You are on page 1of 3

Title: Three-Way Tug of War Grade Level: 5th Time: 30 minutes Essential Standards: 5.C&G.1.

2Summarize the organizational structures and powers of the United States government (legislative, judicial and executive branches of government). Integrated Curriculum Standards: Science 5.P.1Understand force, motion and the relationship between them. 5.P.1.4Predict the effect of a given force or a change in mass on the motion of an object. Math 5.G.3Understand that attributes belonging to a category of two-dimensional figures also belong to all subcategories of that category. English Language Arts 5.W.1Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information. 5.W.10Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences. Objectives: Students will. Identify the characteristics of an equilateral triangle Identify the necessary conditions to balance a scale Model separation of powers through a tug of war demonstration Reflect on the structure of the United States Government based on the symbols balanced weight, equal force, and an equilateral triangle Materials: Long, sturdy rope Colored Tape Felt equilateral triangle Felt representations of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government Balance Objects of varying weights Procedures: Before: Ask the students what they know about the government structure of the United States. Who is part of the government? What do they do? Pull out the balance scale and several different weights. Put a weight on one side of the balance and ask the students, is this a balanced scale? How can I balance the

scale? What would I need to do? Write your thoughts in your journal and then we will share. So, in order to balance the scale, there must be equal weight on each side. Tape the felt triangle on the board. Hold up another equilateral triangle for the class to see. What is this? What kind of shape? Be more specific? What kind of triangle is this? How do you know Write your thoughts in your journal. An equilateral triangle has three sides that are all the same length, three angles that measure the same degrees, and three points where all the sides meet. The United States government is structured in a very similar way. There are 3 branches of government. (Write Legislative, Executive, and Judicial on the board and place the felt representations of each on a point of the felt triangle) Each branch has roles, responsibilities, and powers to help meet the need of the people. But, no branch of government can have more power over another. To make sure of this, the founding fathers put a system into place that would separate the power between the 3 branches. Then, using a system of checks and balances (write on the board), each branch ensures that no other branch gains too much control. Today, we are going to model how power is balanced between the three branches. During: Have the students move all of the desks to the side of the room. Place the connected rope in the middle of the room in the shape of a triangle. A different color tape should be wrapped around the rope at three corners dividing the rope equally. Separate the class as evenly as possible behind each point of the triangle. The first person in line at each point will hold the rope. Ask the students to pull gently on the rope so that there is no slack. To one group say, Pull harder on your rope on one side. What happened to the other group? What would they need to do to keep from moving or falling over? So in order to stay still each side needs to be pulling with the same force. Turn to another group and ask them to do the same thing. To the final group, ask them to drop their rope. What happened to the shape? If one side lets go, the shape loses its structure. You all had to work together to keep the shape of the triangle by exerting the same force of pull on the rope. The government works the same way. Each branch has equal power and can pull back against another branch if they try to exert too much power. After: Think back on the three-way tug of war. What happened when one side pulled harder than another? What about when one side dropped the rope? How do you think this is similar to the structure of the US government? What do you think is most important about the structure of the US government? Record your answers in your journal. Differentiation: Students who struggle with writing can give their answers orally or use pictures to describe what they mean. Assessment:

Students will be assessed based on teacher observation notes and journal entries. The teacher will assess students on each objective based on whether or not they have completed the objective using a + or -. Example: Name Joe Ben Sarah Objective 1 + + Objective 2 + + Objective 3 + + + Objective 4 + + -