Grade: Senior

#4746. Checks and Balances

Social Studies, level: Senior
Posted 12/26/2013 by Ben (Ben).
NYC school, New York, NY, USA
Materials Required: None
Activity Time: One lesson, but may need previous lesson
Concepts Taught: How the constitution of the USA was designed to keep the three branches from overpowering each other

Note: You may need to give the students some small assignments on the 3 branches of government in the USA, along with Supreme Court cases like Marbury v. Madison, Cherokee Nation v. President Jackson, Richard Nixon (the Supreme Court said he had to hand over his tapes.)

Do Now (write down some ideas to use in the class discussion):
1. Pick one of the earlier cases we learned about. How did one branch of government have power over the other?
2. In the movie Star Wars Episode III, why was Senator Palpatine allowed to stay in office after his term was expired? When Anakin became the Senator's representative to the Jedi Council, did that create a conflict of interest? Could a NYC police officer become a City Council member's representative to the NYPD while still employed by the NYPD? If not, why?

Mini-Lesson (5 minutes max):

Rehash the three branches of the US government, what we know about the cases listed above.

Discussion (this should be the bulk of the lesson):
Is Star Wars III a lesson about checks and balances? Does it show what happens when one authority becomes too powerful? what happened as the result of all those cases? What about when the Supreme Court ruled that President Jackson had no right to take Cherokee land?