Constitution Day: Lunch with James Madison

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This twenty-six minute film features seven high school and middle school aged students sharing lunch and discussing the Constitution with President James Madison. YLI went back to fall of 1814- just after the end of the War of 1812 to question the fourth president about constitutional challenges that faced his presidency. Lunch consisted of period dishes that would have been served at Montpelier, home of the Madisons. While sipping water and eating ham and apple cake the students brought up topics such as:

  • Challenges to executive power during times of war
  • Political faction and its influence on the Constitution
  • Madison's changing views on the need for the Bill of Rights

An accompanying graphic organizer located in the table below will help students make the most of the dialogue. Additional lesson plans on the YLI website support this activity including a three act play on the Constitution entitled, The Plan, a Constitution Board Game entitled, Constitutional Compromise, and several lessons on the Bill of Rights.

Lesson tags: 
Gifted/Talented Lesson
Advanced Placement (AP)
Creative Commons License: 
Attribution Non-commercial ShareAlike CC (BY-NC-SA)