Role of Virginians in the Founding of the New Nation

Lesson 2: James Madison: Introduction to Father of the Constitution

Time Estimated: 1 days



Students will:

  1. Review primary sources. Examine a painting of James Madison.
  2. Draw conclusions about the need for rules both in school and in a country.
  3. Make connections between the need for school rules and the need of the new U.S. to establish rules and laws.







  1. Hook: Tell students they will be using a primary source to help them begin thinking about the lesson. Show a picture of James Madison. There will be a display on the bulletin board and the teacher will use this website to display to display the picture on the Smart Board. Review primary sources. Tell students James Madison is called the Father of the Constitution and they will be discovering why is has been given that title.
  2. Write the word constitution on the board. Tell students a constitution is a set of rules and laws that tell how a government is organized and run. Either have a group discussion or have cooperative teams discuss and report out on the following questions.
    • Why are rules created?
    • What rules were established for the school and classroom at the beginning of the year?
    • What was the process for establishing those rules?
    • Why do we have these rules? If a new country is being formed, what are some of the problems that could happen if there were no rules for people to follow?
  3. After the discussion is completed have students draw conclusions about the need for rules: safety, protection, and order. Make the connection between the need for school and classroom rules and that of a country.
  4. Review that a constitution is a plan for government that outlines how the government is organized and the responsibilities and rights of its citizens. Show them the Preamble. Read and discuss its meaning.
  5. Use the Pairs Check strategy to have students complete a graphic organizer for the word constitution. First they work with a partner to complete the task, and then they check their work with another pair and come to a consensus.
  6. Wrap-Up: Conclude this part of the lesson by having students write a summary about what a constitution is and why it is important.




This lesson will use visuals, graphic organizers, and cooperative groupings to address different learning skills and student abilities.