ALEX Classroom Resource


Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances

  Classroom Resource Information  


Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances


Content Source:

Khan Academy
Type: Audio/Video


This is a video from Khan Academy that provides an overview of the separation of powers and checks and balances.  This can be played as an introduction to a lesson on separation of powers or the three branches of government and checks and balances.  The video is 3 minutes and 58 seconds in length.

Content Standard(s):
Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 12
United States Government
3 ) Analyze major features of the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights for purposes, organization, functions, and principles, including rule of law, federalism, limited government, popular sovereignty, judicial review, separation of powers, and checks and balances.

•  Explaining main ideas of the debate over ratification that included the Federalist papers
•  Analyzing the Bill of Rights for its application to historical and current issues
•  Outlining the formal process of amending the Constitution of the United States
Unpacked Content
Strand: History, Civics and Government
Course Title: United States Government
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Analyze key principles of US government by explaining their presence in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.
  • Dissect a current or historical issue to identify how the meaning of the U.S. Constitution or one of its key principles is/was debated.
  • Cite examples and evidence of how the Constitution acquires new meaning through both the amendment process as well as interpretation.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • rule of law
  • federalism
  • limited government
  • popular sovereignty
  • judicial review
  • separation of powers
  • checks and balances
  • ratification
  • Anti-Federalist
  • confederation
  • amending
  • Federalist
  • article of the Constitution
Students know:
  • Key principles of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights as well as their meaning.
  • Key arguments given by the Federalists and Anti-Federalists regarding the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
  • The Constitution is an evolving document through both formal and informal means.
  • The process by which an amendment can be added to the U.S. Constitution.
Students are able to:
  • Outline the possible paths taken to ratify an amendment to the Constitution.
  • Interpret how constitutional principles are embedded in current and past issues in US history and politics.
  • Interpret primary documents from both Federalists and Anti-Federalists.
  • Analyze a given passage of the U.S. Constitution to identify how it relates to a key principle of American government.
Students understand that:
  • Many key principles of the Constitution, including judicial review, federalism, limited government, separation of powers, checks and balances, rule of law, and popular sovereignty, are embedded in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and that their meaning has been debated throughout U.S. history.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.USG.AAS.12.3- Identify the major purposes of the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.
SS.USG.AAS.12.3a - Outline the possible paths taken to ratify an amendment to the Constitution.

Tags: checks and balances, executive, judicial, legislative, separation of powers
License Type: Custom Permission Type
See Terms:
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AccessibilityVideo resources: includes closed captioning or subtitles

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Author: Ginger Boyd