Bowman cautions teachers searching for Constitution Day materials

Kesha Williams
September 12, 2011

bowman-cautions-teachers

ECSU students will join millions of people across the country this week commemorating the drafting and signing of the U.S. Constitution. While Constitution Day is Sept. 17, the day is observed on Sept. 16.

Dr. Glen Bowman, a history professor and chairperson of ECSU's History and Political Science Department, said lessons related to the Constitution are not limited to one week at ECSU. Students enrolled in World Civilization I, World Civilization II and American National Government classes learn about the Constitution each semester. However, he suggests that teachers cautiously select instructional materials. After considering numerous materials, Bowman selected the film, "A Healthy Constitution (Founding Fathers: The Men Who Shaped Our Nation and Changed the World - Volume 4)" to kick start discussions in his classes. He said he favors the film because it is a good combination of documentary and film.

"There are lots of films regarding the Constitution that are politically motivated. It is difficult to find video materials that are well done, based on history, and not propaganda," Bowman said. "Some are ideologically based. This film helps students to become involved in an activity related to their class and the national observance."

Bowman also distributes to students a booklet, "The U.S. Constitution and Fascinating Facts About It." The publication takes students beyond the familiar portions of the Constitution they may have memorized in elementary or middle school. The booklet contains the all-important document, as well as unusual facts that may take many people by surprise.

"I don't think people remember how long the Constitution is. This document is a book, so much more than the Bill of Rights," he said. "People often think of the first 10 amendments when they think of the Constitution, but there is so much more," Bowman said.

"They might also be surprised to learn about the debate that took place (during the drafting.) Some of the same issues that are in the news today were issues then -- the debate about freedom of speech, press and assembly."

Looking for a few Constitution Day brain teasers that will challenge friends and family? Consider the following questions:

  • How many signatures appeared on the Constitution?
  • Who made the shortest inaugural address in history?
  • Which two Founding Fathers died on the same date?
  • Which Founding Father outlived the others?
  • Who was known as the "Father of National Debt?"
  • Whose books were used to begin the Library of Congress?

The answers appear in "The U.S. Constitution and Fascinating Facts About It."