Connect2Texas

National Archives

Democracy Starts Here: What's in the National Archives?

Visit the National Archives without leaving your school or home! We offer free distance learning opportunities for students and educators.


The National Archives at Fort Worth is a center for historical and genealogical research. Our historical records date from the 1800s to the late 1900s, and include letters, photographs, maps, architectural drawings, and other documents received from over 100 Federal agencies and courts in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. Our interactive distance learning programs feature primary sources from our holdings and align with national social studies standards. Teacher guides include pre- and post-program lessons.


Programs are available Tuesday–Thursday and must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance. We can accommodate up to three programs a day, over two days, per school. Due to demand, we cannot accommodate individual program requests for more than three sessions. However, we can connect with multiple classes during each program session and will work with you to develop an optimal program schedule.


Any program may be requested at your preferred date/time by contacting distancelearning@nara.gov at (817)542-2456.


To see our scheduled programs go to Connect2Texas and select National Archives from the program filter.

Know Your Rights!

Grades: 9-12

Cost: FREE

Length: 45 minutes


Guiding Question:

How can understanding the Bill of Rights empower civic engagement?


Students will examine three historical case studies in preparation for a roundtable discussion with a facilitator from the National Archives. Each case study will serve as an example of how the government has made decisions that violated the Bill of Rights and how everyday citizens took action to hold the government accountable and retain their rights. The topics of the three case studies are the Gag Rule, Japanese Internment, and Gideon v. Wainwright. During the roundtable discussion, students will use their case studies to answer questions such as “is it ever okay for the government to overstep the Bill of Rights?” and “how can a piece of parchment safeguard individual rights?”

Our Classroom Bill of Rights!

Grades: K-2

Cost: FREE

Length: 30-45 minutes


Guiding Question:
What are rights and why are they important?


Students will be introduced to the concept of rights, discuss why rights are important, and learn about the Bill of Rights with the help of Sammy the American Bald Eagle puppet. As a class, students will create their own classroom Bill of Rights.

Superhero Bill of Rights!

Grades: 3-5

Cost: FREE

Length: 45 minutes


Guiding Question:
What are rights and what would the world look like without them?


During this interactive distance learning program, students will focus on the rights extended to citizens by the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Students will act out two short scenes and ponder what the country would look like if we did not have these rights and discuss how the Bill of Rights is like a Superhero. The Bill of Rights, like a Superhero, saves the day by extending rights to people. During the program different primary sources illustrating the First Amendment will be displayed. Students will be asked to identify which right is illustrated in each image by holding up signs representing each of the five freedoms of the First Amendment.

The Bill of Rights in Real Life

Grades: 6-8

Cost: FREE

Length: 45-60 minutes


Guiding Question:
Why should we care about the Bill of Rights?


During this interactive program, students will focus on the rights and limitations within the Bill of Rights and discuss why they, as middle school students, should care about the Bill of Rights. Students will examine historical documents from the holdings of the National Archives. Using red and green signs, they will indicate if they see an example of the Bill of Rights in action or in trouble. Students will practice primary source analysis skills as they decide which of the first ten amendments connects to the image or document on display. Historical examples highlighted in this program include the 1958 Youth March for Integrated Schools, the 1950s Senate investigation into comic books as a cause of juvenile delinquency, how new technology and the ruling of Katz v. the United States expanded our understanding of the Fourth Amendment, and Japanese internment during World War II.

The Constitution at Work: Elementary Edition

Grades: 4-5

Cost: FREE

Length: 45 minutes


Guiding Question:
How is the U.S. Constitution relevant to the daily lives of American citizens?


What does the board game “Monopoly” have to do with the U.S. Constitution? How about the letter you wrote to the president when you were in elementary school? The answer to both questions is: plenty—if you know your Constitution. This program provides a unique opportunity to learn, via analysis of primary source documents, about the content, impact, and perpetual relevance of the U. S. Constitution to the daily lives of American citizens.

The Constitution at Work: Middle School Edition

Grades: 6-8

Cost: FREE

Length: 45 minutes


Guiding Questions:
How does the Constitution create a strong central government?
How does the Constitution separate and share power?


During this program, students will review some of the problems created by the Articles of Confederation and how these issues led to the creation of the United States Constitution and a new central government. Prior to the program, students will be divided into groups to analyze primary sources that show historical examples of the Constitution at work. During the video conference, students will use these documents to determine how the Constitution creates a stronger central government compared to the Articles of Confederation. They will also discover how it shares and separates powers between the three branches of government and between the federal government and state governments.

Content Disclaimer
The views and opinions expressed are those of the contributing members of Connect2Texas and do not necessarily represent the views of the Education Service Center Region 11. While some content is deemed appropriate for various curriculum standards used by viewers nationwide, most content providers make an effort to tie their content to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).