Government—Federal and Local Considerations

Class Length: 1 Class Meeting

Objectives:

Students will be able to:

  1. Recognize the key reason why the Founding Fathers believed America needed a new government.
  2. Apply their knowledge of the Founding Fathers and apply it to specific circumstances and role-playing situations.

Materials:

- Copies of the Enumerated Powers of Congress, Article 1, Section 8 (cited reference #1)

- Copies of the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution (cited reference #2)

- Local political articles, magazines, and newspapers

Teacher will distribute copies of the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution, and prompt students to describe how many laws are passed in their local governments regarding their everyday lives.

Teacher should lecture on the concept of federalism, the difficult decisions to consider at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 concerning state government powers vs. national governmental powers. Important teaching points (use online sources for assistance, cited reference #3):

- Monarchy vs. democracy

- King or president

- Centralized vs. federalism

- Separation of powers

- Printing currency

- Conducting elections

Teacher will distribute Enumerated Powers of Congress, Article 1, Section 8 to compare and contrast the roles and responsibilities of national and state governments granted in the Articles of Confederation to those that Congress exercises today. Students will take notes on pertinent information.

Teacher will ask students to take role of local government investigators because a state representative will be visiting to field question about his/her role and how government works on the local/state/national level. Using the Internet, distributed materials (articles, excerpts, magazines, etc), students will critically read, research, and identify the actions their local governments take, and how they play out their governmental duties.

Students will write thoughtful, appropriate, and inquisitive interview questions for the state representative. Teacher will give good and bad examples of interview questions, highlighting

- Proper tone

- Knowing your audience

- Proper grammar and sentence construction

- Proper level of inquiry and journalistic integrity

State representative will visit class, lecture on role of government and his/her career. Visitor will answer student questions.

For all aspects of this lesson, students will be evaluated on:

- How detailed are their notes, and their enthusiastic participation in class discussion on government roles and responsibilities

- The in-depth coverage of local governmental news

- The appropriateness and inquisitiveness of their interview questions (based on “good’ and “bad” criteria explained by teacher)

References:

Robert, M.H. (2001). U.S. constitution: Article 1, section 8, numerated powers of

congress. National Conference of State Legislatures: The Forum for America’s

Ideas. Trust for Representative Democracy: America's Legislators Back to School

Week. Retrieved October 22nd, 2007 from

Thomas, B.R. (2007). United states constitution. The Legal Information Institute (LII),

Cornell University Law School. Retrieved October 22nd, 2007 from

U.S. Government Printing Office (2007). National versus state government for kids.

Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government. Retrieved November 9th, 20007 from

8/government/index.html


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