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What does an 8th Grader know about the Constitution?

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Corrine Olson, Blueprint Staff

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One day, I was working on my Civics outline, when I heard my fifth-grade sister going over the key terms she’d need to know on her test. This wouldn’t have been a shock to me if it was Math, or English, which she usually studies for, but instead, she was reciting the definitions for ‘boycott’, and listing who the founding fathers were and what the First Continental Congress was about. Which was almost the exact same thing I was learning. So with this newfound knowledge, I went to my eighth-grade brother and asked him if he knew anything about Samuel Adams. He didn’t know, and I guess that’s how this article was born.

C: I will be asking you questions about the Constitution- do you know what the constitution is?

8th: The laws of the United States of America, right?

A: The supreme law of the United States of America

C: What three branches did the Founders split government up into?

8th: Judicial, legislative and the executive branch.

A: The Founders split our government into the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

C: What three parts is the Constitution split up into?

8th: The first part, the second part, and the third part

A: The Constitution consists of the preamble, the articles, and the amendments.

C: How many articles are in the Constitution?

8th: Five

A: There are seven articles in the Constitution.

C: What branch of government does the first article establish?

8th: Executive.

A: The first article establishes the legislative branch.

C: What branch of government does the second article establish?

8th: Executive- how am I supposed to know these?

A: The second article establishes the executive branch.

C: What branch of government does the third article establish?

8th: What? Executive.

C: What are the first 10 amendments called?

8th: The right to bear arms is in there, right?

A: The first ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights.

C: How many times has the Constitution been amended?

8th: 42 times.

A: The Constitution has been amended 27 times.

So after tallying up the points from this quick quiz, I’ve determined that 8th graders don’t know the Constitution from the Declaration of Independence (Ms. Munsch was right!) and for some reason, my brother really likes the executive branch. Civics is an important class- without it, young adults wouldn’t know how the government operates, what’s constitutional or what their rights are. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading!

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What does an 8th Grader know about the Constitution?