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Senior
Social Studies
Grade: Senior

#4271. Checks and Balences

Social Studies, level: Senior
Posted Wed Dec 3 13:38:11 PST 2008 by Stacy Thurber (Stacy Thurber).
Old Dominion University/Woodside High School, Newport News, Va
Materials Required: see lesson plan
Activity Time: 90 minutes +
Concepts Taught: Checks and Balences of how our government works

Lesson Plan # 1 for Stacy Thurber
Lesson Plan Title: Checks and Balances
Concept / Topic To Teach: How the checks and balances system of our Government works!
Standards Addressed:

Govt. 7a: The student will demonstrate knowledge of the organization and powers of the national government by
a) examining the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
Govt. 7b: The student will demonstrate knowledge of the organization and powers of the national government by
b) analyzing the relationship between the three branches in a system of checks and balances.
Govt 4c: The student will demonstrate knowledge of the Constitution of the United States of America by
c) examining the fundamental principles upon which the Constitution is based, including the rule of law, consent of the governed, limited government, separation of powers, and federalism.
Govt. 4d: The student will demonstrate knowledge of the Constitution of the United States of America by
d) illustrating the structure of the national government as outlined in Article I, Article II, and Article III.

General Goal(s): By the end of the lesson the student will have a better understanding of the Organization of the United States government

Specific Objectives: The student will be able to:
* define the terms "separation of powers" and "checks and balances
* list the three separate branches of government
* identify each branches' assigned powers and functions
* label each branch's exerted powers over the others.


Required Materials:
• Overhead Projector
• Transparencies
• U.S. Constitution worksheet
• markers
• paper
• pencils
• Government book
• chalkboard
Anticipatory Set (Lead-In):
A) The teacher will display the flow chart that shows how the checks and balances system works.
B) The teacher will then instruct the students to fill in the flow chart given to them by using the flow chart that can be found in their textbook.
Step-By-Step Procedures:
A) The teacher will divide the students into four groups; one for each of the branches of government and representing the Print and Electronic Media.
B) The teacher will then hand out copies of the scenarios to members of all the groups and allow for them to read and gain a better understanding of what will be asked of them.
C) The teacher will then divide the legislative group in two, so as to represent the House and the Senate.
D) The teacher will designate a President within the Executive group.
E) The teacher will ensure that an odd number of people are in the Judicial group.
F) The teacher will then hand each group a scenario that deals with the group that they are involved with.
G) The teacher will inform the students that each group must product a written element in execution of their roles and that this will be graded.
H) The teacher will hand out the grading rubric and go over it to ensure that the students understand all the components of the project.
I) The teacher will then instruct the students that they have (insert set amount of time here) minutes to discuss which role each student will play in their group.
J) The teacher will instruct the students to decide what they will do depending on the other group's action.
K) The teacher will instruct the members of the Congress group to present a bill first to the class and then to the President.
L) The teacher will then instruct the members of the executive group (the President and his advisors) to consider the bill, make a decision and then to have the President formally announce his decision via a Press Conference.
M) The teacher will instruct members of the Print and Electronic Media Group to ask questions either to the President or to his advisors.
N) The teacher will instruct the members of the press to file their lawsuit against Congress once the President has approved the bill at the Press Conference.
O) The teacher will instruct the members of the Judicial Group to ask questions to the members of the Press, Congress and the President.
P) The teacher will instruct the students in the Judicial Group that the reason that they are asking questions is to find out more information regarding whether or not the new law is constitutional
Q) The teacher will instruct members of the Judicial Group that once they are done asking questions that they need to discuss the merits of the case amongst themselves.
R) The teacher will instruct the students in the Judicial Group to announce the decision that they have made regarding this case and to state the majority and minority opinions.
Plan For Independent Practice:
A) The teacher will instruct students to locate an article in a newspaper, magazine, or from a web site that illustrates the concept of checks and balances.
B) The teacher will instruct the students to write a short summary that outlines that main events and concepts in the article that they found
C) The teacher will instruct the students to make sure that they include a statement in their summary regarding which branch has the power and which branch is having its powers limited by another branch.
D) The teacher will instruct the students to bring in their articles and summaries for a discussion.
Closure (Reflect Anticipatory Set):
A) The teacher will divide the class into 5-6 teams of 4.
B) The teacher will, using the flow chart from earlier in the lesson, will chose a student to come to the board and draw ideas relating to checks and balances to the class.
C) The teacher will remind the students that this is just like Pictionary so there can be no talking, words or numbers used.
D) The teacher will instruct the students that the first team that correctly guesses the concept will receive a point and will get to send the next person up to the board.
E) The teacher will, if time allows, continue until all of the concepts have been reviewed.
Assessment Based On Objectives:
A) The student will be assessed based on the responses that were given on the written worksheet.
B) The student will be assessed based on their participation in the lesson.
C) The student will be assessed based on the article summary that they provide
D) The student will be assessed through several short quizzes that will determine if they understand the concepts and words that were presented in the lesson.

