Identifying the three branches of Virginia government and the functions of each.
SUGGESTED INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES
TEACHER BACKGROUND RESOURCES
- In this lesson, students will learn the structure and responsibility of Virginia government.
- Before teaching this lesson, make a large tree with three
branches and make leaves or label cards containing the names and
functions of each branch of government (legislative, executive, and
judicial). Create a worksheet with a tree on it.
Students will add leaves of essential knowledge to their trees during
the session while the teacher adds information to the class size tree.
- Define government as being the organization through
which political authority is exercised. Have students recall what they
know about the first form of government in Virginia (House of Burgesses
and General Assembly of Virginia). Ask which exists today (Virginia
- Display classroom tree and leaves, and explain each branch
and its function. As you explain, move the leaf to the correct branch.
Students will follow.
- Complete the first leaf with the following information: The
General Assembly is the legislative branch of Virginia government that
makes state laws. It is divided into two parts: the Senate and the
House of Delegates.
- Complete the next leaf with the following information: The
governor heads the executive branch of state government. The executive
branch makes sure that state laws are carried out.
- Complete the last leaf with the following information: The
judicial branch is the state’s court system. The judicial branch
decides cases about people accused of breaking the law and whether or
not a law agrees with Virginia’s Constitution.
- Optional activity: View Virginia Pathways, Episode 3, Virginia Government.
- Optional activity: Remove all leaves from the branches of the
classroom tree. Divide the class into three to six groups. Time each
group as they sort the leaves to the correct branches of the tree.
- Create a flip chart (waterfall booklet) of the branches of
Virginia government. On one side write the name of the branch of
government and on the flip side describe the duties of the branch as
well as the people who hold an office in that branch.
- Draw conclusions from the official Web site of the General
Assembly, which includes activities, printables and publications,
teacher resources, links of interest, and student programs:
- Make connections about the role of government in Virginia by researching this Web site:
- Provide additional background information about the branches of government from Ben's Guide to U.S. Government.
This is the official Web site of the General Assembly, which includes
activities, printables and publications, teacher resources, links of
interest, and student programs. More resources are available at the Capitol Classroom web pages: http://capclass.virginiageneralassembly.gov/.
This Web site provides students with valuable legislative and
historical information about the U.S. House of Representatives and the
Office of the Clerk. The site's content is geared toward middle
school-aged students (8-13 years old).