Should the 1791 French Constitution Provide All Citizens With the Same Political Power?

Ages: 13-15
Suggested length: 2-3 class periods (45-55 minutes each)
Device accessibility: 1 device per student

Lesson Information

At a glance

In this lesson, students will expand a partly developed discussion on the topic of whether the French Constitution of 1791 should have given equal political power to all its citizens.

After adding claims to the discussion, students will be split up into groups. Each group will take the point of view of a different class or group of people (royalists, Jacobins, clergy, nobility, bourgeoisie, and peasants) during this time period. In their groups, students will then use the Perspectives feature to vote on the impactfulness of claims in the discussion, according to the point of view of their assigned group.

Students will be assessed on the quality of their contributions to the discussion and on their individual completion of a short-answer Exit Ticket. 

Learning objective(s)

In this lesson, students will:

  • Evaluate multiple perspectives on a historical event.
  • Analyze the effects of revolution on ideas of citizenship for different groups and classes in society.
  • Present fact-based opinions within a logically structured discussion.

Prior knowledge

Students should have knowledge of the causes and main events of the French Revolution. This includes familiarity with some of the main groups that were in support of and against the revolution, such as royalists, Jacobins (radicals), clergy, nobility, bourgeoisie, and peasants.

Teacher preparation

  • Make 1 clone of the discussion for each class.
  • Enable voting on the new clone(s).
    • In the provided Kialo discussion, there is a default discussion task for students to each add 3 claims. You can alter discussion task settings in your own clone and then use it as a template for any subsequent clones you wish to make.
  • When inviting students to their clones of the discussion, give them Writer permissions.

Provided materials

Lesson Plan

Suggested length: 2-3 class periods (45-55 minutes each)

Lesson components:
– Opener (5-10 minutes)
– Activity
– Part A: Expanding a Kialo discussion as a class (focus of 1 class period)
– Part B: Group voting on claims using Perspectives (focus of 1 class period)
– Part C: Discussion and assessment (15-20 minutes)
– Optional closer (5-10 minutes)

Students will be assessed on their contributions to expanding the Kialo discussion, as well as the individual completion of a short-answer Exit Ticket. (see suggested rubric in provided materials)

Opener (12 minutes)

  1. Spark student interest by asking the following questions:
    • How can many different groups of people come to a decision about something?
    • Is it better for groups to solely advance their own interests, or to try to compromise with others?
  2. Conduct a brief discussion around the students’ answers.


Part A: Expanding Kialo discussion as a class (focus of 1-2 class periods)

  1. Inform students that they will work as a class to expand a partly-developed Kialo discussion on the question, should the 1791 French Constitution provide all citizens with the same political power? 
  2. Go over the top claims (just below the blue thesis) that are already present in the discussion and field any questions from students. Have students explore the rest of the claims either individually or with a partner, and have them note down any questions they may have. Address any questions or comments as needed. 
  3. Direct students to expand the discussion by adding at least 3 claims each. Encourage students to add claims beyond the top 3 levels. Direct them to use the links provided in the Discussion Background, as well as in the discussion itself, to conduct research.

Tip: You may want to set a time limit for students to contribute to the discussion. Determine a time that is appropriate for your class, then go to the Discussion Settings, and navigate down to the “Start or Stop the Discussion” section to input the appropriate times.

  1. Direct students to complete the discussion for homework, if they did not do so in class.

Part B: Group voting on claims using various perspectives (focus of 1 class period)

  1. Ensure that there is a roughly even number of students in 6 groups. Inform them that each group will represent 1 of 6 groups that were prominent during the French Revolution and subsequent drafting of the 1791 Constitution: royalists, Jacobins (radicals), clergy, nobility, bourgeoisie, and peasants.
  2. In their groups, direct students to read the description of their group’s background in the provided Group Backgrounds Handout.
  3. In their groups, students should pick one representative to create a new Perspective. All students in the group will vote from this created Perspective. Direct students to follow the Student Instructions. 
  4. If you had set a time limit for students to write their claims, restart the discussion. Direct students to vote as a group from their newly created Perspective. Remind them to not vote with their personal opinion; rather, they should solely vote according to the point of view of their designated group. 

Part C: Discussion and Assessment (15-20 minutes)

  1. Once the groups have finished voting, share the results with the whole class. To do this:
    1. First, show an overview of how all groups voted by opening the topology diagram (click the button in the top-left corner of the discussion). When looking at the topology diagram, the darker-colored claims have a higher score, and as you hover over claims, the colored Impact Meter will show precisely how highly each one was voted. 
    2. To show how each individual group voted, go to the Discussion Menu (click the button in the top-left corner of the discussion), select “Perspectives,” and select the Perspective for a group. Then return to the topology diagram (click ) to examine how the corresponding group voted. Repeat for every group to compare which claims mattered more to which groups.
  2. Repeat for other claims that you would like to discuss with students, or ask students if there are any claims on which they would like to see how each group voted. Have a class discussion on the following questions:
    • Was there anything that surprised you about how each group voted on the thesis and top claims?
    • How did the groups decide on the score for each claim? 
    • Did any group members have different thoughts on how to vote compared to the rest of their group?
    • As groups got deeper into the discussion, did the claims get more or less impactful? 
  3. Have students individually complete the short answer questions before leaving class.

Optional closer (10 minutes) 

  1. Ask students, “What conclusions did you come to during your research? Which kind of car would you buy and why?” Facilitate a whole-class in which students can share their answers.

Related Kialo Discussion

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