Exploring US Government Project-Based Learning Unit

Exploring US Government Project-Based Learning Unit
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A Comprehensive PBL Unit on the Three Branches of Government and Their Functions

Build knowledge and understanding of the three branches of US government and their functions, define the principles that shape local government in a democracy, explain the purpose of rules and laws, and design and create an interactive presentation describing the election of a "president" of the animal kingdom. 

Your 3rd grade students will take a deep dive into the 3 branches of US government, their functions, and the implementation of democracy. They will create a pyramid diorama of the people, animals, and things in each community. Using what they learn about democratic values, the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, they'll design and create an interactive presentation about a mock election.

What’s Inside

Packed with fun, hands-on activities, extension and enhancement ideas, opportunities for independent and group work, and engaging inquiry-based challenges, this 55-page project-based unit comes complete with:

  • For the Teacher: Engaging social studies lessons with teacher notes, step-by-step instructions for all activities, assessment guidance, and inquiry questions.
  • For Students: A full-color Student Pack complete with all of the printables, slides, photos, and instructions students need for the activities - just print (or share) and teach!

A complete, ready-to-teach Teacher Pack that includes:

  1. Teacher versions of all the student printables with step-by-step annotations and notes for teaching the 3 branches of government;
  2. Formative and summative assessments, answer keys, and a full project rubric;
  3. Instructions and guidance for the extension activities and project enhancements;
  4. Materials and resources lists, links to articles, videos, and research, plus additional resources for lecture and presentation.

 

What's Included

  • Lesson Plan - Step-by-Step Project Teaching Guide
  • Milestone 1: Defining Democracy
  • Milestone 2: The Executive Branch
  • Milestone 3: The Legislative Branch
  • Milestone 4: The Judicial Branch
  • Milestone 5: Creating a Presentation About Government

 

Teacher and Student Resources

  • Materials Needed for the Projects in this Unit 
  • Books About Government (Optional)
  • Government KWL Chart
  • What Is Democracy? Activity
  • What Is Democracy? Activity Answer Key 
  • Features of a Democracy Activity
  • Features of a Democracy Activity Answer Key 
  • Milestone #1 Inquiry Question
  • Presidential Vocabulary Words Activity
  • Presidential Vocabulary Words Activity Answer Key
  • Qualities of a Good President Activity
  • President of the Animal Kingdom Mock Election Activity
  • Milestone #2 Inquiry Question
  • Legislative Vocabulary Words Activity
  • Legislative Vocabulary Words Activity Answer Key
  • Legislative Branch of the Animal Kingdom Mock Activity
  • Legislative Branch Animal Kingdom Rules Activity
  • Milestone #3 Inquiry Question
  • Exploring Government Quick Quiz
  • Exploring Government Quick Quiz Answer Key 
  • Judicial Branch Vocabulary Words Activity
  • Judicial Branch Vocabulary Words Activity Answer Key
  • Animal Kingdom Judicial Branch Mock Activity
  • Missing Acorns Animal Kingdom Judicial Case Activity
  • Milestone #4 Inquiry Question
  • Government Departments Activity
  • Government Departments Activity Answer Key
  • Animal Kingdom Government Departments Activity
  • Milestone #5 Inquiry Question
  • Exploring Government Summative Assessment 
  • Exploring Government Summative Assessment Answer Key 
  • Exploring Government Project Rubric
Lesson Plan - Exploring US Government Project Based Learning
Teacher Pack - Exploring US Government Project Based Learning
Student Pack - Exploring US Government Project Based Learning

OVERVIEW:
This project-based learning lesson is designed to support and reinforce the concepts in a Grade 3 Social Studies unit on US government. It is built around 5 inquiry-based milestones that incorporate cross-curricular hands-on projects, formative and summative assessments, independent and group activities, and extensions.

STUDENT/GROUP OUTPUT:
In the course of this project-based learning unit, students will:
Build background knowledge about the 3 branches of US government and their functions;
Define democracy and explore how democratic values work in the US governmental system;
Identify and understand the purpose of rules, laws, and consequences;
Apply what they learn by modeling the concepts in a mock "animal kingdom" system of government.

SUGGESTED SUBJECT PREREQUISITES:
Students will acquire necessary background knowledge of US government as part of this project, and instructional materials for providing that background are included in the Teacher Pack. 

SEQUENCE AND PACING:
This project-based unit is divided into 5 milestones. The minimum suggested duration for completing this project-based unit is 5 class periods. However, the unit is completely flexible and can be lengthened or shortened as necessary or desired, based on available class time and interest level.

TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES (suggested):
Internet access

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