Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Who Has Power?

Tim Barbon
Escambia County Schools

Description

Students analyze the Constitution and design a crossword puzzle which correctly associates specific legal powers with specific groups or individuals within government.

Objectives

The student understands how the overall design and specific features of the Constitution prevent the abuse of power by aggregating power at the national, state, and local levels; dispersing power among different levels of government; and using a system of checks and balances (e.g.,federalism).

Materials

-Blank paper
-Copies of the Constitution
-Notebook paper
-Pencils
-Pens
-Straightedges

Preparations

1. Gather copies of the Constitution (see textbooks). A copy of the Constitution can also be found online. (See Weblinks)
2. Gather blank paper.
3. Provide prior instruction for students to bring a straightedge, pencil, pen, and notebook paper.

Procedures

Ask students if they have ever witnessed someone whom they felt abused power. Discuss responses.

1. Ask students how abuse of power could be reduced. Discuss.

2. Ask how important it is that citizens monitor the power of government officials. Discuss.

3. Discuss the founding fathers' philosophies about ways to limit power among different branches and levels of government.

4. Distribute a copy of the Constitution to each student.

5. Instruct the students to examine the document and design a chart or diagram that reveals the specified powers granted each branch and level of government (Executive, Legislative, Judicial, federal and state). This can be done on a sheet of notebook paper. (A printed copy of these instructions may be necessary.)

6. At the beginning of the second day allow students to announce the separation of powers which they have drawn. (formative)

7. Distribute the blank paper and explain that the students are to design a crossword puzzle which utilizes terms and information about the division of governmental powers and our concept of federalism. (Straightedges, pencils and pens are needed here.)

8. The student should also design an answer key for the puzzle.

9. Instruct the students that the puzzle must include at least 10 clues/words ACROSS and 10 clues/words DOWN. Correct association of the powers with the appropriate groups/branches will be the basis for the evaluation.

Assessments

The student understands how the overall design and specific features of the Constitution prevent the abuse of power by aggregating power at the national, state, and local levels; dispersing power among different levels of government.

During the lesson, the students design a chart or diagram that reveals understanding of division of power among governmental bodies, as specified by the U. S. Constitution, by analyzing the entire document. (Managing Information)

The students then create a crossword puzzle that reveals their understanding of the association between specific powers of the government and the individual entities which possess them. Teacher checks puzzles for accuracy by examining the clues and terms for correct association. (Creative and Critical Thinkers)

Exemplary--shows clear and complete understanding

Commendable--shows a basic understanding

Needs Work--is lacking an understanding of the associations

Web Links

Web supplement for Who Has Power?
The U.S. Constitution Online

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