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exploring the
Constitutional Convention
an iAdventure for 8th grade Social Studies

Teacher Information Page

Grade Level
•    designed for Missouri 8th graders
•    can be used in any class studying the compromises of the Constitution

Time Needed
•    Three 45-60 minute sessions for working through the research guides and decision making
•    One 60-90 minute session for final project completion

Resources Needed
•    1 Internet connected computer per group – ideal group size is 2-4 students
•    Word processing software and printer access or copies of the research and scoring guides for students
•    Writing implements to complete the research guides if working offline

Content Summary
The purpose of this iAdventure is to teach students about the compromises that had to be made by the framers of the Constitution with regard to creating the branches of government, and the issues and debates that contributed to those compromises. Through the completion of this iAdventure, students will have the opportunity to look at differing sides of the debates and make their own decisions about those debates. They will complete the iAdventure by creating their own constitutional articles regarding the executive and legislative branches and then compare their decisions to those of the actual Constitution.

What is an iAdventure? (from the iAdventure Page)
       An iAdventure is a problem solving activity in which students determine the direction and outcome of a content-rich storyline, using resources available on the Internet, particularly resources providing real-world data and primary documents. The activity is designed to help students discover how the characters could use access to unlimited data and information (the Internet) to solve problems and make choices.
       As students work their way through the story, they are faced with a series of dilemmas, in which choices must be made. At these points, the teacher has provided links to Internet sites with real-world data, "primary" documents, and other valuable web resources. Students visit these sites, collect data, read various documents, view video and images, and interact with the activities. After analyzing the information, they make an informed decision about the next course of action for their character. The outcome of the iAdventure is open-ended, often a complex product created by the students themselves. Every student product should be different, based upon the knowledge and interests of the students, and upon the choices they have made during the iAdventure.

Topics teachers should be familiar with before using this iAdventure
•    The United States Constitution                            •    Constitutional Convention                             •    Virginia Plan
•    New Jersey Plan                                                    •    Connecticut “Great” Compromise                •    The Senate
•    The House of Representatives                            •    Electoral College                                            •    The Presidency
Background Information
        The main character of this story is Oliver Ellsworth, Connecticut delegate to the Constitutional Convention. As a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, he was in the right place to have opinions on the issues but he left before it was signed. He is known to have supported the Constitution’s ratification and he was a proponent for compromise, meaning he looked at both sides of the issue and tried to do what was best for everyone, which is the ultimate goal for the students in this iAdventure.
        The students will be told they are being sucked back through time and space to the Constitutional Convention and will be occupying the body and mind of the main character. They will be informed that the decision has already been made to have 3 branches of government (1 leader, representative law makers, and judges appointed by the executor and approved by the legislators) but it has come time to decide how to choose the members of the executive and legislative branches.
        Students will be “pulled out” of Ellsworth’s body as he is leaving the convention before the final document is signed. This way they will be “unable to see” the actual document and have to make their own decisions for the final product of this iAdventure. Their own version of the Constitution with their ideas for compromises and/or decisions included and a separate document supporting/justifying those decisions will be the final product.

Teacher Page
(you are here)
Main iAdventure Page
Clements' Classroom
(creator's website)
Opening Story Page
Executive Elections
(Guide 1)
People choose the leader.
(Page 2A)
Representatives choose the leader.
(Page 2B)
Legislative Elections
(Guide 2)
Equal representation.
(Page 3A)
Based on population.
(Page 3B)
Equal representation.
(Page 3C)
Based on population.
(Page 3D)
Making Final Decisions
(Guide 3)
Scoring Guide
Conclusion Page
US Constitution
(US Archives)

Assessment and Scoring Guide
In this iAdventure, students will create their own version of the articles of the Constitution that deal with the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. They will include their ideas for compromises and/or decisions on a separate document supporting/justifying those decisions. It is better if the students have not read the actual articles of the Constitution dealing with these areas in order to allow them to make honest decisions based on their own opinions and reasoning. Text from the Conclusion Page includes:
Now that you know how your leadership will be selected, it’s time to put your decisions in writing just as the Founding Fathers did when they wrote the Constitution. Your team will work together to create the first two articles of your own Constitution. The first article will outline how the executive branch leader is selected and the requirements for holding that office. The second article will outline how the legislative branch representatives are selected and the requirements for holding those offices. On a separate sheet of paper, you will explain the reasoning behind your decisions, including resources that may have influenced your choices. Your documents will be evaluated using the iAdventure Scoring Guide.

