FOURTH GRADE: Students will reflect on the different branches of the government

Download Lesson Plan: Three Branches of Government Quilt


Normal Park Museum Magnet School Author(s): 4th grade team
Standard: 4.41- Describe the principles embedded in the Constitution including: purposes of government listed in the Preamble, separation of powers, branches of government, check and balances, the amendment process, principle of judicial review, recognition of and protection of individual rights in the 1st Amendment State: Tennessee
Content Area: History; Social Studies Time Duration: 60 minutes
Learning Target: Students will reflect on the different branches of the government Materials: square pieces of paper, string, pencil, colored pencils, markers
Key Vocabulary: judicial, executive, legislative Technology


Engage Now: Opening Start with three hula hoops that overlap and make a type of Venn diagram.  Inside each hoop is a piece of paper with the branch of the government (executive, legislative, judicial).  As a class we discuss what we know about the government.
Teach Now:

Mini Lesson

We lay down cards describing the duties of each branch.  I use arrows to show them how checks and balance work in each branch of the government so that no one group has too much power.  As a class we start writing words on sticky notes that represent each branch and laying them inside the hula hoop.  We discuss how our government relates to a quilt.  Our government was put together by several leaders so that not one person or group of people had too much power.  They fought for weeks trying to decide on a government that would work.
Explore Now: Independent Practice Students go back to their desk with a square piece of paper to represent a quilt piece.  Students were assigned one of the three branches of government.  They picked one word to represent that branch and wrote it on the quilt piece.  They also had time to decorate their quilt piece.
Closing: Students came back together as a group to share their quilt pieces and to make our pieces into one quilt.  We discussed how we were unified as one government.
Show Me Now:
Students could informally talk about their quilt piece and their understanding and knowledge for each branch of the government.
Differentiation Opportunities: Some students may need to be given a word and only come up with the explanation or vis versa.  Advanced students may be asked to come up with one word to symbolize all three branches of the government.
Class/Home Extensions: We put the quilt on display in the hallway.  On exhibit night parents are welcome to come and see the projects made by students.  Students are given another opportunity to explain how the government works to their parents.
Expedition Opportunities: Students were able to go to the county courthouse and meet with someone from the three branches of local government.