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1 THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH Introduce students to the executive branch in one class period with this easy lesson plan. First, kick students off with our optional sponge activity while you re taking care of business, then show our video on the Executive Branch. Using our printable resources, have the class read a short passage that reinforces and builds on the video, then guide students as they use what they ve learned to complete a graphic organizer and worksheet. With the last few minutes of class, take them right up to the bell with a no-materials-required, activeparticipation assessment activity. Objectives/Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to describe the structure of the Executive Branch. Student will be able to explain the roles of the President and the Executive Branch departments. Students will be able to define key terms associated with the Executive Branch. Materials: Executive Branch video on (optional) Executive Branch reading page Executive Branch worksheet Executive Branch graphic organizer worksheet (optional) Executive Branch active participation teacher page Sponge Activity/Bell Work: This is designed to be an open-ended, ungraded brainstorming-type activity that students begin the moment they sit down and that gets them thinking about the topic. You can provide scratch paper or they can provide their own. On the board, write the following question for which students will brainstorm answers: Procedure: 1. Show the Executive Branch video found on OurCourts.org. The video is also broken down into individual chapters so you have the option to review certain topics afterward. (If you can t show the video, start with the reading page.) 2. Give students a copy of the Executive Branch reading page. Read the passage as a class. 3. Have students complete the Executive Branch graphic organizer. You may want to read through this page with the class to be sure they understand the task. 4. Assess students with the Executive Branch worksheet. 5. Stop students a few minutes early and do an informal assessment the group using either the true/false or A/B active participation assessment activities. Accommodations: Chorally read the passage. Repeat and reinforce bolded words. Read worksheet to the class or as a chorus List as many activities as you can think of that the President might do during a typical day.

2 Execute means to carry out THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH Is It Lonely at the Top? No way! That s because in our government there is no top. The President is our leader, but our government was specially designed so the executive branch must share power with the legislative and judicial branches. Yeah, sure, but No, really! The Constitution of the United States gives the President executive power, which means the President s job is to carry out laws passed by the legislative branch. The Constitution gives the President very few powers of his own. Most of the time, the President has to work closely with the legislative branch in order to accomplish anything. For example, the President can appoint new justices to the Supreme Court but only with the Senate s approval. Or the President can make treaties with other countries but only with the Senate s approval. The President has the power to order troops into battle, but only Congress can declare war. And the President can veto laws that Congress passes, but he cannot make laws. Short End of the Stick? Don t start feeling sorry for the President yet. The President has lots of special jobs. One of the most important is deciding which issues the country should focus on. There are many problems that need to be solved, and the President sets an agenda for the country by deciding which problems deserve the most attention. Then he will suggest ideas for laws that Congress should pass to help solve those problems. In the process, the President communicates with the American people about the issues he believes are important for the country. Often the President will hold a press conference to make announcements and answer questions from newspaper and television reporters. Also, once a year the President gives a State of the Union Address to discuss important issues facing our nation and what should be done about them. But Wait There s More! As Commander in Chief, the President is in charge of the entire military. The President also has the power to pardon people who have committed crimes, which means they get to go free. In addition, when leaders of foreign countries visit the United States, the President receives them and makes them feel welcome. To-Do List Set agenda Hold press conference Veto bill Meet with cabinet OK treaty with Senate Welcome foreign leader Suggest new law Run for reelection! The President The Cabinet Heads of government departments give advice to help the President Departments of Government Each department has a different purpose and works to carry out laws related to that purpose Getting the Work Done There s more to the executive branch than just the President. The executive branch is huge! That s because it s mostly made up of many departments that are in charge of carrying out different kinds of laws. For example, the Department of Education carries out education laws. The Department of Homeland Security carries out laws designed to secure our borders and keep the country safe from terrorism. Each department has lots of employees that do the everyday work of carrying out laws. Advice, Please! Nobody could carry out the laws of the United States all alone! That s why the President gets lots of advice from the people who are in charge of the departments. This group is called the cabinet. Each department head keeps the President updated about issues facing that department and offers advice about what should to be done to carry out the laws more effectively. That was Fun Can I Do it Again? A President and Vice-President get elected as a team, and they serve a four-year term. At the end of the four years they can run for office again, and if they win they will serve four more years. Eight years is the limit, though nobody is allowed to be President longer than that. A new President brings a new agenda for the country and chooses new leaders for each department of government.

