Students watch a video about John Adam’s argument for the separation of power in government. Students learn about the three branches of government and some of their key responsibilities. Then, students write their own arguments for the separation of power.
This lesson is part of Great States: Idaho | Unit 7: Territory-to-State which looks at the key turning points that led to Idaho evolving into the 43rd state of the Union. Students will learn that statehood was a complex process and not an inevitable historical outcome.
Standard: 4.SS.4.2.4 Identify the three branches of state government and explain the major responsibilities of each.
- Video: A Case for the Separation of Powers
- A smart board, projector, or other type of screen to project videos to the class
- Class set of Branches of Government handout
- Notebooks or loose-leaf paper
- 1. Tell students they will be watching a short video about how the three branches of government were first developed.
Play the video, A Case for the Separation of Powers [1:05].
- Explain to students that the Constitution mandates that the federal government has three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The President runs the executive, the Senate and House of Representatives are legislative, and the Supreme Court and lower courts make up the judicial. Explain that Idaho’s government is structured the same way, with the governor as the head of the executive branch.
- Handout the chart with the responsibilities of each branch of government. Give students a few minutes to read through the chart and ask any questions they may have.
- Have students imagine that they are at the meeting in which Idaho’s constitution was first created. Ask them to write out an argument for why their constitution should have a separation of powers of three branches.