Self-government evolves

Lesson Plan


Grade Level

Middle School

Author Info


Type of Lesson


Type of Project (Individual/Group/Both)



60-90 minutes

Challenge Question

How did ideas of self-government change over time? Create a visual timeline to connect documents that preceded and led to the writing of the U.S. Constitution.


  1. Contextualize: Review each primary source that is saved as “challenge resources.” Before attempting the challenge, complete the table on the handout provided. Be sure to review each document for the following information:
    • Why was this document written? (hint: purpose, audience)
    • Who wrote this document?
    • Where was this document written?
    • When was this document written, signed, or ratified?
    • What do you think is the significance or impact of this document for the U.S. Constitution? (hint: skim the document to look for at least one quote that you can use to make a connection to the Constitution)