I would especially like to thank Stan Smith for the iAdventure concept and instruction on its creation. The concept was developed in the Warrensburg, Missouri school district as part of the "Learning with iAdventures" program funded by a Competitive Technology grant from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. For more information on iAdventures, visit the iAdventure Home Page.
The following resources were instrumental in the development of this iAdventure:
US Constitution itself Art and Photographs
Background Story Information

Shapers of the great debate at the Constitutional Convention of 1787: a Biographical Dictionary
By Joseph C. Morton

The Constitutional Convention of 1787: a Comprehensive Encyclopedia of America’s Founding, Volume 2
By John R. Vile

The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution
By David O. Stewart

Resources for Questionnaires

Missouri Grade 8 Social Studies Grade Level Expectancies Addressed (A full list of Missouri Grade Level Expectancies is available at the DESE website)
I.    Strand 1 - Principles of Constitutional Democracy
    1.    Knowledge of the principles expressed in documents shaping constitutional democracy in the United States
        A.    Principles of constitutional democracy in the United States
            a.    Analyze important principles in the Declaration of Independence, including inalienable rights and government by consent of the governed
            b.    Analyze important principles in the Constitution including:
                1.    limited government
                3.    majority rule and minority rights
                4.    separation of powers
                5.    checks and balances
                7.    Federalism
            c.    Apply important principles of the Bill of Rights, such as:
                1.    basic rights and freedoms
                2.    protections against the government
        B.    Role of citizens and governments in carrying out constitutional principles
            a.    Apply knowledge of responsibilities that governments and citizens need to accept in order to carry out the principles in the Bill of Rights
II.    Strand 2 - Principles and Processes of Governance Systems
    2.    Knowledge of principles and processes of governance systems
        C.    Processes of governmental systems
            c.    Explain how leaders are selected
            d.    Explain how power is distributed among individuals and branches of government
            e.    Describe how to participate in government
            g.    Analyze decision-making and conflict resolution in courts at local, state and national levels
III.    Strand 3 - Missouri, United States and World History
    3.    Knowledge of continuity and change in the history of Missouri and the United States
        E.    Political Developments in the U.S.
            a.    Justify the drafting of the Constitution and its effects on the formation of the new nation
VII.    Strand 7 - Tools of Social Science Inquiry
    6.    Knowledge of relationships of the individual and groups to institutions and cultural traditions
        G.    Effect of laws and events on relationships
            a.    Describe how laws and events affect members of groups and relationships among groups
        H.    Effect of personal and group experiences on perceptions
            a.    Assess how personal and group experiences influence people’s perceptions and judgments of events

Missouri State Standards Addressed (A full list of Missouri State Standards is available in PDF format)
Social Studies - In Social Studies, students in Missouri public schools will acquire a solid foundation which includes knowledge of
    1. Principles expressed in the documents shaping constitutional democracy in the United States
    2. Continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world
    3. Principles and processes of governance systems
GOAL 1 - Students in Missouri public schools will acquire the knowledge and skills to gather, analyze and apply information and ideas. Students will demonstrate within and integrate across all content areas the ability to
    2. Conduct research to answer questions and evaluate information and ideas
    4. Use technological tools and other resources to locate, select and organize information
    5. Comprehend and evaluate written, visual and oral presentations and works
    8. Organize data, information and ideas into useful forms (including charts, graphs, outlines) for analysis or presentation
GOAL 2 - Students in Missouri public schools will acquire the knowledge and skills to communicate effectively within and beyond the classroom. Students will demonstrate within and integrate across all content areas the ability to
    1. Plan and make written, oral and visual presentations for a variety of purposes and audiences
    2. Review and revise communications to improve accuracy and clarity
    3. Exchange information, questions and ideas while recognizing the perspectives of others
    7. Use technological tools to exchange information and ideas
GOAL 3 - Students in Missouri public schools will acquire the knowledge and skills to recognize and solve problems. Students will demonstrate within and integrate across all content areas the ability to
    2. Develop and apply strategies based on ways others have prevented or solved problems
    4. Evaluate the processes used in recognizing and solving problems
    5. Reason inductively from a set of specific facts and deductively from general premises
    6. Examine problems and proposed solutions from multiple perspectives
GOAL 4 - Students in Missouri public schools will acquire the knowledge and skills to make decisions and act as responsible members of society. Students will demonstrate within and integrate across all content areas the ability to
    1. Explain reasoning and identify information used to support decisions
    3. Analyze the duties and responsibilities of individuals in societies
    4. Recognize and practice honesty and integrity in academic work and in the workplace
    6. Identify tasks that require a coordinated effort and work with others to complete those tasks

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