Lesson Plan : System of Checks and Balances

Teacher Name:
 Ms. Charles
Grade:
 Grade 7-8
Subject:
 Social Studies

Topic:
 US Government: Checks and Balances
Content:
 Knowing the branches of government; their functions, responsibilities and how they police one another. Also, the integration of technology by building a Wiki page.
Goals:
 Students will be able to identify the powers delegated to the three branches of government, illustrate how the system of checks and balances work and determine how the checks and balances system can be seen in today's modern democratic system.
Objectives:
 1) Given website addresses and directions, students will illustrate at least three major points of one of the three branches of government. 2) Using the Wiki page that they created, students will identify the branch doing the checking and the branch whose power is being checked with 100% accuracy. 3) Using specific internet sources, students will create and present information on the different branches of government
Materials:
 Computers, Internet Access, PowerPoint, websites,overhead projector, printer, Task handouts.
Introduction:
 Student will read some background information about the Framers of the Constitution from a powerpoint presentation as the teacher presents the information. Then the students will watch a video clip on Key Constitutional Concepts http://www.justicelearning.org/constitutionday/TuneIn.asp
Development:
 Tell the students they are secret agents from a different planet and are going on a mission to the US to discover how the system of checks and balances work. Explain the task from the PowerPoint presentation and also give them handouts of the task as well. The class will count off in 3’s until every student is either a 1, 2, or 3. The 1, 2, and 3 represent a branch of government. I will then reveal to the students which branch of government goes with each number. For each branch chosen there will be a list of website to gather information. Students will visit the websites pertaining to the branch they are studying and use the information for their Wiki pages. Demonstrate how to create a Wiki page by going to the website www.pbwiki.com and follow the directions on that page. Show the students how to upload documents and pictures and add links. They will enter the information about their particular branch there. To gather information for their Wiki page on the branch they are working on, the students will answer these questions, using it as a guideline. • What are the members of the branch? • What are the steps in becoming a member of the branch? • How long are the members in office for? • What are their responsibilities? • How old do you have to be to run for office? Executive Branch (See these websites) • The Presidents of the United States Hotlist has a link to everything you will ever want to know about the U.S. presidents. • Could you be president? Discover the presidential requirements. Find the information at this website • Judicial Branch (See these websites) • How are people selected to serve on a jury? • How much are you paid for jury service? • Why are some citizens excused from jury duty? • Can you describe the jury selection process? • What’s the difference between a criminal and a civil case? This website will lead you to these answers Legislative Branch (See these websites) 1. Today, senators are elected by the citizens of the state they represent. Prior to 1913 who selected senators? 2. Besides passing laws, name 3 powers of the U.S. Congress. 3. How many years is a representative's term? a senator's? Why do you think the term lengths differ? 4. Which chamber of Congress (House of Representatives or Senate) has the power to start laws that make people pay taxes? 5. Who is known as the president of the Senate? Everyone will answer the BIG QUESTION on their Wiki page. How does each branch balance and check each other? Each person from group 1 will team up with a member from group 2 and add to their Wiki one check or balance. (How does group 1 check or balance group 2). Group 2 will do the same for Group 3 and Group 3 will do the same for Group 1. For extra credit (5 points) volunteers from each group can make a presentation to the class on their Wiki.
Practice:
 Have students set-up at their computer (if not in the classroom, then in the computer lab) and walk them through out the demonstration of creating a Wiki. Show students how to upload documents and pictures and also how to link pages, websites or URLs.
Accommodations:
 Hand-outs will be in large size prints with plenty spaces between each line. Peer-tutoring will be used for students who are English language learners. Students with behavior problems, I will use a structured classroom routine and schedule, proximity control, specific praise, reminders and reprimands as needed for behavior in relation to classroom rules.
Checking For Understanding:
 The student will answer the BIG QUESTION and work with their partners from a different group to help answer the question of how each branch balances and checks the other.
Closure:
  10 minutes presentation will be made by students who volunteer for the 5 points credit. I will also use certain students Wiki pages covering each branch of the government as illustrations and examples of the completed task.
Evaluation:
 Rubric for wiki page – design, information, content, and all questions answered. (See webquest for rubric)
Teacher Reflections:
 I think that this is a good project for introducing the class to web-based learning. I feel knowledgeable, comfortable, and confident enough to cover the topic and Wiki creation with the students, giving them a chance to explore the technology process and self-learn as I will be doing continuously.

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