September 16, 2011

Constitution Day 2011

We put three teens to the test to see how much they know about the Constitution.

Justin: Hey, guys! We came to the City of Brotherly Love to celebrate the creation of the U.S. Constitution. On September 17th, two hundred and twenty-four years ago, our forefathers signed the Constitution right here in Philadelphia.

The Constitution is still a huge part of the city, so much so that there is even a high school named after it! And we thought this would be a good a place as any to put students to the test.

Alright, guys. I am Justin Finch from Channel One News and we know you are Constitution High School, so we know you guys know the Constitution is the basis of our government executive, legislative and judicial banches, right? But do you guys know the numbers behind the Constitution? That is the question today.

I need three of you guys here to the board. I am going to put your number skills and Constitution skills to the test. You will duke it out for the title of Constitution Day king or queen. Who wants to go?

We have got one here. We have got two. Ladies, let’s go. One more young lady. Alright, here we go.

Alright, so I will hand you guys each a bell. I will ask you a question and if you have the answer, you will ring it. And I will call on you and we will see if you are right. You ready? Here we go. Here is your bell. Good luck!

Question number one: What does the number 1,787 mean for the Constitution?

A. The amount of words in the document

B. The amount of delegates present at the Constitutional Convention

C. The year the Constitution was created

D. The number of days it took to write the Constitution

Alright. What do you have?

Student: The time the Constitution was drafted.

Justin: The year it was created?

Student: Yes.

Justin: You are absolutely right. Now, the right answer is “C.”

1,787 is the year 1787, when fifty-five delegates from across the country met in secret in Philadelphia to create a framework for the new government, which they did in less than 100 days.

In research paper terms, that is a 17-page double-spaced paper. So, here in my hands is the Constitution if it were written by you guys.

Student: It’s really heavy. That’s crazy!

Justin: We are going to move on now to our next question. How many states were represented at the Constitutional Convention?

A. 13

B. 12

C. 50

D. 51


Student: Was it A, 13?

Justin: It is not A, 13.

Student: 12?

Justin: It is B, 12!

Although there were thirteen states at the time, only twelve sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Rhode Island sat the convention out because the small state was afraid of losing its state rights.

Alright here is a tough one: what was the result of The Great Compromise of the Constitutional Convention?

A. A two-house Congress

B. Three branches of the government

C. The Bill of Rights

D. Nine justices on the Supreme Court

Student: The Bill of Rights?

Student: Three branches of government.

Justin: That is…no.

Student: I don’t remember the question.

Student: Is it A?

Justin: It is A!

When the Constitution was being drafted, small states wanted all states to have the same number of representatives in the government, but more populous states thought they deserved to have more representatives. Roger Sherman, a delegate from Connecticut, saved the day when he proposed a two-house Congress, which is the structure we have today. In the senate, there are two representatives from each state. But in the House, the amount of state representatives is based on a state’s population.

Justin: Alright. Sound familiar? We got it, right?

So, right now, we are at a critical point in the game. We have you in the lead with two, you with one, and you have zero. But that is okay. This question could tip the game either way. Are you ready for your question?

Alright. What is the significance of the number 27 in the Constitution?

A. The amount of articles in the Constitution

B. The number of delegates that signed the Constitution

C. The amount of times the word democracy appears in the Constitution

D. The number of amendments to the Constitution

Student: Is it the number of delegates that signed the Constitution?

Justin: It is not.

Student: I’m going to try and guess. Is it D?

Justin: it is D!

Twenty-seven amendments or changes have been added to the Constitution since it was first written, even though more than 9,000 have been proposed. The first ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights, which protect individual freedoms, like freedom of speech. Other big amendments that made the cut are amendment thirteen which outlawed slavery and amendment nineteen, which granted women the right to vote in 1920.

So, it appears we have two here, one here, and one here. So, that means we do have a king of the Constitution. I have a prize for you!

Here you go! A shirt reserved for kings.

Student: Made from the finest silk. It’s like hugging a teddy bear. So soft. Feels good.

Justin: We have got a crown right in the middle just for you.

Student: You can’t get one of these. It’s exclusive, just for me.

Justin: As the winner, you won a shirt. And that is great but why is it important to know about the Constitution?

Student: A wise man once said, ‘In order to move in the future, you must know about the past.’ So, that’s why you must learn up on the Constitution so we can build up a better America for tomorrow.

Justin: What is your advice to people who are watching you right now and may want to contest you for the title of Constitution King?

Student: You got to study that Constitution pretty hard. And if you want some, come get some. I’m in Philly!


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