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Foundations of Government
Karen Nielsen
Government and Civics

Unit created on 7/8/1999 EST.
Last modified 12/19/1999 11:10:41 AM EST.

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Fundamental Understandings (help)

Discovering the responsibilities of government provides a solid foundation for your entire curriculum. Students will be able to understand the main purposes of government, the origins of government existence, why government systems are necessary and how government systems developed as a source of authority. With this unit, you can present a clear picture of the development of politics, the role of the political system and perhaps most importantly, the role of citizenship. The four lessons affiliated with this unit are: 1. The Nature of a State 2. Discovering Aristotle's Three Forms of Government 3. The Four Functions of Government 4. Organize Your Own Government

Technology ISTE Standards (info) 

Identify capabilities and limitations of contemporary and emerging technology resources and assess the potential of these systems and services to address personal, lifelong learning, and workplace needs. Use technology tools and resources for managing and communicating personal/professional information (e.g., finances, schedules, addresses, purchases, correspondence). Select and apply technology tools for research, information analysis, problem-solving, and decision-making in content learning. Collaborate with peers, experts, and others to contribute to a content related knowledge base by using technology to compile, synthesize, produce, and disseminate information, models, and other creative works. Routinely and efficiently use online information resources to meet needs for collaboration, research, publications, communications, and productivity.

Information Literacy Standards (info) 

Accesses information efficiently and effectively Evaluates information critically and competently Uses information effectively and creatively Appreciates and enjoys literature and other creative expressions of information Recognizes the importance of information to a democratic society Practices ethical behavior in regard to information and information technology Participates effectively in groups to pursue and generate information

Relevance (help)

With a foundational understanding of the concepts of government, students are more likely to participate in the political process. Very few students can connect the role of government with their own life and have a tendency to believe government does not affect them in any way. Due to the advent of the media, students are more likely to hear the negatives of government rather than an emphasis on all of the positive aspects of living in a democratic society. This unit will emphasize the benefits of living in a structured environment where the government regulates human activity and behavior to promote safety and security for all citizens.

Assessment (help)

A. Informal checks on understanding throughout the unit (oral questioning, class discussion, reinforcement exercises) B. Accuracy of performance on homework assignments (written reflections, various handouts, ability to connect real-world experiences with governmental duties) C. Accuracy in completing Lesson Four. This project is a summation of the previous three lessons, therefore, the content of this project will demonstrate understanding and comprehension of the unit. (Self-assessment and peer-assessment will be utilized)

Components (help)

Four individual lessons comprise this unit: 1. The Nature of a State: In this teacher-directed activity, the students are expected to learn why the characteristics of a nation-state are vital to it's survival. The vocabulary in this unit will be a resource as the students will use these words to understand the concepts of government structure and to decipher the differences between government systems. Linguistic learners will benefit from this class discussion, note-taking activity, but all students will benefit from discovering how these characteristics include each one of them. 2. Discovering Aristotle's Three Forms of Government: Students will be expected to learn the essential vocabulary with this lesson, but instead of participating in a teacher-directed assignment, the students will engage in a cooperative learning activity which will allow them to role-play situations in various governmental structures. This full class role-play allows for successful command of information by spatial and bodily learners, rather than depending solely upon lecture/note-taking activities which may limit the comprehension of some students in the room. 3. The Four Functions of Government: This activity will allow students to integrate essential elements of technology and the Internet into their assignment. Once the students have recognized what the functions of government are and how these functions affect almost every aspect of their life, they will conduct an Internet search to locate specific examples of these functions which enables them to make real-world applications. A wide variety of information can be discussed following this activity and all students can benefit from hands-on learning. 4. Organize Your Own Government: This lesson pairs students to develop an entire government system, incorporating all of the information used in the previous three lessons. Students will have access to Web Design and/or PowerPoint technology which will enhance project presentation and emphasize the importance of technology integration into the classroom. All students will benefit from this activity because it allows them to take ownership of the facts they have learned and apply them to create an original government system, rather than randomly regurgitating information on a standard test.

URLs (help)


Workforce Competencies (info) (help)


The Four Functions of Government
Organize Your Own Government
Discovering Aristotle's Three Forms of Government
The Nature of a State

Copyright 1997-2003
Career Connection to Teaching with Technology
USDOE Technology Innovation Challenge Grant
Marshall Ransom, Project Manager
All rights reserved.

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