3 THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH Name Date A. That s Incorrect! Whoever wrote these sentences needs some help understanding the executive branch! Cross out the parts that are wrong and make corrections on the line provided. The President s job is to carry out the laws he makes. The executive branch is made up of only the President. As Commander in Chief, the President is in charge of the entire Department of Education. The President and Vice President get appointed to a four-year term. The President doesn t need anyone s approval to appoint new Supreme Court justices. A new President keeps the outgoing President s agenda and cabinet. When foreign leaders visit our country, the President snubs them and gives them the cold shoulder. Nobody would dare try to give advice to the President. The Constitution gives the President total power over the government. D T F E W G L P Y S A C H U N R C Z W S Y H T J O Q P E X N A D N E G A R H V Y D H E T B E G I T T E F U I S R X V I M E E T I D R S N E L E R N L O J Z W G E Z F C X C R E F K X G F R N N I X L U C T M F N D P H O D Z Z O T H X D S U E A C D P J F E E S J L P C D S G R G K D U A X C B I V S L R A Z N N D Q H P V I E J W N P R I U A X N A C R O L G V L O H K F H D E P A R T M E N T S Z B. Word Search. Find and circle a word that matches each clue: Means to carry out How a person gets to become President Large units of government in charge of carrying out different kinds of laws The President s decision about which problems deserve the most attention When Congress passes a law, the President can choose to do this to reject it Number of years in one presidential term of office The President s yearly speech The group of people who advise the President Total number of years anybody can be President The President can do this for a person who committed a crime This person gets elected with the President What the cabinet gives the President Mystery Word: One word is in the puzzle but not in the clue list. Write that word and its definition below:

4 THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH Name Teacher s Key Date A. That s Incorrect! Whoever wrote these sentences needs some help understanding the executive branch! Cross out the parts that are wrong and make corrections on the line provided. The President s job is to carry out the laws he makes. passed by the legislative branch The executive branch is made up of only the President. the President and many departments As Commander in Chief, the President is in charge of the entire Department of Education. military The President and Vice President get appointed to a four-year term. elected The President doesn t need anyone s approval to appoint new Supreme Court justices. needs the Senate s approval A new President keeps the outgoing President s agenda and cabinet. chooses his own cabinet and make a new agenda When foreign leaders visit our country, the President snubs them and gives them the cold shoulder. _receives them and makes them feel welcome Nobody would dare try to give advice to the President. The members of the cabinet give The Constitution gives the President total power over the government. shared power with the other branches, and a few powers of his own D T F E W G L P T S A C H U N R C Z W S Y H T J O Q P E X N A D N E G A R H V Y D H E T B E G I T T E F U I S R X V I M E E T I D R S N E L E R N L O J Z W G E Z F C X C R E F K X G F R N N I X L U C T M F N D P H O D Z Z O T H X D S U E A C D P J F E E S J L P C D S G R G K D U A X C B I V S L R A Z N N D Q H P V I E J W N P R I U A X N A C R O L G V L O H K F H D E P A R T M E N T S Z B. Word Search. Find and circle a word that matches each clue: Means to carry out execute How a person gets to become President elected Large units of government in charge of carrying out different kinds of laws departments The President s decision about which problems deserve the most attention agenda When Congress passes a law, the President can choose to do this to reject it veto Number of years in one presidential term of office four The President s yearly speech state of the union The group of people who advise the President cabinet Total number of years anybody can be President eight The President can do this for a person who committed a crime pardon This person gets elected with the President vice president What the cabinet gives the President advice Mystery Word: One word is in the puzzle but not in the clue list. Write that word and its definition below: press conference: the President makes announcements and answers questions from reporters

5 EXECUTIVE BRANCH SCRAMBLE! Name Directions: The executive branch is made up of many departments. Each department has a mission and lots of agencies inside the department to help carry out the laws. The four departments in this list are all mixed up, and it s your job to reorganize them! Fill in the chart by finding a place for each department, mission, and agency on the list. And don t forget who s in charge! Food Safety and Inspection Service (inspects the food supply to make sure it is safe and properly labeled) Department of Agriculture To manage the government s money and finances U.S. Mint (prints paper money and makes coins) To keep the country secure from terrorists and welcome lawful immigrants Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration (provides security for airlines and other transportation) To help workers, people looking for work, and retired people. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (assists people from other countries who want to become a United States citizen) Food and Nutrition Service (helps low-income families buy food) The President Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration (enforces laws about peoples rights at work) Internal Revenue Service (collects taxes) To help the country have a safe and productive food system Department of the Treasury Occupational Safety & Health Administration (makes sure employers follow laws about creating a safe workplace) D E P A R T M E N T S Mission: Mission: Mission: Mission: A G E N C I E S a n d S E R V I C E S

