Three Branches of Government Lesson Plan


Teach students about the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the U.S. government.

  • Explain how the jobs in a school work together to make the school run efficiently.
  • Identify the key people, groups, and jobs for each branch of government.
  • Identify the checks and balances for the three branches of government.

Standard: NCSS Standard: VI. Power, Authority, & Government

Time Required: 60 minutes

Recommended Grade Level: 4-8

Topics: Government, History


Different Jobs Working Together

  1. Have students brainstorm a list of the different people in a school and their primary job duties (ex. Teacher, Principal, Cafeteria Worker, Custodian)
  2. Describe how the different jobs work together to make the school successful. Explain that our government works the same way. The government is divided into three branches. Each branch has a specific job.

Separation of Powers

  1. Before the activity, create cards for the students to sort.
    • Legislative Branch
    • Executive Branch
    • Judicial Branch
    • Congress
    • Legislator
    • House of Representatives
    • Senate
    • President
    • Vice President
    • Cabinet
    • Supreme Court
    • Justice
    • Enforces Laws
    • Makes Laws
    • Interprets Laws
  2. Put students in pairs or small groups. Instruct them to sort the cards. Match each branch of government with the people who work for that branch. Then match the branch with its primary responsibility.
  3. Review the people and job for each branch. Ask students why it is beneficial to have each branch of government have a different job?
  4. Extension Activity: Teachers can create cards with additional job descriptions as outlined in the Constitution.


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