Amendments to the Constitution for Kids and Teachers Illustration

Constitutional Amendments
For Kids

For Kids

Constitutional amendments are laws - big laws that make big changes. Amendments are laws that are added to the Constitution of the United States. The writers of the Constitution did not want to make adding an amendment impossible, just very tough. They understood that things change over time, and they wanted the Constitution to be able to carefully change as well, if enough people agreed a change was needed. To do this, they wrote how to add an amendment to the Constitution right into the Constitution, so there would be no confusion about what it would take to add or to take away any right or rights of the states or people of the United States of America.

Over 11,000 amendments have been introduced in Congress since the Constitution was first drafted. Out of the 11,000+ proposals, only 27 amendments have been approved, and the first 10 of those are called the Bill of Rights - the 10 amendments that were added to the Constitution before the states would ratify (agree to) the Constitution. Adding an amendment to the Constitution is a very big deal.

So what does it take to add an amendment? The answer is a great deal of time and discussion and a whole lot of people agreeing that this is something which simply must be done. In brief - 2/3 of the Senate and Congress must approve the amendment; then it is sent to the states to ratify, and 3/4 of the states must agree to approve it before it can be added to the Constitution. So far, not counting the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments), only 17 additional amendments have made it successfully through this process.

List of Amendments - the 27 that passed, the 2 that failed & 4 pending, plus another way an amendment can be added to the Constitution

The Bill of Rights for Kids

The 13th Amendment - No more slavery

The 14th Amendment - No more Black Codes, right of citizenship

The 15th Amendment - The right of African American men to vote

The 18th and 21st Amendments - Prohibition and Repeal of Prohibition

Amendment Games & Activities for Kids

Take the Quiz, interactive (with answers)

For Teachers

Free Presentations in PowerPoint format about the Amendments

Lesson Idea:

Write an amendment to the Constitution about which you feel strongly today. Use the language of the existing Constitution.

Amendments 1-27 - list (amendments that passed)

Bill of Rights - the first 10 amendments

14th Amendment UNIT (6th)

19th Amendment - Woman's Suffrage

Women's Rights in the 1800's (lesson plans)

What about my 40 acres and a mule?

Students' Rights (Role Play)

Constitutional Community (35 lesson plans)

Which 13th amendment?

See Also: Overviews

 Gov Index


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