The Three Branches of the U.S. Government

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 the U.S. 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 lesson on “Checks and Balances” serves as a great companion to this activity. Terms to know: constitution and democracy.

Hook:

  • 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:

  • Have students select one of the three branches of government.
  • Using the sample comic as a guide, have students 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.

Differentiation:

  • Allow students to use the speech-to-text feature.
  • Allow students to work in pairs or groups as needed.

Resources:

  • Comic to print or display