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Content Area:

Social Studies
GRADE/LEVEL
Level:
Grade: 3rd

TAG Theme:
Problem Solving
COURSE NUMBER COURSE LENGTH
9-10 weeks

COURSE TITLE
United States
Branches of
Government

UNIT DESCRIPTION: The purpose of this unit is to understand how the


government of the United States of America functions, and to explain the
different components that makes up the governments structure. Students
will take their knowledge of democracy and connect it to the way our
government works on a day to day basis. Along the way, students will
develop their compare and contrast, problem solving, summarizing, and
decision making abilities on a level appropriate for TAG students.
PREREQUISITE(S):
Eligibility in the Fulton County School System Talented and Gifted Program
SOCIAL STUDIES STANDARDS:
History
SS3H1 The student will explain the political roots of our modern
democracy in the United States of America.
Civics and Government
SS3CG1 The student will explain the importance of the basic principles
that provide the foundation of a republican form of government.
a. Explain why in the United States there is a separation of power between branches
of government and levels of government.
b. Name the three levels of government (national, state, local) and the three
branches in each (executive, legislative, judicial) including the names of the
legislative branch (Congress, General Assembly, county commission or city council)
c. State an example of the responsibilities of each level and branch of government.
TAG STANDARDS
Advanced Communication Skills
Advanced Research Skills
Creative Thinking & Problem Solving Skills
Higher Order Critical Thinking Skills
SUMMARY/ REVIEW
The focus of this unit is to teach students the government structure that our country
runs on. Students will also develop their compare and contrast skills by
understanding how our government used to be, and what how it evolved. Students
will also apply their decision making skills and problem solving strategies to explain
how our government executes models of a democracy.
ENDURING UNDERSTANDING

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At the end of this unit the student will understand and know that

Our government system is modeled around a democracy.

Our government is divided into three branches of government, with each


branch having its own job.

The branches of government all work together to execute laws to its citizens.

The Separation of Powers limits one branch of government with having too
much power.

Real life history makers have worked with the government in the past while
implementing concepts of a democracy.
EVIDENCE OF LEARNING
What students should know:
The causes and events of the American Revolution.
The American Revolution helped create a democratic government system.
A democracy is government by the people.
The names of the three branches of government and how they keep each
other in check.
What students should be able to do:
Explain the importance of the American Revolution.
Identify the strengths and weaknesses of a democracy.
Describe why the founding fathers wanted to create a democracy.
Describe how the three branches of government work together.
Describe how the three branches play different roles in our government.
Describe why the branches of government have a system of checks and
balances.
ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:
How is our government a democracy?
VOCABULARY:

Government
Voting
Election
Citizen
Community
Democracy
Constitution
Laws
Executive Branch
Legislative Branch
Judicial Branch
Congress

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Senate
House of Representatives
President
Vice President
Supreme Court
Execute
Veto
Interpret
SUGGESTED PACING: 9-10 weeks
SUGGESTED INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES (including interdisciplinary
connections):
Day One: Inquiry Questioning
*Essential Question: What does the president do for you?
*Activities:
Hook: The teacher will place a picture of the White House in a brown paper
bag. The students will be asked to generate yes/no questions to help guess
what is in the bag.
The teacher charts all of the yes/no questions students ask when trying to
guess the hidden item
After enough questions are generated to narrow down to the topic, the teacher
will reveal the picture of the White House, and ask students to state any
connections, prior knowledge, or ideas they have related to the topic.
The teacher will show a Kid President video titled Kid President Meets the
President of the United States of America.
After watching the video, the teacher will pose the question What do you
think the president does for you every day? The students will respond to the
prompt through illustrations, explanations, and written summaries.
Synthesis Activity: The President is like _______________________________.
Based on their current thinking, compare the president to someone or
something you already know, and explain why.
Day Two: Compare and Contrast: Patriots vs. Loyalists*
*Essential Question 1: How did the rebellion of the Patriots play a part in the
way our government works today?
*Activities:
Hook: The teacher will begin the lesson by displaying to students the Join,
or Die political cartoon published by Benjamin Franklin in the Philadelphia
Gazette on May 9, 1754. The teacher will explain to students what each initial
represents (a colony), and ask what they think the cartoon means. The
students will discuss their answers. (Found at end of lesson)
The teacher will divide the class into 2 groups: Patriots and Loyalists
Distribute the two readings: Patriots article and Loyalists article, compare
and contrast organizer and criteria organizer.
The students will read and locate evidence of what their specific groups
beliefs were.
Students will pair up with a partner from a different assigned article.
Complete Compare and Contrast Organizer.
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Complete Criteria Organizer. In a class discussion, groups will share the


evidence they found in their articles related to the similarities and
differences between the Patriots and Loyalists. The teacher will record the
class responses on chart paper.
Show summative video to explain the differences between Patriots and
Loyalists.
Summary: Learning Log
Complete Think-Tac-Toe.

*Full lesson plan attached

Day Three: Performance Task: Are you a Patriot or a Loyalist?


