Subject: Social Studies

Lesson Length: 40 - 45 mins

Topic: How The U.S. Government Works

Grade Level: 5

Standards / Framework:

Brief Description: Students will learn about the three branches of government and be able to differentiate between them.

Know Before You Start:

  • This lesson works well as an introduction to the three branches of government. 

  • The Pixton lesson on “Checks and Balances” serves as a great companion to this activity.

  • Vocabulary e.g., constitution and democracy.


  • Begin a discussion by asking: “Who is in charge of the United States government?”

  • Use this discussion as a springboard to introduce the three branches of government and why the nation’s founders decided on this method of governing. 

  • Read and discuss the sample comic.

    • Which branch of government is represented in the comic?

    • What are the duties of this branch of government?

Activity: It’s time to discuss the branches of government in a comic!

  • Have students select one of the three branches of government.

  • Using the sample comic as a guide, have them demonstrate their knowledge of that branch in a two-panel comic.

    The comic should include: 
  • Which branch they selected.

  • Who leads this branch.

  • What the job of this branch of government is.

Closure: Use the Jigsaw method to group students. Have students present their comics to the group to teach other group members about their branch of government.


  • Allow students to use the speech-to-text feature.


  • Comic to print or display: Comic.