This curriculum guide from the Reagan Presidential Library and Museum offers several educational activities that can be used to support classroom teaching of different types of governments, investigating historical documents, and comparing Magna Carta to the Declaration of Independence. http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/education/For%20Educators/Museum%20Based%20Curriculum%20Guides/MagnaCartaCurriculumGuide.pdf
Grade Level: Elementary and Middle School
Magna Carta: Cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution
This lesson plan from EDSITEment asks students to think about how Magna Carta provided justification for American independence from Great Britain and to what extent the principles of the Great Charter are expressed in the U.S. Constitution.
In Defense of Liberty: The Magna Carta in the American Revolution.
This lesson asks students to examine an image of a 1775 Massachusetts thirty-shilling note from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History collections. Students will discover the reason Paul Revere featured Magna Carta (1215) on the currency he designed, and the symbolic importance the document had for American colonists fights for their “just rights and liberties” as Englishmen. http://americanhistory.si.edu/magnacarta
Length: 1 class period
Teaching about human rights and democracy – Magna Carta as a reference point
This workshop report from the National Education Association, the National Union of Teachers and Lincoln Cathedral provides a starting point for thinking about how Magna Carta has impacted human rights and democracy. It includes background articles, focus questions, FAQ on Magna Carta, and classroom investigations and cross-curricular generalizations for using Magna Carta to teach about human rights. http://www.teachers.org.uk/files/Magna%20Carta%20Report%20(5579).pdf
Grade Level: Middle & High School
The National Archives Education Service: Magna Carta
The UK National Archives has compiled original documents to help introduce students to the history of Magna Carta. This is offered as a virtual classroom activity in the UK, however teachers outside of the UK will still find the materials in the preparation pack useful. Students can form their own conclusions about the lasting impact of Magna Carta in medieval England by using and interpreting evidence from a range of sources. These include a 1225 version of Magna Carta, a peace treaty, letters patent and a list of charges against the king. http://nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/education/magna-carta-preparation-pack.pdf
Grade Level: High School
Websites and Videos
Bell Ringer: 1297 Magna Carta
This video from C-Span Classroom includes a brief history and discussion about Magna Carta at the unveiling of an original copy on public display at the National Archives in Washington, DC. (4 mins). Vocabulary terms and discussion questions are provided for the classroom.
This website catalogs public representations of Magna Carta through multimedia resources such as images, video interviews with scholars and curators, and short essays to interpret the featured images and places. It invites visitors to propose their own ideas for imagined commemorative art and memorials that recognize Magna Carta’s contributions to our law, culture, and governance.
Magna Carta 800th
This website focuses on the commemoration activities surrounding the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.
This website is an investigation into Magna Carta 1215 and Magna Carta 1225. It features text, translations and expert commentary along with itineraries and original charters of King John of England. http://magnacarta.cmp.uea.ac.uk/