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Jessica Castronovo March 27, 2012 Lesson Plan US Government

Picturing the US Government


Rational The purpose of this lesson is to provide students with an opportunity to review the meaning of the terms: Popular Sovereignty, Limited Government, Direct Democracy, Representative Democracy, and Federal System. Standard 6.1.4. A.6 - Explain how national and state governments share power in the federal system of government. 6.1.4.A.7 - Explain how the United States functions as a representative democracy, and describe the roles of elected representatives and how they interact with citizens at local, state, and national levels. Objective Students will be able to create illustrations that help them visualize the meaning of the terms Popular Sovereignty, Limited Government, Direct Democracy, Representative Democracy, and Federal System Students will be able to share their projects with the class and practice their speaking skills. Students will be able to define the terms Popular Sovereignty, Limited Government, Direct Democracy, Representative Democracy, and Federal System.

Procedure Anticipatory Set Call students over to the carpet Reintroduce the following terms: 1. Popular Sovereignty 2. Limited Government 3. Direct Democracy 4. Representative Democracy 5. Federal System (It is assumed that students are somewhat familiar with these terms) Tell the class that they will be working in groups to create a ways for them to remember the meaning of each term. o Each group will work with one particular term and will visualize it by creating a drawing that helps explain the terms meaning. Mentor Before the teacher selects groups/hand out prompts, teacher should provide students with an example that has been completed prior to the lesson. Read the following prompt about the three branches of government aloud :

SEPARATION OF POWERS
This principle of the U.S. Constitution divides powers into three separate groups or branches of government. The reason the Founding Fathers chose this was because they wanted to ensure that no one person or group of people had too much power. The U.S. Constitution divides power into the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch. Each branch has its own unique responsibilities and powers, including powers over the other branches.

Teacher shows her drawing to the class, as an example.

Guided Practice Briefly brainstorm other possible drawings that could have been created to illustrate the idea of how the three branches work together. Independent Application Tell students that they will be doing the same thing in their groups. Ask them to take a few minutes to brainstorm ideas of what they can draw to illustrate the definition of their term. Next, they should begin working together to draw. Their term should be written on the top or bottom of their paper. Ask a student to repeat the given directions back to check for understanding. Split students into heterogeneous groups that have been preselected by the teacher. Allow students time to work. Closure Have students present and explain their illustrations to classmates. Ask students who are listening to their peers to write down the definition of the presenters terms in their own words. Materials Document Camera Large construction paper Drawing/coloring instruments Five prompts (one per group) Assessment Were students able to explain the definition of their term both visually and orally? Were students able to explain others terms in their own words?

POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY
The United States constitution begins with the words, We the People That is because our Founding Fathers believed in the idea of popular sovereignty. In other words, they believed that power begins with the people. Popular sovereignty is the idea that the average citizen can be trusted to make important decisions that affect his or her life and the lives of other Americans. Throughout American history, more and more citizens were given this same right. The thought that regular people can change their country for the better is an exciting idea in human history!

FEDERAL SYSTEM
The Founders Fathers decided that America needed a government that gave power to both the national government and state government. This is called the federal system. When the Founding Fathers wrote the U.S. Constitution, one of their challenges was creating a strong national government, which at the same time respected the rights of the state governments. How did they ensure that one was not more powerful than the other? The Constitution states that the national government has specific powers such as coining money or defending the country. At the same time, the state governments also have powers that only they take care of, such as creating schools. Finally, there are powers that they share such as the power to tax.

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY REPUBLIC


The Founding Fathers of the Constitution agreed on the idea that citizens should be able to elect their leaders. In a republic, people vote for what or whom they think will be best for the general public. To help you remember what republic means, take the first 3 letters of the word, R-E-P, and use it to remind yourself of the word REPRESENTATIVE. Voters choose representatives to exercise the power that they give to them. Voters trust the people they elect to make decisions for the general good of all.

LIMITED GOVERNMENT
When the Founding Fathers wrote the U.S. Constitution, they wanted to make sure that that the governments powers were limited. They believed this was important, because they did not want government leaders to abuse their powers; they were not above the law and, therefore, had to follow the same rules as everybody else. This was an important step in ensuring that the citizens liberties were protected.

DIRECT DEMOCRACY
When people do not have someone to represent them, it often becomes their responsibility to make their own voice heard. In a direct democracy, citizens all meet to make decisions and to create laws that they believe will help the country become the best that it can be. They choose what is important to them. This allows people to share their ideas; however, with so many different issues to discuss, it can be difficult for every citizen attend every meeting!

SEPARATION OF POWERS
This principle of the U.S. Constitution divides powers into three separate groups or branches of government. The reason the Founding Fathers chose this was because they wanted to ensure that no one person or group of people had too much power. The U.S. Constitution divides power into the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch. Each branch has its own unique responsibilities and powers, including powers over the other branches.