USF's WebQuest 

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Unit Summary Teacher's Resources Day 1 Lesson Day 2 Lesson
Day 3 Lesson Day 4 Lesson Day 5 Lesson Day 6 Lesson
Day 7 Lesson Conclusion Student's Web Quest  

WebQuest Title:  Checks and Balances: The Students' Court: Historical Supreme Court Decisions    

Grade Level: 9 - 12th Grade Level

Dear Colleague:  This unit is designed to increase student level of understanding of  the three branches of the United States government as defined by the U.S. Constitution. The first section of the unit will cover the definitions, roles, functions, and separate responsibilities of the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch of the United States government. In addition, the relationship that the three branches have to each other will be clarified by defining the concepts of separation of powers, checks and balances, expressed powers, enumerated powers, elastic clause, veto, executive privilege, judicial review, and unconstitutional. This unit is designed to develop reading and thinking skills, as well. The second section of this unit will cover the WebQuest: "The Students' Court: Historical Supreme Court Decisions.

.Author:  Fay Osborn              

Date:  April 7, 2006              

Unit Summary:
Goals/Objectives:

  1. Students will be able to correctly define the three branches of the United States government in terms of their names, functions, responsibilities, and relationship to each other.

  2. Students will correctly identify the principles of separation of power, checks and balances, expressed powers, enumerated powers, elastic clause, veto, executive privilege, judicial review, and unconstitutional.

  3. Students will use critical thinking skills through the use of reading strategies: Prior Knowledge Activation Activities, Read Alouds, Concept Mapping, Vocabulary Word Maps, Mind Mapping, and Historic Frames.

NCSS Theme:                                                               

Florida Sunshine State Standards:

Days: 7 days - Block Schedule Time Frame

Content:

     The content of this unit will focus on the definitions, roles, functions, and responsibilities of the three branches of the United States government. Students will mine the first three articles of the U.S. Constitution to learn the intent of the Founding Fathers as to the specific roles of these branches. Students will role play these functions as they research four historical Supreme Court cases that involved all three branches of government in some manner.  Students will come to a clear understanding of the prescribed doctrines of the separation of powers and checks and balances as demonstrated by these cases. 

Methods:

Within this unit, the class is involved in prior knowledge activities, vocabulary activities, "Read Alouds," lectures, discussions, PowerPoint Presentations, concept mapping, internet research, role playing, script writing, and the WebQuest activity.

WebQuest  Summary:
Goals/Objectives:

  1. Students will use the internet to research specified historical Supreme Court Cases: Marbury v. Madison (1803), Plessey v. Ferguson (1896), Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954), and The United States v. Nixon (1974).

  2. Students will understand the relationship between the three branches of the U.S. government as played out in these four Supreme Court Cases.

  3. Students will be able to define separation of powers, checks and balances, expressed powers, elastic clause, veto, executive privilege, judicial review, and unconstitutional in terms of these four Supreme Court cases.

Days: 3 days - Block Schedule Time Frame

Content:

Students will be separated into four groups and assigned one of the four historical Supreme Court cases: Marbury v. Madison (1803), Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), Brown v. The Board of Education (1954), and The United States v. Nixon (1974). Each group will be further divided into mini-groups that will represent the three branches of the U.S. government. The students will research these cases through websites provided for them. They will be producing a reenactment of the case they are assigned. They will be required to write the script, create a PowerPoint Presentation to accompany their role-playing effort, and perform the reenactment for the class. Their production  must detail the case, explain the role each of the three branches of government played in the case, and the impact the ruling had on present day constitutional law. In addition, each group will be responsible for completing a History Frame Worksheet that will be provided.

Methods:

Through a WebQuest, students will research the internet as a resource for their class presentation. With each group further divided into the three separate branches of the U.S. government, each mini-group will be responsible for researching the role their branch played in their assigned case. Each mini-group must choose a spokesperson to present their branch's role in the case. The mini-groups will reassemble into their one court case group and all will then be responsible for assisting in the creation of the presentation. They presentation will involve role-playing, problem solving, and cooperative learning.

