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Fall Lesson Plan: Civics

Title: Making America Great AgainPicking the Perfect Presidential Candidate


Lesson Author: Erin Dreelin and Brian Odenwald
Key Words: Presidency, Executive, Constitution, powers, responsibilities
Grade Level: 8th grade Civics
Time Allotted: 40 minutes
Rationale/ Purpose (so what?)
Nature and scope of topic. Why is this significant to the mission of educating future citizens?

This unit explores the executive branch of the United States government, with a particular focus
on the roles and powers of the President and Vice President. Additionally, students will analyze
how the executive branch consequently checks the powers of the legislative and judicial
branches. The unit will finish with a focus on presidential candidacy and campaigning. As civics
students, its important to evaluate and make informed decisions about presidential candidates.
Students are additionally expected to assess the traits and characteristics of effective leadership
and civic responsibility.

Background/Context: How does this lesson fit into a unit of study?

Looking backwards, looking

forwards

US Government, Article II of the US Constitution, the executive branch, role of the presidency,
powers of the presidency, requirements of the presidency, media shaping of political candidates,
path to the presidency, responsibilities of citizens, campaigning

Key Concept(s) include definition:


Presidential Candidate: a person who is nominated and backed by a political party, who
intends to run for the office of President of the United States
Presidential Campaign: the process of running for the office of President of the United States
through a series of speeches, national visits, and publicized debates
Executive Branch: one branch of the United States Government which is responsible for
overseeing the implementation of and enforcing legislation throughout the United States
Checks and Balances: the idea that each branch of the United States government holds
limitations and oversees the fairness of the actions of the other branches
Separation of Powers: the principle that the United States government is separated into three
separate branches (the legislative, executive, and judicial branches), which perform unique tasks
in order to govern the public

Fall Lesson Plan: Civics

NCSS Standard(s)
SOL Information
*As written in the Virginia SOL Curriculum Framework for the grade level

NCSS Theme (s) with indicators:


o

NCSS Standard #2: Time, Continuity, and Change

Knowledge and understanding of the past enable us to analyze the causes and consequences of events and
developments, and to place these in the context of the institutions, values and beliefs of the periods in which they
took place.

NCSS Standard #3: People, Places, and Environments


Todays social, cultural, economic and civic issues demand that students apply knowledge, skills, and
understandings as they address questions

NCSS Standard #5: Individuals, Groups, and Institutions


Institutions are the formal and informal political, economic, and social organizations that help us carry out,
organize, and manage our daily affairs.
It is important that students know how institutions are formed, what controls and influences them, how they
control and influence individuals and culture, and how institutions can be maintained or changed

NCSS Standard #6: Power Authority and Governance


The development of civic competence requires an understanding of the foundations of political thought, and the
historical development of various structures of power, authority, and governance. It also requires knowledge of the
evolving functions of these structures in contemporary U.S. society, as well as in other parts of the world.

NCSS Standard #10: Civic Ideals and Practices


An understanding of civic ideals and practices is critical to full participation in society and is an essential
component of education for citizenship, which is the central purpose of social studies.
Learning how to apply civic ideals as part of citizen action is essential to the exercise of democratic freedoms and
the pursuit of the common good.

SOL* :

VA DOE CE. 3 The student will demonstrate knowledge of citizenship and the rights,
duties, and responsibilities of citizens by
d) examining the responsibilities of citizenship, including registering and voting, communicating with
government officials, participating in political campaigns, keeping informed about current issues, and
respecting differing opinions in a diverse society;
e) evaluating how civic and social duties address community needs and serve the public good.

VA DOE CE.4 The student will demonstrate knowledge of personal character traits that
facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in civic life by
a) practicing trustworthiness and honesty;
b) practicing courtesy and respect for the rights of others;
c) practicing responsibility, accountability, and self-reliance;

d) practicing respect for the law

VA DOE CE.6 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the American constitutional
government at the national level by
d) describing the roles and powers of the executive branch

Fall Lesson Plan: Civics

Essential Knowledge

Essential Skills

(minimum for SOL Resource Guide)

(minimum for SOL Resource Guide)

-Exploring the role of the President


-Recognizing powers of the executive branch at a
national level
-Discussing the importance of exercising civil
responsibilities (like voting) and their impact on
elections

-analyzing campaigns for elective office, with


emphasis on the role of the media
-describing voter registration and participation

- formulate an informed, carefully reasoned position on


a community issue
- select and defend positions in writing, discussion, and
debate
-examining the responsibilities of citizenship, including
registering and voting, communicating with government
officials, participating in political campaigns, keeping
informed about current issues, and respecting differing
opinions in a diverse society
-evaluating how civic and social duties address
community needs and serve the public good

Guiding Question(s): MUST BE SHARED WITH STUDENTS AT BEGINNING OF EACH


LESSON- Visible in lesson procedure and materials.

