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High school students learn about history and the justice system on Constitution Day

High school students learn about history and the justice system on Constitution Day

Osseo Area Schools recognizes Constitution Day each year on Sept. 17 to celebrate the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become citizens. Across the district, students have been learning about the Constitution in their classes. 

At Maple Grove Senior High School, Mary Van Laarhoven’s 10th grade U.S. History class participated in a lesson on how the Iroquois Confederacy's form of government was the basis for the U.S. Constitution. The Iroquois Confederacy are a group of Native Americans, originally consisting of five separate nations, who were settled in America before the colonies were developed. Students read the article “Franklin and Iroquois Foundations of the Constitution” by Cynthia and Susan Feathers and worked with classmates to identify what surprised them, what they already knew and what they were learning for the first time. The students also looked at similarities between the Iroquois Confederacy’s Great Law of Peace and the U.S. Constitution. 

The students then came together as a class to discuss why it was important to learn this information while studying the Constitution. They expressed their surprise about how Benjamin Franklin proposed replicating the Iroquois government but did not give them any credit. 

“In history, you must remember to give credit where credit is due,” Van Laarhoven said to her students. 

In Crime and Justice, an elective class at Osseo Senior High School taught by Megan Thompson, students received “I will vote” red stickers to celebrate Constitution Day. The students spent the class period learning about the Fourth Amendment, which ​​protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. 

The students paired up and went over various situations, deciding when police need warrants to search people. They talked through various exceptions and decided whether any of those exceptions fit these situations. 

The pairs then used pictures of umbrellas to show how much coverage or protection the Fourth Amendment gives people in these situations. The small umbrella represented no to little coverage, with the big beach umbrella representing large coverage. They then compared their answers with their classmates. Some of the situations were unanimous decisions, while others had students in disagreement.