure/pamphlet (8.5” X 11” page folded landscape) in a desktop publishing or word processing program to gain support for ratification. Include the following:
    • An eye-catching cover.
    • Highlight the reasons for ratifying the Constitution on the next 2-3 pages (back cover optional). Include credits/supporting state names on back cover.
    • A minimum of three images (clip art, digital images, etc.) to emphasize points stressed by prominent delegates.
    • Font style and size to enhance your publication.
    • OR
    • Create a 60-second video commercial to be shown on national television. The commercial should highlight points of the proposed Constitution and influence the population to contact their delegates to ratify it.
    • OR
    • Create a web site to inform the public about the proposed Constitution and win support for ratification. The web site could be a vehicle for the public to express their sentiment for ratification, or to contact their delegates.
  • 6. Resources
    • Here are some sites to help you on your Quest:
    • The Constitution of the United States (The National Archives Experience)
    • Constitution of the United States Questions & Answers (The National Archives Experience)
    • Teaching With Documents: Observing Constitution Day (National Archives)
    • Documents from the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention (Library of Congress)
    • To Form a More Perfect Union – Introduction
    • Identifying Defects in the Confederation
    • Creating a Constitution
    • Teaching the Constitution
    • The Constitution Explained
    • The Constitution for Kids (grades 8-12)
    • The Constitution for Kids (grades 4-7)
    • The U.S. Constitution Online-FAQ
    • Constitutional FAQ - Find it Yourself
    • The U.S. Constitution Online
    • US Constitution - Table of Articles
    • Biographies of the Founding Fathers
    • The Signers of the Constitution of the United States
    • Fascinating Facts About The Constitution
    • The Constitutional Convention: A Simulation of Compromise
  • 7. The Process
    • Each participant is to receive a hard copy of the worksheet. To complete the assignment listed above, you will have to work within a group. Within the group, each person will have to take on one of the following roles:
    • The Producer : You are to keep the group focused and on task. Make sure the members understand the task and work to complete it.
    • The Director : You understand the need to collaborate and facilitate discussion and consensus.
    • The Editor : You understand the importance of higher level thinking. You understand that this project requires team members to analyze information and show some creative expression.
    • The F/X Specialist : You love to use the Internet, and technology in general. You love to download images and animations, use colors and backgrounds and know at least a little about a lot of software. You help determine the best vehicle or software to complete the project for presentation to the instructor and class.
  • 8. Conclusion
    • The delegates to the Constitutional Convention strongly believed they were acting in the best interests of the United States when they adopted the Constitution for ratification by the states. Having completed your Web Quest, and looking back at the past 200 years of our history, your group should answer the following (to be handed in after the last presentation):
    • Does your group feel the delegates were correct in adopting the Constitution? Why or why not? Give Examples.
    • Which items might the delegates better have addressed? Why?
    • Given the Internet, technological inventions and the “global village” do you feel the US Constitution stands the “test of time”?
  • 9. Evaluation
    • Your group project will be evaluated according to the following collaboration rubric. Evaluation also addresses:
    • Maintenance of an individual Learning Log/Journal.
    • Participation in the group process.
    • Group Preparation and Presentation of The Task.
    • Participation in the group process.
    • Ability to use critical thinking skills to organize and use information from a variety of sources; including electronic technology, and elaborate in verbal and written forms using appropriate technologies in completing The Task.
    • Written Conclusion.
    • Be sure to read the criteria before beginning your Quest!