Key Concepts

    checks and balances




    individual rights

    limited government

    popular sovereignty

    purposes of government

    rule of law

    separation of powers
    Additional Key Concepts
    governmental structures


    Graphic Organizer

    Unit 1 

    Unit Abstract:

    This unit provides students with an opportunity to review essential civics and government concepts learned in previous grades. It also establishes a common foundation that sets the stage for deeper discussions about government throughout the year as students explore the question: Why is the federal government organized to give and to limit power? Students begin by examining what life would be like in the absence of government and hypothesize about the reasons people form governments.  Next, students review core democratic values and principles upon which our government is based and investigate how they are rooted in the organization of the federal government.  In doing so, concepts such as limited government, popular sovereignty, rule of law, and individual rights are stressed.  Students analyze and explain how the Preamble to the Constitution reflects the purposes of government and explore other parts of the Constitution for evidence of federalism, limited government, and individual rights.  In learning about federalism, students compare the powers delegated to the federal government and those reserved to the states (or the people).  Contemporary examples of government in action are used throughout the unit.  Moreover, this unit provides teachers with the opportunity to connect classroom rules with ideas about government, including why people form governments, what happens without rules or laws, and the importance of the rule of law. Finally, this unit allows for a seamless connection to Constitution Day, which is required by federal law.



    Content Expectations 

    4 - C1.0.2:      Explain probable consequences of an absence of government and of rules and laws.

    4 - C2.0.1:      Explain how the principles of popular sovereignty, rule of law, checks and balances, separation of powers, and individual rights (e.g., freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of press) serve to limit the powers of the federal government as reflected in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    4 - C3.0.2:      Give examples of powers granted to the federal government (e.g., coining of money, declaring war) and those reserved for the states (e.g., driver’s license, marriage license).

    4 - C3.0.3:      Describe the organizational structure of the federal government in the United States (legislative, executive, and judicial branches).

    4 - C3.0.4:      Describe how the powers of the federal government are separated among the branches.

    4 - C3.0.5:      Give examples of how the system of checks and balances limits the power of the federal government (e.g., presidential veto of legislation, courts declaring a law unconstitutional, congressional approval of judicial appointments).

    5 – U3.3.6:    Describe the principle of federalism and how it is expressed through the sharing and distribution of power as stated in the Constitution (e.g., enumerated and reserved powers).



    Lesson Sequence

    Lesson 1:  Why Do We Have a Government?

    Lesson 2:  Core Democratic Values and Constitutional Principles in the Constitution

    Lesson 3:  How is Our Government Organized to Limit Power?

    Lesson 4:  The Constitution, Federalism, and Limited Government

    Lesson 5:  Comparing Powers – State and Federal Governments




    Selected Response Items -  see MEAP released questions below

    Constructed Response Items

    4 – C2.0.1

    4 – C3.0.3

    4 – C3.0.4

    4 – C3.0.5

    Explain how our core democratic values and constitutional principles serve to limit the power of government.

    Performance Assessments



    4 – C3.0.2

    5 – U3.3.6

    Construct a Venn diagram that gives examples of the powers delegated to the federal government, powers reserved to the states, and the powers that are shared by both state and federal government. Use the examples from the Venn diagram to explain in writing the principle of federalism and why some rights remain with the people.



    4 – C3.0.3
    4 – C3.0.4
    4 – C3.0.5
    Construct a poster display that describes the powers of each branch of government and explains through examples how the system of checks and balances works.
    Related 6th Grade MEAP Released Questions:
    1.  Which constitutional right is a teacher protecting when listening to different points of view from students?
    A.  Right to Privacy    B.  Right to Vote     C.  Freedom of Speech    D.  Freedom of Religion
    2.  Which is an example of enforcing a law?
    A.  Correct Answer   B.  Giving orders    C.  Giving an assignment    D.  Writing a story
    3.  Which phrase best completes this diagram?
    A.  Printing money     B.  Taxing Citizens     C.  Making treaties     D.  Delivering mail
    4.  Which is a goal of the United Nations?
     ---did not have the options printed out
    5.  How does the judicial branch protect the rights of its citizens?
    A.  by vetoing bills    B.  by signing treaties    C.  by interpreting laws     D.  by appointing officials
    6.  Lisa is running for class president.  What constitutional right allows her classmates to create posters supporting Lisa for president? 
    A.  due process     B.  freedom of speech    C.  freedom of religion    D.  property ownership
    7.  Which group settles disputes about laws?
    8.  Describe the role of the legislative branch of government
    9.  Identify an example of taking part in an election
Last Modified on February 14, 2018