6 EXECUTIVE BRANCH SCRAMBLE! Name Teacher s Key Directions: The executive branch is made up of many departments. Each department has a mission and lots of agencies inside the department to help carry out the laws. The four departments in this list are all mixed up, and it s your job to reorganize them! Fill in the chart by finding a place for each department, mission, and agency on the list. And don t forget who s in charge! Food Safety and Inspection Service (inspects the food supply to make sure it is safe and properly labeled) Department of Agriculture To manage the government s money and finances U.S. Mint (prints paper money and makes coins) To keep the country secure from terrorists and welcome lawful immigrants Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration (provides security for airlines and other transportation) To help workers, people looking for work, and retired people. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (assists people from other countries who want to become a United States citizen) Food and Nutrition Service (helps low-income families buy food) The President Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration (enforces laws about peoples rights at work) Internal Revenue Service (collects taxes) To help the country have a safe and productive food system Department of the Treasury Occupational Safety & Health Administration (makes sure employers follow laws about creating a safe workplace) Note: Departments can be in any order going across. Department of Agriculture Department of Homeland Security The President Department of Labor Department of the Treasury D E P A R T M E N T S Mission: To help the country have a safe and productive food system Mission: To keep the country secure from terrorists and welcome lawful immigrants Mission: To help workers, people looking for work, and retired people Mission: To manage the government s money and finances A G E N C I E S a n d Transportation Occupational Safety & S Security E Administration R V Health I Administration C E S U.S. Mint Food and Nutrition Service Food Safety and Inspection Service U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Standards Administration Internal Revenue Service

7 ACTIVE PARTICIPATION INFORMAL ASSESSMENT #1 EXECUTIVE TRUE/FALSE Procedure Tell students you are going to read a series of true/false questions. Tell them that when you have finished reading each statement (sometimes you may need to repeat the statement), you will ask them to tell you whether the statement is true or false. There are several ways you can have students respond: Ask them to give you a thumbs up if the answer is true and a thumbs down if it s false. Have students call out true or false in a chorus. Make a quick set of T/F cards using index cards. On each card, write a large T on one side and F on the other. Give each student a card and ask them to answer by showing you the T side or the F side. Either way, ask students to wait until you have finished reading the statement to respond. Example Teacher: Class: Teacher: The President stays in office for ten years. True or false? (showing thumbs down) Great! Everyone is showing me that s wrong. What is the limit? (This is a good opportunity to verbally reinforce the material with students) 1. The President s job is to make laws all by himself. (F) 2. The President is all there is to the executive branch. (F) 3. The President sometimes suggests laws that Congress should pass. (T) 4. The Vice President is the only person in the President s cabinet. (F) 5. The President is called the Commander in Chief because he is in charge of the military. (T) 6. If a President and Vice President really love their jobs, after eight years they can run for office again. (F) 7. When the President decides which problems should have priority, that s called his agenda. (T) 8. Executive means to order troops into battle. (F) 9. Whatever powers the President does have, he gets from the Constitution. (T) 10. The President can pardon people who have committed crimes. (T) 11. The executive branch has more power than the other two branches. (F) 12. The President can declare war. (F) 13. The President yearly speech is called a press conference. (F) 14. Each department in the executive branch is in charge of carrying out certain kinds of laws. (T) 15. The cabinet is where the President keeps all his dishes. (F)

8 ACTIVE PARTICIPATION INFORMAL ASSESSMENT #2 EXECUTIVE A/B Procedure Tell students you are going to read a series of statements that are not complete. Tell them that when you have finished reading each statement (sometimes you may need to repeat the statement), you will give them two possible answers an A answer and a B answer. There are several ways you can have students respond: Ask them to give you a thumbs up if the answer is A and a thumbs down if the answer is B. Have students call out A or B in a chorus. Make a quick set of A/B cards using index cards. On each card, write a large A on one side and B on the other. Give each student a card and ask them to answer by showing you the A side or the B side. In addition to reading the answer options, you can also make an overhead with an A column and a B column so the students can see the answers as you go along. Either way, ask students to wait until you have finished reading the statement to answer. Example Teacher: The President s term of office is. Is it A: Eight years, or B: Four years? Class: (saying or showing B) Teacher: Great! Everyone is saying it s four years. Where did the 8 years come from? (This is a good opportunity to verbally reinforce the material with students) QUESTION A B The group that advises the President is his department cabinet If the President wants to appoint a new Supreme The Senate s Court justice he needs approval nobody s approval The Constitution authorized the President to carry out laws make laws During a press conference, the President talks to his cabinet journalists and reporters The President s most important job is choosing issues welcoming foreign to focus on leaders A person becomes President by being chosen by elected by the Congress people To make treaties with other countries, the President needs nobody s approval the Senate s approval To veto a law Congress passed, the President needs nobody s approval the Senate s approval The executive branch is large small Compared to the other branches, the executive branch has equal power the most power The President and Vice-President get elected separately as a team The cabinet is made up of department members of heads Congress When the President pardons someone, they must have a new trial get to go free The Department of Transportation probably carries out When a new President comes in, the old President s agenda farming laws gets re-used transportation laws gets replaced

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