Teachers Resources

Unit Information:
    

Background Resources

Web-based Subject Matter Content
 Descriptions of the 3 branches of government: Go to  http://www.c-span.org/classroom/govt/3branches.asp

Supreme Court Website: Go to : http://www.supremecourtus.gov

Downloadable copies of Constitutional Documents: Go to: http://www.archives.gov

Then click under Most Requested/U.S. Constitution

Thorough description of U.S.Constitution: Go to: http://www.constitution.org
U.S. Senate Website: Go to: http://www.senate.gov/
Detailed Description of the Constitution: Go to: http://www.senate.gov/civics/constitution_item/constitution.htm
White House Website: Go to: http://www.whitehouse.gov/
 

Web Pedagogy Content
Examples of WebQuests /USF: Go to:  http://www.coedu.usf.edu/webquest/
Resources for teaching with WebQuests: Go to : http://webquest.sdsu.edu/materials.htm
Lesson Plan Suggestion for American Government: Go to: http://www.civiced.org/programs.php
Reading Strategy Worksheets: Go to:   http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/go/readquest/
 

 Other Resources
  More information on the 3 branches: Go to:http://www.trumanlibrary.org.
 


Unit Lesson Sequence
 


Day 1    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)

Prior Knowledge Activator: KWL

Students will make connections between what they already know and what they are going to learn on this topic. Instruction for KWL

KWL Worksheet

Introduction of Topic

Lecture

 

Read Aloud

Teacher and Students will read from the Constitution Read Aloud Handout

Concept Mapping

Class will fill out the Concept Map of the Three Branches of Government with the teacher using the Read Aloud Handout Blank Concept Map

Concept Map Powerpoint

 

Establish 4 groups

Class will be divided evenly into four groups to represent the branches of government: Senate, House of Representatives; Executive Branch; and Judicial Branch  

Summarize and discuss next day activities.

Check for understanding of material presented on this day  

 


Day 2    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)

Bell Work

Student Presentation: "On This Day in History"

 

Group Activity

4 groups set up to do Vocabulary Activity and Mind Mapping  

Vocabulary Powerpoint

PowerPoint of the unit vocabulary words defined and correct pronunciation given before students begin group activity. Vocabulary PowerPoint

Group Activity

Groups complete Vocabulary Word Maps and Mind Maps Instruction Vocabulary

Word Map

Instruction for Mind Mapping Activity

Mind Maps

 

 

Summarize and discuss next day activity  

Day 3    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)

Bell Work

Student Presentation: "On This Day in History"

 
Complete Group Activity Complete Activity and then have each group present their Mind Map. Copies of each Mind Map will be made for each member of the class by the teacher.  
Venn Diagram Activity

Establish relationship between the 3 Branches of Government

Instruction for Venn Diagram Activity

Venn Diagram Worksheet

 

Vocab. Quiz Review Review for Three Branches of Government Vocabulary Quiz Quiz Review

Day 4    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)

Bell Work

 

Student Presentation: "On This Day in History"

 

 

Vocabulary Quiz

Evaluation of Vocabulary Concepts

3Branches Quiz

Quiz Answer Key

Introduce WebQuest

Divide Class into WebQuest Groups

Instruction for Dividing into Groups

WebQuest

Explain how to navigate WebQuest and clarify assignment Use WebQuest
Summarize for tomorrow's activities Clarifying any questions before the start of the WebQuest activity  

Day 5    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)

Bell Work

Student Presentation: "On This Day in History"  
    WebQuest
    History Frame
    WebQuest Report Form

Day 6    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)
    WebQuest
  WebQuest Presentations Group Presentation Rubric
    Individual Rubric for Webquest  Presentation

Day 7    Back to Top
 

Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)
  WebQuest Presentations  
Prior Knowledge Activator Brainstorm with class what they have learned during this unit.Complete KWL  

 

Students WebQuest

Go to Students' Section

Conclusion:

At the conclusion of this unit, students should possess a firm understanding of the roles and relationships between the three branches of the United States government. Students should also have a clear understanding of the purposes and implementations of the doctrines of separation of powers, checks and balances, veto, executive privilege, judicial review, and unconstitutional. Students will clearly see how the Constitution is the foundation of our government and how this document effects their own lives on a daily basis.

Credits/References:

Monk, Linda R. The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to The Constitution. New York: Hyperion,2003.

O'Connor, Karen and Sabato, Larry J. American Government: Continuity and Change. New York: Longman, 2000.

 

 

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