First Day Activity for Civics or Government

Rated 4.81 out of 5, based on 16 reviews
16 Ratings
Let's Cultivate Greatness
Grade Levels
9th - 12th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
6 PDF pages
Let's Cultivate Greatness
Also included in
  1. Transform your Civics American Government classroom to be inquiry-driven and project-based and start cultivating authentic learning with this complete semester course, plus bonuses!This is the course I wish existed my first years teaching Civics and then again years later when I found myself teachin
    Price $169.97Original Price $215.50Save $45.53


Challenge your students to access their incoming knowledge of very foundational concepts in your Civics or American Government class as well as their soft skills of creativity and collaboration.

What is "government"? What about "democracy"? More meaningfully, what do they LOOK like?


Greatness is holding a deep and thoughtful understanding of the everyday concepts often taken for granted.

Included in this FREEBIE Activity:

- Teacher overview and lesson plan

- Concept slips and drawing sheet for both “government” and “democracy”

- Concept Definition sheet for ongoing, unit- or course-long learning

This introductory, print-and-go activity is perfect for the opening day of class or any number of units of study: the Constitution, three branches, checks and balances, or comparative governments!

In small groups, challenge students to illustrate the broad concept for others to guess. You'll be amazed atall the creative ways students will share their incoming understandings, misconceptions, and personal values! But don't tell them they are all drawing the same concept :)

Who is going to guess first that each group's unique drawing is illustrating the same thing?

Their drawings make for a wonderful kick-off to discussing these concepts!

Then, over the course or unit build up their understanding further with an individual growing Concept Definition record sheet.

Want more resources on America’s democracy?

PBL Unit: 3 Branches of Government, Checks and Balances Unit

PBL Mini-Unit: 3 Branches of Government, Checks and Balances

PBL Mini-Unit: Civic Participation & The Legislative Branch


Looking to switch to inquiry-driven, project-based units?

Foundations of American Democracy examine the principles and values on which our government is founded

Voting & Elections Unit explore a variety of voting issues; universal for any upcoming election

Three Branches Unit contrast how the federal government works in theory and in practice

Constitutional Rights Unit determine exactly how our rights translate into daily American life

Want to browse the full curriculum?

Civics to Empower Whole Course Bundle teach this inquiry-driven and project-based semester course with confidence!

This listing is for one license for regular, non-commercial classroom use by a single teacher only. In upholding copyright law, PDF resources are uneditable and resources made for Google Classroom have some editing abilities. By purchasing a license to this resource, you have access to all future updates at no cost, available under “My Purchases". Multiple and transferable licenses are available for purchase. To request a complete terms of use prior to purchase or if you have any questions about this resource, please leave a question below under Product Q&A.

Total Pages
6 PDF pages
Answer Key
Does not apply
Teaching Duration
30 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.
Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.


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