Past Institutes

Teaching the U.S. Constitution

In October 2014, Humanities Texas held six one-day teacher workshops throughout the state focusing on teaching the U.S. Constitution.


Topics addressed include the Articles of Confederation, the drafting and adoption of the Constitution, teaching the Bill of Rights, and significant constitutional issues in the nineteenth century.

The workshops offered Texas teachers the opportunity to preview Congress Creates the Bill of Rights, an educational resource developed by the National Archives in collaboration with Humanities Texas.

Over 250 teachers attended the workshops. The workshops emphasized close interaction with scholars, the examination of primary sources, and the development of effective pedagogical strategies and engaging assignments and activities. Content was aligned with the secondary social studies TEKS. Teachers received books and other instructional materials and were trained in the examination and interpretation of primary sources.


Workshop faculty included Elizabeth Alexander (Texas Wesleyan University), Michael Les Benedict (The Ohio State University), Steven Boyd (UTSA), Zachary Elkins (UT Austin), Charles Flanagan (National Archives and Records Administration), Joseph Kobylka (Southern Methodist University), and Thomas Pangle (UT Austin).

Program resources

Our November 2014 newsletter included a slideshow of images from the workshops.

Congress Creates the Bill of Rights consists of three elements: an eBook, a mobile app for tablets, and online resources for teachers and students. Each provides a distinct way of exploring how the First Congress proposed amendments to the Constitution in 1789.

Locations and schedules

The workshop overviews detail each program's schedule and participants.

Wichita FallsOctober 1Region 9 Educational Service CenterOverview
Fort WorthOctober 2Amon Carter Museum of American ArtOverview
DallasOctober 3Dallas Institute of Humanities and CultureOverview
EdinburgOctober 8Region 1 Educational Service CenterOverview
Corpus ChristiOctober 9Region 2 Educational Service CenterOverview
San AntonioOctober 10The Witte MuseumOverview


The workshop was made possible with major funding from the State of Texas, with ongoing support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional support was provided by the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation.

Questions about Teacher Institutes

Call 512.440.1991 or email

Elizabeth Alexander leads a primary source workshop in Fort Worth.
Steven Boyd, professor of history at The University of Texas at San Antonio, delivers a lecture on the Articles of Confederation in Edinburg.
Michael Les Benedict leads a primary source workshop in San Antonio.