Adaptations (For Students With Learning Disabilities):
A) The teacher will provide to those student(s) who are visually impaired all materials used in the lesson in either Braille or large print.
B) The teacher will provide to those student(s) who are hearing impaired an interpreter and will also provide the interpreter a copy of the lesson plan.
Extensions (For Gifted Students):
A) The teacher will ask open-ended questions to gauge the students knowledge of the lesson rather than the Pictionary like game at the end of the lesson.
B) The teacher will instruct the students to create a presentation and teach the class about the article and its importance that was assigned for homework.
Possible Connections To Other Subjects:
English/Language Arts (writing a paragraph/aka bill correctly using correct grammar, sentence structure, etc. . .
Arts (coming up with a presentation explaining the possible new law, presentation to be sent to the different houses explaining the need for the new law, etc. . .

Additional Information:
Below you will find the different scenarios that have been used for this lesson.
1. The Legislative Branch
Congress must write a bill that restricts the content of what can be put on the World Wide Web. It must be a proposed law that makes it a crime to publish on the Internet any criticism of the president or his advisors. Please list examples of the types of language that would be made illegal if the material were available on the World Wide Web. Students in this group must write the bill, and be ready to debate the bill in class, and vote on it. The results of the bill must be that is passes and is sent to the President for if the president vetoes the bill, the Congress will make amendments to the bill and resubmit the changed bill to the President for his approval.

2. The Judicial Branch
Congress is considering a bill that will make criticism of the President on the Internet illegal. If the bill is approved by Congress and is approved by the President, the Supreme Court must be ready to hear arguments in favor and against the bill. The Supreme Court must be ready to ask the Congress questions about the bill in order to learn facts that will lead to a decision in a lawsuit brought by the Press against the bill. The Supreme Court must develop five to seven questions it can ask lawyers on both sides. The Supreme Court will also have to vote on the constitutionality of the bill. Those in favor (there must be a minority of students taking this position even if they disagree with it) and those opposed to the bill must write a "majority" and "minority" opinion in the case.

3. The Executive Branch
Congress is going to submit a bill to you, the Executive Branch, that will make it illegal to place any criticism of the President on the Internet. You will have to decide if the bill should be approved by the President or vetoed. Each of the president's advisors must write a "memorandum" to the president stating his or her position on the bill with a recommendation to the president weather or not it should be vetoed. Students should be ready to share their views with the class in the form of a press conference. If the president vetoes the bill, the Congress will make amendments to the bill and resubmit the changed bill to the President.
The bill should ultimately be approved by the President.

4. The Print and Electronic Media
The Congress is considering a bill that would make criticism of the President on the Internet illegal. The President will no doubt agree with such a bill since it would improve his image. The press is using the Internet more and more to place their articles on line for their customers who cannot receive their print version. If the bill becomes law, the Media (TV, Radio, Newspapers, and Magazines) must be ready to sue the federal government based on the First Amendment Freedoms of press and Speech. The Press will learn of the President's decision at a press conference. They must have questions ready for the President no matter which way he decides: for or against the bill. Members of the media must write one or more editorials opposing (and supporting, even though this position would be in the minority) the bill. Members of the Press must be ready to answer questions from the Supreme Court as to why the bill should be ruled unconstitutional (or not ruled as such).