Lesson Plan: US Government


Objectives: The students will

I. identify principles of American democracy.

II. outline the differences between totalitarian and democratic government.

III.  identify ways in which American democracy differs from other governmental systems around the world.
Warm Up Activity (Anticipatory Set): Reviewing the principles of American Democracy

A) Have students review their notes on the PowerPoint presentation on Principles of  Democracy. (581,120 KB or 5.8 MB)

B) Display or distribute the chart associated with the presentation. Answers appear below the chart for students.

C) Have students complete the chart as they view the presentation.

Main Activity (Instructional Input): Problems in American Democracy

A) Post a situation that requires students to determine which principle of democracy is most at work (see below for example).

B) Have students identify and discuss their decision as to which principle is most at work.
Examples (Modeling): Illustrating Democracy

A) Post the following situation on the board: The citizens of Annandale voted overwhelmingly for a nuclear freeze.
Answer: Majority rule will prevail with the rights of minority protected.
Also acceptable:  American citizens have the right to participate in their government.

B) Students must be able to defend their answers.
Check For Understanding: Collaborative Analysis

A) Distribute to students a worksheet containing 8-10 similar questions.
B) Divide the class into groups of 3-4 students. Have each group identify the correct principle at work, or divide the worksheet up so that each group deals with one or two of the questions.
C) When students are ready, have them present their group's findings on each question stating why they chose that principle of democracy.

Guided Practice: Send-A-Problem In American Democracy

A) Have groups write a problem they developed on a computer and save it to floppy disk.

B) Students should send their disks to neighboring groups who will open the file and write back by identifyng the principle of democracy at work. The group will then receive the disk back and read the group's response. The students can respond by saying whether or not the group got the right answer.

Continue the process until all groups have received one disk from each group. the following pattern can be followed:

1 sends to 2   1 sends to 3   1 sends to 4   1 sends to 5   
2 sends to 3   2 sends to 4   2 sends to 5   2 sends to 1
3 sends to 4   3 sends to 5   3 sends to 1   3 sends to 2
4 sends to 5   4 sends to 1   4 sends to 2   4 sends to 3
5 sends to 1   5 sends to 2   5 sends to 3   5 sends to 4

Wrap-Up Activity (Closure): The Meaning of Democracy

A) Ask students to complete the following sentences in writing or orally in class discussion:

1) The will of the majority is followed when...
2) The most important right we have in America is...
3) American democracy is different from authoritarian governments because...
4) The democratic system and federalism go well together because...
5) American democracy is still a dream in the United States because...
 Evaluation: The lesson will be evaluated by:

I. the accuracy of student's written responses;

II. student's scores on future tests and quizzes.

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