Comparing Constitutions: The US vs. Florida State Constitution
This lesson provides a comparison between the U.S. Constitution and the Florida State Constitution. This lesson teaches students about the similarities include: both contain a preamble, articles, create three branches of government, and reflect separation of powers. Students will learn how Florida is on its sixth constitution with its current version established in 1968, and how slavery affected the number of versions. They will also be introduced to the Florida Declaration of Rights and its more extensive list of rights. The lesson looks in-depth look at the Preambles and how both start with those three famous words – “we the people” and their implications of popular sovereignty and consent of the governed. Students will look at the how the Florida Constitution establishes a bicameral legislature with a state Senate and House of Representatives. They will learn how unlike the Federal Executive Branch, the Florida Executive Branch has an elected Cabinet which shares more executive powers. A review of the State of the Union is provided to compare with the state executive’s State of the State speech. Students will look at the Florida Supreme Court with candidates chosen by a commission and who are voted on by the electorate as to whether they will “retain” their positions. Students will learn how the U.S. Constitution is much more vague and short compared to the Florida Constitution which is ten times as long. Finally students will look at the different ways in which amendments are added to the Florida Constitution which include legislative proposals, the Florida Constitutional Commissions meeting every twenty years to suggest amendments and revisions and finally how all constitutional amendments must be ratified by the electorate. A reminder is provided that while these two constitutions complement each other, the Supremacy Clause clarifies what will happen if a conflict arises between the two documents.
• Completed lesson plan with step-by-step instructions
• PowerPoint presentation
• PDF’s provided for Google Doc users
• Smartboard activity
• Video Clip Links
• Bell ringers
Check out the YouTube video that goes with this lesson @ Mr. Raymond’s Civics EOC Academy YouTube channel:
While this lesson was designed for students taking the Civics EOC State Exam, it can be used for any Civics, US Government or social studies class.
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