Federal Government Chart Later Elementary Social Studies

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					Later Elementary Social Studies                                          Michigan Government
Michigan and Other States

                               SCoPE Site Lesson Plan
Title: Lesson 4 – The Three Branches of Michigan Government (SS040304)

Abstract
In this lesson students explore the concept of separation of powers through a study of the three
branches of Michigan government. The lesson begins with a review of the organization of local
government. Students then complete a chart describing the three branches of state government.
Finally, they analyze newspaper articles to learn more about the functions and powers of each
branch.

Subject Area: Social Studies

Grade Level and Course Title: Fourth Grade/Michigan and Other States

Unit of Study: Michigan Government

Benchmarks
 Identify the three branches of Michigan government and identify the office responsible for
   each (III.4.LE.3) GLCE.
 Distinguish among making, enforcing, and interpreting laws (III.4.LE.1) GLCE.

Key Concept
limited government
separation of powers

Instructional Resources
Equipment/Manipulative
Overhead projector

Student Resource
Michigan’s Top Stories. The Official State of Michigan Website. 2 May 2006
    <http://www.michigan.gov/>.

Teacher Resource
Detroit Free Press. 2 May 2006 <www.freep.com>.

Lansing State Journal. Sept. 2005. 2 May 2006 <www.lsj.com>.

Other
Egbo, Carol. Supplemental Materials (SS040304.doc). Teacher-made material. Waterford, MI:
    Oakland Schools, 2005.

Sequence of Activities
1. Place students in small groups of three or four students each. Have the groups brainstorm a
   list of things they know about their local government. Have groups share their lists and make


May 2, 2006                                                       SCoPE SS040304 Page 1 of 4
Later Elementary Social Studies                                            Michigan Government
Michigan and Other States
   a master list of their ideas on an overhead transparency or board. Guide a discussion about
   their local government using the following questions:
    How is our local government organized?
    Who are some of the people and/or positions connected to our local government?
    What are some of the responsibilities of our local government?

2. Remind students that their county government is also an example of a local government.
   Make an overhead transparency of “Organization of Local Government, Overhead #1,”
   located in the Supplemental Materials (SS040304.doc). Use the transparency to compare the
   organization of community and county government. Note that if your local government
   differs you may need to make slight adjustments. For example, if your local government is a
   township government you may need to list a term such as “supervisor” instead of “mayor.”
   Use the following questions to guide your discussion:
    How are the two forms of government alike?
    How are they different?
    Why do you think both governments have three different parts instead of having one
       person or group do everything?

3. Explain to students that governments at all three levels (local, state, and federal) are divided
   into three sections. These sections are called “branches.” Each branch is given separate
   functions and separate powers. Explain that this is done so that no individual or group gets
   too powerful. It is a way of limiting the power of government. Explain that the Constitution
   of Michigan defines the functions and powers of each branch. Make and overhead
   transparency of “The Michigan Constitution, Overhead #2” located in the Supplemental
   Materials (SS040304.doc) and show it to the class. Explain that the Constitution is divided
   into sections called “Articles.” Article III describes how the government of Michigan is
   divided into separate branches. Highlight the words “legislative,” “executive,” and “judicial.”
   Explain that these terms are used as labels for the three branches. Show Overhead #1 again
   and label the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of both community and county
   government.

4. Draw students’ attention to the following phrase on Overhead #2: “No person exercising
   powers of one branch shall exercise powers properly belonging to another branch except as
   expressly provided in this constitution.” Ask students what they think this phrase means.
   Discuss students’ responses. Guide students to the idea that this phrase explains what is mean
   by the concept “separation of powers.” Each branch has its own powers, which should not be
   taken over by another branch.

5. Give each student a copy of the “Federal Government Chart” located in the Supplemental
   Materials (SS040304.doc). Tell students to fill in as much of the chart as they can, using
   what they have learned in the lesson so far and their prior knowledge. Give students time to
   work and then place them in pairs. Have partners help each other fill in missing parts.
   Finally, show students an overhead transparency of “Completed Michigan Government
   Chart, Overhead #3” and have students compare their chart to the overhead transparency.
   Have students correct mistakes as necessary.



May 2, 2006                                                         SCoPE SS040304 Page 2 of 4
Later Elementary Social Studies                                            Michigan Government
Michigan and Other States
6. Provide each student with a copy of the “Analyzing Newspaper Articles” sheet and the
   “Analysis Chart” located in the Supplemental Materials (SS040304.doc). Explain that one
   sheet has short parts from six different newspaper articles. Have students work with a partner
   to read each article and decide which branch of Michigan government is at work in the
   article. Next they should figure out something that can be learned about that branch from
   reading the article. Finally, they should think of a question about that branch that the article
   raises. Model this with the class-using Article #1 by making an overhead transparency of the
   “Analysis Chart.” See the “Completed Analysis Chart” located in the Supplemental Materials
   (SS040304.doc) for suggestions on what to write on the overhead transparency. Have
   students write the information on their own charts as you write on the transparency.

7. Have students continue the activity from Step 6 with their partner. When students have
   completed their charts have them share their ideas with the entire class. Make a class list of
   the questions they generated on the charts. Post the list where it can be seen during the next
   three lessons. Explain to students that they will have the opportunity to learn about each of
   the three branches in depth in the next three lessons. Note that the “Completed Analysis
   Chart” can also be used to assess student charts.

8. As an extension activity you may wish to have students search newspapers for articles
   relating to the three branches of Michigan government. Students can analyze the articles
   using the chart from Steps 6 and 7.

9. Explain to students that they will be learning more about the federal government in fifth
   grade. However, they will find what they are learning this year about the Michigan
   government will be very helpful in understanding the organization of the federal government.
   Make an overhead transparency of the “Organization of the Federal Government, Overhead
   #4,” located in the Supplemental Materials (SS040304) and show it to students. Using this
   Overhead #4 and Overhead #3, have students compare and contrast the two levels of
   government. Guide students in understanding that except for different labels for the executive
   branches of each level of government (President and Governor) and the name given to the
   federal legislative branch (Congress), the organization of the two levels is essentially the
   same. (Teacher note: The legislative branch in Michigan is called the Michigan Legislature,
   not the Michigan Congress. The term Congress is reserved for the legislative branch of the
   federal government).

Assessment
The chart from Step 6 can be used as an assessment. Students could also create a poster
describing in words and pictures the three branches and their main functions.

Application Beyond School
Students could research ordinances of their local community and interview local government
officials.

Connections
Arts
When students create a poster they use elements of form and design.



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Later Elementary Social Studies                                            Michigan Government
Michigan and Other States


English Language Arts
When students work in small groups, they use communication skills to influence an audience.

Students practice a variety of informational text skills and comprehension strategies as they read
and analyze newspaper articles.




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