It’s tricky to talk politics in such a heated climate. However, it’s also important.
We must make sure that all discussions come from a place of historical accuracy and understanding, now more than ever. A recent survey from The Annenberg Public Policy Center concluded that Americans are “poorly informed” about provisions in the Constitution, the foundation of our democracy. Constitutional crossword puzzles can correct such imbalances at an early age – or at any age – and prompt conversations about the issues facing our country today.
How The Constitution Works
Before any thorough debates can begin, students and others need to have a thorough understanding of how the Constitution works. Consider the two constitutional crossword puzzles below:
These puzzles are just two of the many constitutional crossword puzzles made on Crossword Hobbyist by people like you. Given the extensiveness of the Constitution, these ideas could be broken down into other elements as well.
For example, a constitutional crossword puzzle might focus on the branches of government and their duties. Take it a step further and make three different crossword puzzles – one for each branch. Clues might focus on the abilities of each branch or the names of those who currently serve or have served in each branch.
A constitutional crossword puzzle might also focus on the Bill of Rights or all 27 amendments to the Constitution. With such an important document, there are endless possibilities.
Around the Issues
Once students have an understanding of how the Constitution works, have them solve or make puzzles around specific political issues. These puzzles could focus on the history of certain topics, like how the various civil rights amendments came to pass.
Constitutional crosswords might also focus on the constitutionality of issues. This would pair well with a judicial branch crossword puzzle; clues could focus on why the Supreme Court deems various rulings constitutional or unconstitutional. Such a crossword could also lead to an activity like a mock trial.
A crossword puzzle might also focus on the modern talking points between issues, or on the pros and cons surrounding one issue. Have students make a crossword on an issue to teach them about bias, too. Direct them to make their clues as neutral as possible, then have the rest of the class solve puzzles to determine where bias did or did not come through.
Although political parties are not part of our Constitution (George Washington himself warned against them), a constitutional crossword puzzle could demonstrate why American political parties exist the way they do today.
A political party crossword puzzle could focus on what the different parties believe in, like the puzzle below. A puzzle like this can prompt a discussion about how these core beliefs lead to a party’s stance on certain issues.
Or they could focus on how the parties came to such beliefs, like in this puzzle.
And of course, you could combine the two ideas into one political party crossword puzzle.
Millions of people devote their careers to our intricate government. It can be difficult to make the information understandable and useful, especially for students. However, great government teachers like you understand that today’s students become tomorrow’s citizens. Informed citizens make informed voters. Information is how we become the kind of democracy our founding fathers envisioned.
Kristen Seikaly used her artistic background, research skills, and love for the internet to launch her first blog, Operaversity. Now she uses the skills to connect teachers, parents, and game enthusiasts with Crossword Hobbyist and My Word Search. She studied music at the University of Michigan, and now lives in Philadelphia.