Branch Out! Civics – Government Powers and Limits

Contributor: Victoria Surface. Lesson ID: 10193

In this lesson, you will explore the three branches of government and the powers of those branches, as well as the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances. And create your own laws!

categories

Civics, United States

subject
Government
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Lion
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

What are checks and balances and separation of powers of the United States government? What do these terms mean? In this lesson, you will explore the three branches of government and the powers of those branches, as well as the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances.

One of the most important aspects of the United States Constitution is that it establishes the role of the federal government, breaking down its responsibilities into three distinct branches.

Use the Branches of Government Graphic Organizer, from ginaskokopelli.ocm, and the article, How does our system of checks and balances help protect our rights?, from The Social Studies Help Center, to help you visualize the separation of powers and checks and balances.

Think about the following questions as you work through this lesson:

  • What are the three branches of government?

  • What are the powers of the branches of government?

  • What are the limits of the branches of government?

  • What does separation of powers mean?

  • What are checks and balances?

1. Watch the videos below.

Facts of Congress - Checks and Balances from IU Center of Representative Government:

Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances: Crash Course Government and Politics #3 from CrashCourse:

 

Answer the following questions based on the videos:

  • Why is the system known as checks and balances? Explain the system.

  • How is each branch of government separate in its powers from the other branches of government?

2. Read about the Three Branches of Government, by Fact Monster. Answer the following questions based on your reading:

  • What are the three branches of government?

  • Who makes up each branch of government?

  • What are the responsibilities and powers of each branch of government?

Now, continue on to the Got It? section for some online games!

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