This 3-pack of government products is what I use when teaching middle school social studies. Each of these products have worked well for me and my students so I hope you and your students fine the same success. Enjoy!
THE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT TREASURE HUNT
This Branches of Government Treasure Hunt works well to help students understand the basics of our United States government. Students answer the 16 questions provided by using either their text book, an encyclopedia, or online resources.
This works well for a mini-reading or mini-research activity or would work just fine if you were in a jam and needed an assignment for your students to do if you had a substitute teacher for the day.
THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION with FEDERALIST vs. ANTI-FEDERALIST SURVEY
Trying to find a way to explain the Articles of Confederation to your students without them drifting off into daydream land? This lesson helps to make it real by connecting to their lives. Provided is a summarized story about the Articles of Confederation that I use with my 8th grade U.S. History students, which explains why the Articles of Confederation came about as well as the powers delegated to the state and national governments.
As a way for students to grasp the concepts, I have included an activity where students are given 15 issues that they have to decide if each one should be their parent(s) responsibility, their responsibility, or both of their responsibilities. Kind of like the national government was the "parent government" and they are like the state government. At the end students look at how many issues they said should just be left up to them, how many should be their parent's responsibility, and how many should be shared responsibilities. A wonderful class discussion takes place afterward where students justify their reasons for their selections. I then have them compare those issues to issues that were faced when the Continental Congress was trying to set up a government. For example, one of the issues is who should be able to decide who your friends are. Students always say that should be up to them, but when we compare it to the Articles of Confederation, only the national government was allowed to make peace or sign treaties, thus deciding who we would associate with. They were the parent government. Why wasn't this left up to the states? Isn’t it the same? Then BAM! The discussion erupts again.
Also included is a summary of the Federalist vs. Antifederalist, which were the groups that Americans associated themselves with when the Constitution was being constructed. A survey with 7 topics about government is included where students either answer with a "YES" or a "NO." The reason there are 7 is because they will not have a tie and it will place them as either being more of a Federalist or more of an Antifederalist.
Both of these combined can be a one day class activity/discussion to get students thinking about how they think power should be distributed in regard to state vs. national government.
These two activities have worked well for me in the past so I hope they help your students better understand where they stand in regard to power distribution in the government.
TRYING TO PASS A BILL INTO LAW with POWERPOING & WRITING ACTIVITY - Fun!
This is an activity I do with students after they have learned the steps in how a bill becomes a law through the PowerPoint provided. Students will come up with something that bothers them to the point that they think there should be a law to deal with it. They have to decide if it will be a state or federal law, come up with a proposal for their law, get feedback from the general public, and finally try to persuade at least 51% of congress (their classmates) to vote in favor of their bill.
This is a great activity that has the potential to combine and English class and a Social Studies class together for an interdisciplinary unit. It can be a simple two-day activity or you could add a research component in and easily stretch it into a week-long activity.
The skills of organization, persuasive writing, and public speaking are all combined in this activity. The ideas some of my students come up with never cease to amaze me and I hope you experience the same with your students.
FOR 99 SOCIAL STUDIES PRODUCTS CHECK OUT THIS BUNDLE
Social Studies Bundle - 99 Different Products - U.S. History, Geography, & More!
Check out some of my other U.S. History products
Voting Rights Simulation - 1776-1971
Voting for a President with Mystery Candidates - Fun!
The Electoral College PowerPoint and Partner Activity - Fun Competition!
The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution - Making Sense of the Phrases Within
The Road to the American Revolution Word Find
The Cause and Effect of the Greatest Events or Inventions from 1950-1999 Project
American Revolution Bundle – 8 Different Products Including Quiz & Test Pret
Social Issues Debates - Research, Writing, and Speaking
Cloze Style Quiz - The Articles of Confederation to the U.S. Constitution
The Stock Market Investing Contest - Fun Class Competition!