ALEX Classroom Resource

  

Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances/Crash Course Government and Politics

  Classroom Resource Information  

Title:

Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances/Crash Course Government and Politics

URL:

https://aptv.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/separation-of-powers-government-crashcourse-1003/separation-of-powers-and-checks-and-balances-crash-course-government-and-politics/

Content Source:

PBS
Type: Audio/Video

Overview:

In this video from PBSLearningMedia, Craig Benzine teaches students about the U.S. government's separation of powers and the system of checks and balances. In theory, the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch are designed to keep each other in check and to keep any branch from becoming too powerful. In reality, the system was designed to keep the president from becoming some kind of autocrat. For the most part, it has worked.

Content Standard(s):
Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 10
United States History I: Beginnings to the Industrial Revolution
4 ) Describe the political system of the United States based on the Constitution of the United States. [A.1.a., A.1.b., A.1.d., A.1.g., A.1.i.]

•  Interpreting the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States; separation of powers; federal system; elastic clause; the Bill of Rights; and the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Nineteenth Amendments as key elements of the Constitution of the United States
•  Describing inadequacies of the Articles of Confederation
•  Distinguishing personalities, issues, ideologies, and compromises related to the Constitutional Convention and the ratification of the Constitution of the United States, including the role of the Federalist papers
•  Identifying factors leading to the development and establishment of political parties, including Alexander Hamilton's economic policies, conflicting views of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, George Washington's Farewell Address, and the election of 1800
Unpacked Content
Strand: Economics, History, Civics and Government
Course Title: United States History I: Beginnings to the Industrial Revolution
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Describe the political system of the United States based on the Constitution of the United States and the factors that influenced its development.
  • Identify and analyze factors that have lead to the various interpretations of the Constitution and related documents.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • political system
  • elements
  • distinguishing
  • ideologies
  • conflicting
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • The inadequacies of Articles of Confederation and how these lead to the writing of the Constitution.
  • Personalities, issues, ideologies, and compromises related to the Constitutional Convention and the ratification of the Constitution of the United States.
  • The purpose and effects of the Federalist Papers.
  • Details of the political system of the United States based on the Constitution of the United States.
  • How to interpret the Preamble to the Constitution.
  • The purpose of the separation of powers and how this works in the U.S. federal system.
  • The meaning and purpose of the elastic clause.
  • The purpose of the Bill of Rights and the effects of these amendments.
  • Factors leading to the development and establishment of political parties, including Alexander Hamilton's economic policies, conflicting views of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, George Washington's Farewell Address, and the election of 1800.
  • The reasons for and effects of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Nineteenth Amendments.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Analyze and describe the political system of the United States based on the Constitution of the United States by giving a verbal or written account with characteristics of the political system.
  • Interpret the Preamble of the Constitution, separation of powers, federal system; elastic clause, the Bill of Rights; and the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Nineteenth Amendments by examining these parts.
  • Describe the inadequacies of the Articles of Confederation by giving a verbal or written account of the weaknesses.
  • Distinguish personalities, ideas, issues, ideologies and compromises related to the Constitutional by highlighting these differences.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • The Constitution replaced a weak Articles of Confederation and provides the basis for governing the United States.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.10.4- Understand that the U.S. Constitution is our plan of government.
SS.AAS.10.4a - Define the amendments including the Bill of Rights.
SS.AAS.10.4b - Define the major provisions of the Constitution including the separation of powers, checks and balances, the three branches of government - executive, legislative, and judicial.
SS.AAS.10.4c - Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation.


Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 12
United States Government
13 ) Evaluate constitutional provisions of the judicial branch of government of the United States, including checks by the judicial branch on other branches of government, limits on judicial power, and the process by which cases are argued before the United States Supreme Court.

•  Explaining the structure and jurisdiction of court systems of the United States, including lower courts and appellate courts
•  Identifying the impact of landmark United States Supreme Court cases on constitutional interpretation
Examples: Marbury versus Madison, Miranda versus Arizona, Tinker versus Des Moines, Gideon versus Wainwright, Reno versus American Civil Liberties Union, United States versus Nixon, McCulloch versus Maryland, Wallace versus Jaffree, Wyatt versus Stickney, Powell versus Alabama (Alabama)

•  Describing the shifting political balance of the court system, including the appointment process, the ideology of justices, influences on court decisions regarding executive and legislative opinion, public opinion, and the desire for impartiality
•  Contrasting strict and loose constructionist views of the Constitution of the United States
Unpacked Content
Strand: Economics, History, Civics and Government
Course Title: United States Government
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Describe the process by which a court case is decided, including the its path through the appeals process as well as the considerations given in deciding a final decision.
  • Identify how Supreme Court decisions can create large changes in constitutional interpretation through landmark cases.
  • Evaluate how political ideology influences how justices are appointed as well as the method by which they interpret the Constitution.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • strict/loose construction
  • impartiality
  • lower court
  • ideology
  • appellate court
  • landmark case
  • jurisdiction
  • judicial review
  • appointment
  • Supreme Court
  • opinion/decision
  • district court
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • How key landmark Supreme Court cases influenced the interpretation of constitutional rights of citizens and powers/limitations of American government.
  • The means by which judges interpret the meaning of the Constitution, including strict and loose construction.
  • The organization of the American court system, including the powers and limitations of each level and type of court.
  • The process by which Supreme Court justices are appointed, including the consideration of ideology and how such may impact future decisions.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Identify the effect by which landmark decisions change the interpretation of constitutional provisions and rights.
  • Illustrate the process by which a court case is initiated in a lower level court and can then later be decided by the US Supreme Court.
  • Critique the process by which political ideology becomes a factor in both the appointment process of judges as well as the decision-making process in deciding cases.
  • Analyze an excerpt of a Supreme Court decision to ascertain the constitutional interpretation evident as well as the impact it may have on a constitutional right or provision.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • The powers, limitations, and organization of the judicial branch of American government, including how these determine the means by which a case arrives to, is argued before, and is decided upon by the Supreme Court, helps shape the law in the U.S.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.USG.AAS.12.13- Define judicial branch of government; identify the major roles and responsibilities of the judicial branch of government; recognize that the judicial branch is a court system with the Supreme Court serving as the highest court in the land.
SS.USG.AAS.12.13a- Identify the effect by which landmark decisions change the interpretation of constitutional provisions and rights.


Tags: court systems, Preamble of the Constitution
License Type: Custom Permission Type
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AccessibilityVideo resources: includes closed captioning or subtitles
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Author: Ginger Boyd