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Overview

Essential Purpose

The role that government should have in society has varied from time to time and from country to country. In the United States the role of government has been an evolving process, capitalizing on the experiences of others and defined over time beginning with the founding fathers of our country. In modern times, government is constantly being redefined as political thinkers interpret what the founding fathers might have done in current situations.


Founding Fathers

This reinterpretation of what government is and what it should do for the people requires special obligations on the part of all the citizens. It is the citizens who bestow both the power and the right to rule on a government and who in return expect certain protections and services from the government.

However, the capacity to participate effectively in this political process requires knowledge of the system and an understanding of what the role of government should be in a democratic society.

National Standards for Civics and Government

Grades 5 8

State/Local Standards

States should align these modules to their own state/local standards as appropriate

Essential Questions

  1. What is the role of government in a democratic society?
  2. What are the basic ideas inherent in a democratic form of government?
  3. What is the role of the citizen in a democratic society?

Essential Content

Role of Government

Basic Ideas of American Democracy

Role of the Citizen

21st century Skills

Summative Assessment

This summative assessment is a transfer task that should be reviewed with students prior to completing the lessons in the unit.

Essential Questions Measured by the Summative Assessment:

  1. What is the role of government in a democratic society?
  2. What are the basic ideas inherent in a democratic form of government?
  3. What is the role of the citizen in a democratic society?

Printable Student View

Prior Knowledge
Problem
Role/
Perspective
Product
Criteria for an Exemplary Response
Now that you have learned about the role of government in our society and the ideas inherent in our Constitution, you are ready to see if these same ideas apply to you in everyday life.

Your teacher believes that the same democratic ideas that make American a wonderful place to live should also be part of your classroom experience. This means that your teacher knows that there is a reason for having rules in the classroom; that these rules need to be based on ideas of fairness and justice; and, that each student has a responsibility to see that these rules are followed and that the rights of all students are protected in the process.

You are the president of your class and will lead the class in the writing of a constitution for the class.

The teacher has asked you to develop an outline for a constitution that will be used by the class to write the constitution.

In this outline the teacher wants you to include:

  • The reasons that a classroom needs rules to operate effectively.
  • The basic ideas of American democracy which guide the making of rules and laws
  • The kinds of behavior expected of your classmates if they are to enjoy their rights in the classroom while respecting the rights of others.

Scoring Guide