To understand the importance of government in the lives of the American people.
1 class period
Every American is affected by government in countless ways during their lifetime. Yet most people give little or no thought to the extent which the federal, state, and local governments impact their daily lives.
Students begin this lesson by looking at a list of twelve ways (in box 1) government serves the interests of the American people. They must then choose one area that they think is the most important, and underline it in the list. Choices include such things as postal services, minimum wage laws, air traffic control, highway construction, and product safety laws. Once they have made a selection, each class member will then give reasons for their choice (30-50 words). You can ask for a few volunteers to read the paragraph they have written.
Continue in the same way with boxes 2-4, each of which contains twelve additional ways government serves the interests of the American people.
Next, students answer two Thought Questions. For example, one asks them to list 12 areas government directly or indirectly affects their lives at this time.
After the kids have used their critical thinking skills in the first half of the lesson, this activity concludes with a fun contest. Without looking at the first two activity sheets, class members try to fill in as many missing words in government services and programs as possible. The first letter of each answer is given as a clue. Correct answers are worth either 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 points. A perfect score is 100.
Easy-to-follow Teacher Instructions and answer key included.