*Essential Questions: How did the points of view of Patriots and Loyalist help
shape our government?
*Activities:
The students will participate in a performance task to demonstrate
understanding of differing viewpoints of Patriots and Loyalists during the
American Revolution.
*Performance task and rubric attached

Day Four: Minds Eye Vocabulary


*Essential Questions: How do you think these words connect to one another?
*Activities:
The teacher will provide students will vocabulary words to develop
understanding of government (government, democracy, execute, veto,
interpret, separation of powers)
The teacher will display words to students one at a time, and the students will
create an image of the word that comes to mind when hearing pronounced
word.
The students will continue to create images of words definitions as each new
word is introduced.
Exit Ticket: The students will record any personal feelings or connections
that have made with all words provided in mind.
Day Five: Compare and Contrast: 3 Branches of Government
*Essential Question: How are the governments responsibilities divided into three
different branches of government?
*Activities:
Hook: The teacher will show a picture of a tree with multiple branches. The
teacher will ask the students questions relating to a trees branches: How do
branches support trees? What are the function of branches on a tree? What
would happen to the tree if the braches disappeared?
The teacher will divide the students into three different groups, and provide
each group with an article on each branch of government.
The students will read assigned article, and locate evidence to support the
branch of governments main job.
Students will pair up with a partner from a different assigned article.
Complete Compare and Contrast Organizer.
Complete Criteria Organizer. In a class discussion, groups will share the
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evidence they found in their articles related to the similarities and


differences between the three branches of government. The teacher will
record the class responses on chart paper.
The teacher will show summative video on three branches of government:
School House Rock: Three Ring Circus
Summary: Learning Log
Complete Think-Tac-Toe

*Full Lesson Plan Attached

Day Six: Reading for Meaning: Separation of Powers


*Essential Questions: How do all three branches of government work together?
*Activities:
Before Reading: provide students will 5 statements where they will predict if
they agree or disagree with statements related to the jobs of the branches of
government.
During Reading: The students will read the article to find evidence that will
support or contradict their predictions about the provided statements. If they
find proof for or against a statement, then they would include that evidence on
the organizer.
After Reading: The students will reflect on predictions they made at the
beginning of the lesson. Then, the students will see how the evidence from the
text either confirmed their predictions or led them to rethink their predictions.
Summary: The students will watch the Brainpopjr.com video on the Three
Branches of Government,
Ticket out the Door: The students will write down one sentence, one phrase,
or one word that stuck out to them relating to Separation of Powers from the
article.
Day Seven: Task Rotation: Branches of Government
*Essential Question:
*Activities:
Hook: The teacher will ask the students to generate one adjective that
describes their feelings about how they feel the branches of government show
aspects of a democracy. The students will share and discuss responses.
The teacher will provide four tasks relating to their knowledge of the three
branches of government.
The teacher will introduce the four different types of tasks to students:
mastery tasks, understanding tasks, self-expressive tasks, and interpersonal
tasks.
Mastery task: Ask students to remember, describe, and find specific
information from previous resources and content information related to our
government system.
Understanding Task: Ask students to give reasons and explain how the three
branches of government help its citizens on a daily basis
Self-Expressive Task: Ask students to imagine and create a scenario on what
our country would look like if we didnt have Separation of Powers
Interpersonal Tasks: Ask students to explore feelings and relate personally to
their feelings of living in a democracy, and why?
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The students will be asked to read, write, and think about their knowledge
using four different styles of tasks.
Self Reflection: Which task did you enjoy completing the best? What does
this tell you about your learning style?

Day Eight: Decision Making Lesson


*Essential Question:
*Activities:
Hook: The teacher will assist students in completing a Decision Making Style
Inventory.
The teacher will play the BrainPop.com Video The New Deal to review what
The New Deal was, and why Franklin D. Roosevelt created it.
Distribute the Lets Put Our Citizens to Work letter.
The students will complete a Priority Pyramid.
The teacher will provide a research handout to further explain what each
New Deal program has to offer.
The students will choose which program they feel would be the best fit for the
New Deal program while using their priority rankings.
The students will form themselves in groups to complete the notes organizer
to explain why their program is the best choice.
The teacher will pass out the decision making matrix for students to
complete.
The students will complete their decision by writing a letter to Franklin D.
Roosevelt explaining their decision.
Exit Ticket 3-2-1: Put the 3 programs in order by which program would
make the most impact on our citizens to which program would make the least
impact on our citizens. What are 2 reasons why your groups chose the
selected program?
What is the 1 thing you learned about yourself and or the decision making
process?
*Full lesson plan attached

Day Nine: Read-Write-Think


Essential Question: How does our government tie into democracy?
*Activities:
Hook: Myth or Reality: A democracy is the best type of government for the
people. The students will share their responses with each other and argue
their side of the debate.
The students will watch the School House Rock video No More Kings to get
their minds wrapped around what our government would look like if we
werent a democracy.
The teacher will provide students with a short informational text about
democracy. The teacher will break the article up into two sections.
The teacher will assign the students to a partner, and each partner will read
one part of the text.
The students will independently read their section silently.
After reading, the students will teach each other information from their section
WITHOUT looking back in the text.
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After sharing, the students will write silently for 2 minutes about what they
read and discussed. While writing, the students can look back at the text for
evidence to support their ideas.
Exit Ticket- Answer the Essential Question

Resources:
Lesson 1: Inquiry Lesson Kid President Meets the President of the United States
of America. (http://www.bing.com/videos/search?
q=kid+president&FORM=VIRE2#view=detail&mid=BD5858FAACA40291186ABD58
58FAACA40291186A)
Lesson 2: Compare and Contrast TAG Strategy Lesson and Resources Attached
Patriots and Loyalists (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2p21-soVuA) . The
teacher will play starting at the time 0:40 and end at 1:30.

Lesson 3: Performance Task and Rubric attached


Lesson 5: Compare and Contrast TAG Strategy Lesson and Resources Attached
School House Rock Three Ringed Circus (https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=YMY6lOVjQgs)
Lesson 6: Reading for Meaning Brainpopjr.com: Branches of Government
(https://jr.brainpop.com/socialstudies/government/branchesofgovernment/)
Lesson 8: Decision Making TAG Strategy Lesson Plan and Resources Attached
Lesson 9: Read-Write-Think
School House Rock No More Kings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9pDZMRCpQ

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Branches of Government Unit Plan

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