What Can Government Agencies Do for You?

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 11169

What is "the government"? We hear about it every day; some people complain about it, some want more of it, some don't want anyone telling them what to do. Learn what it is and how you would shrink it!


United States

learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Many people believe the government is too big and we need to reduce its size.

If that is true, the question is, "What do we cut?"

Here is a series of abbreviations for various government agencies. Do you know what they are? Which ones, if any, should be cut?

  • FBI
  • NASA
  • EPA
  • FDA
  • DEA
  • NTSB
  • FEMA
  • DOJ
  • FCC
  • FDIC
  • NSA
  • DOD
  • IRS
  • OSHA
  • CIA

How many of those did you recognize? See if your parent or teacher knows them all.

Let's take a closer look at government departments and agencies and their many roles and responsibilities in American life.

There are so many government departments and agencies that it's literally hard to think of a single aspect of life that isn't touched by one.

Whether that is a good or bad thing is, in part, a matter of perspective.

If you're like me, you may be a little bit confused. Isn't the government made up of the president, Congress, and the Supreme Court? Where do these departments and agencies come in, and who is in charge? Do we vote for the people who run these parts of the government?

Read the following questions, then watch the Types of Bureaucracies: Crash Course Government and Politics #16 video below and listen closely for possible answers:

  • Which branch of government do departments and agencies belong to (Clue: we only have three branches)?
  • What is the relationship between departments and agencies?
  • What are the functions of departments and agencies?
  • What different types of agencies did the video mention?
  • What do you think are three or four of the most important ones? Why do you think so?

Watch this Types of Bureaucracies: Crash Course Government and Politics #16 video that explains the structure and roles of government departments and agencies:

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Share your answers with a parent or teacher. Reflect and discuss:

  1. What federal agencies play a role in your life?
  2. How important are agencies in the overall well-being of the country?
  3. Are there agencies you think should be cut?
  4. Are there ones you think should be created? What makes you think so?

For better or worse, government plays a huge role in the daily life of a modern, developed nation. In the United States, federal agencies are one of the main ways people interact with their government.

Continue on to the Got It? section for a government scavenger hunt!

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