Much like Flag Day or Columbus Day, Constitution Day is a observance of an important part of history - the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.
This year, a short film narrated by Morgan Freeman and Kenny Rogers is premiering in Washington, D.C., as part of the Constitution Day festivities. The film was produced in Kansas City, and the curriculum development has local ties.
Mary McMurray, director of the White House Decision Center at the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, is a member of the team who helped to develop the curriculum, which is geared toward students in fourth through 12th grades. The idea of this curriculum is to help students examine the question, “What part of we are you?”
“We live in a democracy, and each and every one of us owns a part of the government,” McMurray said. “The only way we can be involved in the government is to learn and participate.”
“We the People: Three Words that Changed the World,” is an IMAX film that focuses on the 200 year history of the United States starting with the events leading up to the signing of the Constitution. Partnering with the National Archives and Kansas State University, the producer and director of the film Aimee Larrabee provides a non-partisan view of the founding of the United States. The free classroom materials and lessons are meant to work in conjunction with the film. Constitution Day is officially celebrated on Sept. 17.
Each year, through a percentage of ticket sales from the film and from sponsors of the film, the educational program will be renewed with a new academic team to design the next round of lesson plans.
Constitution Day was officially created in 2004. Prior to that time, it was known as Citizenship Day. All schools receiving federal funding are required to include some type of educational lessons focusing on the U.S. Constitution.
“The film is a beautiful 40 minute invitation to explore further the founding of our government,” McMurray said. “This is an opportunity for everyone to engage more in learning about government and civics.”
For more information on those involved with the film, a trailer and information on the educational platform please visit the website www.wethepeoplemovie.com.