The days big question:

What characteristics, attributes, and actions shape the ideal


presidential candidate?
Lesson Objective(s): clearly emerges from big question and rationale and standards and will align
with your assessment in Procedure and Process

Obj. 1
Identify the powers and responsibilities of the President, as outlined in the
U.S. Constitution
Obj. 2
Recognize alternative expectations and roles of presidential candidates
Obj. 3
Explore the role that presidential campaigns play in shaping the image of a
candidate
Assessment Tool(s) to be used- Everything above- goes to what you want them to
know/understand do- So what assessments are you going to use to help you manage and monitor that they
have got it-informal and formalmake one over-riding assessment connect to your closure.

Assessment 1. Formative Assessment: Each student designs a candidate, then presents and
defends their candidate, thereby participating and sharing their thoughts
Assessment 2. Summative Assessment: Exit Slip What characteristics, attributes, and
actions shape the ideal presidential candidate? (same as guiding question, meant to track
differences or change in thought as a result of lesson)

Fall Lesson Plan: Civics

Procedure/Process:
1) JUST DO IT! The Hook:
On your notes handout, please explain who is your favorite US President, and elaborate on why
you feel this way. Are there certain characteristics or actions which swayed you to pick this
person? (5 mins for answer and quick discussion)
2) Instructional sequence:
Processing Activity and Procedure include

Obj #
See above.

directions, question frames, assignment details, to be


given to students (these should all be made into
explicit materials (e.g. see material A) Do you have
opportunities for direct/guided instruction and
independent practice/engagement when appropriate
and time estimates.

Include pace/time for each activities e.g. (5


mins)

Check for Evidence of


Understanding
-Either Formal or Informal e.g.
assessments- question frames, quiz,
choice activities, discussion with
frame and your THATs A WRAP.
(Checks Essential Knowledge and
Skills should be in line with
assessment tools above)

Informal Assessment: This will


Just-Do-It: Have students name their favorite
later relate to the provided
President and explain their reasoning (3-5 mins
Just do it.
activity. Try to focus on
for answer and discussion)
characteristics, but actions are
important as well.
Begin PowerPoint Presentation (10-15 mins total)
Explore Article II of the US Constitution (the roles and requirements of the
executive branch) (5 mins)
Class Discussion: What are the new roles of the President? (5-10 mins)
(Some questions for the class: Should a candidate be technologically
friendly? Should a candidate have a family? How old should a candidate
Transition:
be? Could this play a factor in overall health? Should a candidate be
religious? What role does the media play in shaping a candidate? How
does media portrayal play into your view of candidates? These questions
are meant to probe the class to see whether or not they believe there is
additional criteria necessary to run for the presidency)
Identify the powers and responsibilities of the
President, as outlined in the U.S. Constitution

Informal Assessment: Required


to take some notes as
Objective
presentation occurs
#1
Recognize alternative expectations and roles of Informal Assessment:
presidential candidates
Discussion with some framing
questions
Introduce Activity: design your own presidential candidate (10 mins)
Transition:
Provide instruction to include factors like age, family connections,

Fall Lesson Plan: Civics


hometown location, previous experience, and 5-6 characteristics or
attributes that make them a good presidential candidate
1) Explore the role that presidential campaigns
play in shaping the image of a candidate

Objective
#2

2) Recognize alternative expectations and roles


of presidential candidates

1) Formative Assessment:
Students are expected to create
and present their candidates
2) Formative Assessment: Open
class discussion
Summative Assessment: Exit
slip posing essential question

3) Closure- THATS A WRAP that goes to opening question- and also in part to assessment tools at
least one key assessment tool. (Do you need a rubric)

Closing Discussion Questions:


What similarities appeared between your candidates? What differences?
In what areas do we seem to hold expectations about being a candidate (family,
background, wealth, etc)?
What can we take away from these depictions?
Do we hold higher expectations for presidential candidates than those outlined in article
II of the US Constitution?
Exit Slip: What characteristics, attributes, and actions shape the ideal presidential
candidate? (same as guiding question, meant to track differences or change in thought as
a result of lesson)

Modifications/Accommodations for Diverse Learners:

Have provided note sheets and half sheets ready


Assigned groupings to eliminate behavioral issues or time waste
Classroom arranged for activity: seamless movement around the room
Co-teaching: provides opportunity to help students one-on-one
Accommodating note sheet: extra space for writing, ability to work with same note sheet
on computer or other technology (can receive help from peers or note-takers)
Exit Slip and note sheets provided ample space to pose questions should student still have
concerns
Students could describe or write about their candidates, instead of drawing them
Activity may be excluded and opted for class discussion instead
Question to guide exploration have been provided as scaffolding
Students can work in smaller groups: allows opinions to be heard and eliminates shouting
or other disturbances
Small-group setting eliminates lack of participation

Fall Lesson Plan: Civics

Materials for use: (one resource per page- so it becomes a teacher or student handout, or overhead
directions or ppt presentation. Include photocopies if need be. Can you provide elements of choices in
materials or enrichment or support/anchor materials for different students?.

POWERPOINT SLIDES ATTACHED (Both teacher format and note-taking format for students)