Civics and Government by Krista Ellis & Hannah Roberts

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Overall Goals
  • Character Principles
  • Unit Objectives
  • Key Critical Concepts
  • Learning Activities
  • Resources and Materials
  • Classroom Diversity
  • Diagnostic Assessment
  • Course Map
  • Unit Map
  • Unit Schedule
  • Lesson Plans


"Civics and Government" Unit Plan

Grade Level: 3rd

SOL 3.10: The student will recognize the importance of government in the community, Virginia, and the United States of America by a) explaining the purpose of rules and laws; b) explaining that the basic purposes of government are to make laws, carry out laws, and decide if laws have been broken; c) explaining that government protects the rights and property of individuals.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.

Submitted 12/16/2016 by Krista Ellis and Hannah Roberts: EDUC 322 - 001.

Overall Goals

The goal of this unit is to show students the importance of following rules. The students will learn that rules and laws are put in place to protect us and ensure that we have enjoyable and safe experiences. Not only will they understand the importance of laws, but they will also understand the work that goes into planning and implementing these laws and the considerations that must be thought of. Hopefully this will all instill within the students a respect for authority.

Character principles

Loyalty: "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother." (Prov. 18:24) Loyalty is applicable to teaching because teachers need to be loyal to their responsibilities. They need to focus on the task that is needed to be completed and to understand that their students are depending on them. They need to be loyal and fair to all students and keep their priorities straight.

Responsibility: Citizenship: "Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed." (Titus 3:1) The students should understand that we have been given rights, and with those rights, come responsibilities. We should be good stewards of the freedoms and rights that we have been given.

Responsibility: Respect for Authority: "Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God." (Rom. 13:1) Respect for authority is very important to teach to students during this lesson. They need to understand that people in authority deserve respect and we must treat them appropriately as they have been places in their position by God.

Unit Objectives

The student will be able to:

  • Sort statements relating to the importance of rules/laws, the difference between rules and laws, and examples of rules and laws;
  • Identify laws in their school and community and their corresponding responsibilities;
  • Match the listed words to the function or fact about each branch of government;
  • Identify the purpose of the jury and the positions of key people in the courthouse setting;
  • Match the given law to the appropriate level.

Key Critical Concepts

The key critical concepts include: rights, citizenship, and authority. The students will be learning about our rights and the responsibilities that come with those rights. They will also be learning about our place as citizens in the United States. This includes our obligation to obey those in authority, which brings me to the next key concept. The students will be learning about who is in authority. They will also be learning about the laws and regulations put in place by those in authority.

Learning Activities and resources

BILL OF RIGHTS: The students will work with the teacher to create “Our Bill of Rights”. The teacher will have the poster board at the front of the class and will ask each student to write on a sticky note a right that they have a student in this classroom. She will collect the sticky notes and post them on “Our Bill of Rights” at the front of the room

The students will watch the following video and answer the following questions: What do you think would happen if you ran around the school pushing people? What if you robbed a bank? Why do you think they have such a different punishment? Well different people are in charge of different laws.

They will all go to the link provided below and click on the Journey Person badge (or Master badge if appropriate), followed by the branches of government. The students will divide into the same groups as the role-play activity and will be instructed to each choose a different branch of government. Each student will read about their branch on the app and draw a picture of what that branches job might look like. The student will write a sentence about its function underneath their picture and share their art and findings with the two other students in their group.

The students will each be given a piece of paper to create a foldable with. The teacher will direct the students to cut the paper to form three sections. They must label each section: “National Government”, “State Government”, and “Local Government”. The students will be directed to write a distinguishing feature as well as a law in each of the sections that represents that level of government.

The students will find instructions using the following link and participate in a mock trial.

The students will watch the following video and use the following link to find instructions on creating their own poster. This poster should include created laws, law enforcement considerations, and consequences.

Classroom Diversity

This class is diverse in many aspects including race, ethnicity, gender, socio economic level, as well as interest, attention span, and motivation. Each student is unique and no two students are alike in every manner. The majority of students in this classroom are African American and come from a lower socio economic home environment. However, there are Caucasian, Hispanic, and Korean students in this classroom as well. Few of these students come from business families and thus are in a higher socio economic environment at home. The interests of the class vary from automobiles to horses to outer space and more. The majority of students are easily motivated by chocolate and M&Ms tend to serve as a highly effective reward system.

The lesson plans incorporated differentiated teaching methods and activities to help meet the needs of all of the different types of learners. There are writing activities, drawing activities, discussion sessions, group work, and independent work. For students below grade level or LEP, working in pairs may be beneficial because the on grade level or above grade level students may be able to assist them.

Diagnostic Assessment

At the beginning of this unit, have the students split into groups of four. Provide students with a deck of cards, dice, and a board game. Instruct them to begin playing the game. However, this game has no rules or directions. When the students begin trying to play, they will get confused and undoubtedly ask questions. This will begin to raise questions of the purpose of rules. Encourage the students to continue discussing why rules are important. Give each student an entrance ticket on which they will write five things they know about rules or laws.

Course Map

The unit in RED represents the placement of this particular unit within a third grade social studies course.

Unit Map

The Webquests are made to complement these lessons.

Unit Schedule

This unit is meant to be implemented over the course of two weeks if all lesson plans go as expected.

Lesson Plans

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