ALEX Lesson Plan

Learning About Our Government

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Matthew Carpenter
System: Muscle Shoals City
School: McBride Elementary School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 4367


Learning About Our Government


This lesson is designed to inform students about the organization of our nation's government. Students will be introduced to the three branches of American government and the responsibilities of each. They will discuss the requirements for becoming President and take a "virtual tour" of the White House. All of this is done through the use of a digital slideshow, which includes a direct link to the Internet for further study.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 5
United States Studies: Beginnings to the Industrial Revolution
9 ) Explain how inadequacies of the Articles of Confederation led to the creation and eventual ratification of the Constitution of the United States.

•  Describing major ideas, concepts, and limitations of the Constitution of the United States, including duties and powers of the three branches of government
•  Identifying factions in favor of and opposed to ratification of the Constitution of the United States
Example: Federalist and Anti-Federalist factions

•  Identifying main principles in the Bill of Rights
•  Analyzing the election of George Washington as President of the United States for its impact on the role of president in a republic

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.5.9- Define constitution as a plan of government; identify the three branches of government; identify the major freedoms of the Bill of Rights, including speech, religion, press, right to bear arms, and assembly.
SS.AAS.5.9a- Recognize George Washington as the first president of the United States.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will be able to identify the three branches of American government as well as characteristics of each. Students will be able to name the qualifications for President of the United States. Students will be able to define democracy and recognize that they are part of a democracy.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Social studies text

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer with Internet access, PowerPoint or other presentation software, LCD projector or other large-group projection device


1.)Begin with an introduction through the use of the textbook.

2.)Explain to students that our country is not ruled by the President, but is a system of self-government with checks and balances.

3.)Present the attached slideshow to the class. Follow the hyperlink on the slide and tour the White House for Kids web site. Encourage plenty of interaction and discussion among students. (The slides should captivate student interest.)

4.)See assessment suggestions for wrapping up the presentation.

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Assessment Strategies

1. Using "Let's Review" slides (18 and 19), have students answer questions before you reveal answers or, adapt to your needs.
2. Use the questions mentioned above to design a test. You might want to develop a study guide.
3. Ask students to compare/contrast various branches of government by explaining their responsibilities (could design an expository prompt similar to those used on fifth grade writing assessment for this)
4. Ask students to write a paper telling what living in a democracy means to them.





View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.