American Constitution

By Amanda Buehler


This lesson is a fun, ambitious way to have the students actively participate in a government type scenario. Students will role play a Congress situation, voting on different ideas. It will show them their responsibility and power in our American Government and why the Founding Fathers chose the structure of our government.

New York State Social Studies Standards

Essential Questions

Why did America choose a Democratic Republic?

What was the purpose of the creation of 3 Branches of Government?

What power does the American citizen have in government?

The Sequence of Activities

Do Now

1. Students will begin by reviewing the Glogster to read their peers’ responses. Students will complete a silent discussion on GoogleDocs with their group to analyze what a majority of the class picked, and why some people may have picked something different.

Class Activity

Students will then be asked to choose a leader of their group who will open a Socrative app and sign into our classroom. Using the polling feature, each group will answer a series of questions. Since the questions are opinion based, students will be forced to compromise on one answer, with the leader ultimately choosing the final answer. Groups should be between 4-6 students.

At the end of the polling, allow students to reflect on the activity. Students may have not always gotten what they wanted, and ideally a tie caused a conflict between the groups. This is to put students into a Democratic Republic situation and allow them to see how much power the average citizen has. The conflict should show the need for a central power figure, an d some of the decisions(ie. Eliminating Physical education) are not good for the class and therefore should not be allowed, causing a need for judge.

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Second Activity

Students will then be introduced to our government structure of three branches with a three branch chart on GoogleDocs. Students will then be broken into three groups to research the powers of one of the three branches. Then as a class we will complete a Smartboard Chart to organize a list of powers into the three separate categories. This will give students a chance to be experts about one of the branches and explain the power to the class.

Creative Activity

Students will then work in pairs to create a cartoon using depicting how a law is created. It will focus on the role of the three branches. Students have the option to have a veto or an unconstitutional ruling. Students will have the opportunity at the end of class to present their cartoon to their peers.

Exit Ticket

The teacher will then lead the discussion towards the idea of “Checks and Balances” by using Socrative Exit Ticket to ask the question “Who is in charge of the government? Who has the final say in a decision?”

Differentiated Instruction

This lesson is easy to differentiate since most of the lesson is hands on and peers are interacting to discuss ideas. Students have the opportunity to work at their own pace and complete research on sites appropriate for them. They also have the chance to organize their understanding into a chart and express it in a cartoon. Also, a huge benefit of GoogleDocs is the ability of the teacher to discreetly push out resources for all students who need a little support.