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        Minnesota | Activity 11.3: The Protections of Minnesota’s Constitution

        Students read excerpts from the Minnesota Constitution and learn about how it came to be ratified and revised. Students learn how Minnesota’s Constitution outlines the state’s government and protects the rights of its citizens.

        Lesson Summary

        Students read excerpts from the Minnesota Constitution and learn about how it came to be ratified and revised. Students learn how Minnesota’s Constitution outlines the state’s government and protects the rights of its citizens.

        This lesson is part of "Great States: Minnesota | Unit 11: Post-Cold War and Minnesota" which enables students to describe economic and social changes that took place in Minnesota during and after the Cold War era. Students also learn about some concerns of modern-day Minnesota.

        Time Allotment

        30 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standards: 

        6.1.4.6.3: Identify the purpose of Minnesota's Constitution; explain how the Minnesota Constitution organizes government and protects rights.

        Supplies

        Directions

        1. Explain to students that each state in the country has a constitution that establishes the basic structure and purpose of its government. Minnesota’s constitution was adopted on October 13, 1857. The purpose of the document is to set up the state’s governance structure and outline the guaranteed rights and protections of the people.

        2. Distribute the Minnesota Constitution Excerpts handout to students. Read the Article I excerpts. Pause and explain any tough language as needed. Ask:

          1. What protections are outlined in Minnesota’s Bill of Rights?

          2. What do you think “Liberty of the Press” means?

        3. Read Article III and ask:

          1. How is Minnesota’s government set up?

        4. Explain that as time goes on and people change, sometimes constitutions are amended or revised to meet the needs of the people. Minnesota’s constitution was revised on November 5, 1974, and has been amended several times since. The most recent amendment was added in 2008, which added a section about tax increases to benefit the outdoors, the arts, and the cultural heritage(s) of Minnesota citizens.

        5. Read through Article 11 (XI), Section 15 for your students. Have them circle or underline words and phrases that they think benefit people’s lives. Ask them for examples of what they circled. [Examples can include: benefit of Minnesotans, restore, protect, clean water, arts education, etc.]

        6. Create a classroom constitution with your students. Have students take turns offering rights, protections, and structure ideas. Write some on the board and review the ideas together.

        Answer Key

          1. No slavery, freedom of press and religion, protections in court proceedings and of private property, and more.
          2. Answers will vary. Sample: It’s similar to freedom of speech. The government cannot control what the press prints.
          1. The government is divided into executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

         

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