Matters of Education

Learning Happens Everywhere

Amending the Constitution: What Really Changes

Length of Time:   60-90 minutes


What are the paths to political change? What choices are available and why have certain options been chosen for different causes? In this lesson to supplement a standard US History survey course, explore those instances when a Constitutional Amendment has been the method of choice. Often unwieldy, it was perceived as the most effective means available, in the case of two long standing goals: Votes for Women and the Prohibition of Alcohol. More importantly, did it accomplish changes intended??

Essential Questions

How effective a process is the Constitutional Amendment at generating the intended goals of change?

Common Core Standards

English and Language Arts, Grades 11 and 12 — Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

RI.11-12.8. Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses)

RI.11-12.9. Analyze seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century foundational U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.

English/Language Arts, History/Social Studies, Grades 9-12 — Key Ideas and Details

RH.9-10-11-12.2. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
RH.9-12.7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

Content Standards


US History 1:
The Revolution through Reconstruction, 1763-1877
The Formation and Framework of American Democracy
Political Democratization, 1800-1860
Civil War and Reconstruction

US History 2:
Reconstruction to the Present, 1877-Present
The Age of Reform, 1900-1940
American Government Elective