Past Institutes

Teaching the U.S. Constitution

In October 2015, Humanities Texas held four 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.

Over 150 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 (The University of Texas at San Antonio), Charles Flanagan (National Archives and Records Administration), Joseph Kobylka (Southern Methodist University), and Thomas Pangle (The University of Texas at Austin).

Program Resources

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

Our October e-newsletter included a slideshow of images from the workshop.

Locations and Schedules

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

MidlandOctober 6Permian Basin Petroleum MuseumOverview
HoustonOctober 7Museum of Fine Arts, HoustonOverview
LufkinOctober 8Museum of East TexasOverview
AustinOctober 9Byrne-Reed HouseOverview


The workshop was made possible with major funding from the State of Texas, with ongoing support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Questions about Teacher Institutes

Call 512.440.1991 or email

Joseph Kobylka of Southern Methodist University and a group of teachers discuss the Federalist Papers during an afternoon seminar at the Houston workshop.

Charles Flanagan, director of educational programs at the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives, suggests strategies for teaching the Bill of Rights during the Houston workshop.