Past Institutes

Teaching the U.S. Constitution

In the fall of 2016, Humanities Texas held four one-day teacher workshops throughout the state focusing on teaching the U.S. Constitution.


Topics addressed included the Articles of Confederation, compromises made in adopting the Constitution, the Federalist and Anti-Federalist debates on the Constitution's ratification, and the Bill of Rights.

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 Denver Brunsman (The George Washington University), Charles Flanagan (National Archives), Joseph Kobylka (Southern Methodist University), James Kirby Martin (University of Houston), Robert Olwell (The University of Texas at Austin), Thomas Pangle (The University of Texas at Austin), and Mary L. Volcansek (Texas Christian University).

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.

Locations and Schedules

Download the overview for each workshop.

San AntonioAugust 2San Antonio Public LibraryOverview
AustinAugust 3Byrne-Reed HouseOverview
Fort WorthOctober 26Fort Worth Museum of Science and HistoryOverview
DallasOctober 27Old Red Museum of Dallas County History and CultureOverview


The workshops were 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

“Teaching the U.S. Constitution“ workshop participants engage in discussion in San Antonio.

Charles Flanagan, outreach supervisor at the Center for Legislative Archives, shares tools on teaching the Bill of Rights in Austin.

Mary L. Volcansek, professor of political science at Texas Christian University, presents a speech on “Federalists v. Anti-Federalists: The Ratification Debates” in Fort Worth.