Grade 11, 12 Constitution and Structure of Government

West Haven Public Schools

Unit Planning Organizer

Subject  Social Studies                            

Grade 11, 12

Unit   Constitution and Structure of Government        

Pacing: 1st MP (3 weeks)                                                                                                              

Essential Question(s):

1.     Why is the United States Constitution a lasting document?

2.     What is limited government?

3.     How do different countries empower governments?

4.     What is government and why is it important?

Big Idea(s):

1.     Constitution has lasted over 200 years because It is flexible.

2.     Our government is structured to limit each branch and level from becoming too powerful (in order to keep the power in the hands if our citizens).

3.     Different countries have varying systems of government to meet the needs of their people.

4.     Government is the system through which a society provides for and protects it’s people.

CT State Standards (includes West Haven’s “Priority” GLES’s in BOLD and “Supporting” Standards)

1.7.1 Compare and contrast how different national governments throughout the world attempt to meet the needs of the citizens.

1.7.1 ( Grade 8, West Haven added) Use contemporary examples to analyze the functions of the three branches of  (including checks and balances) the United States of America.

2.5.2: Create multi-purpose visuals to present information.

2.1.1: Find relevant information to answer a history/social studies question.

“Unwrapped” Concepts and Skills, and Bloom Levels (BL)

Concepts(Need to Know)

Skills(Able to Do)



  • Government
  • Dictatorship
  • Communism
  • Popular sovereignty
  • Democracy: presidential and parliamentary
  • Federalism
  • Judicial review
  • National supremacy
  • Separation of powers
  • Checks and balances


  • Legislative power
  • Executive power
  • Justice
  • Judicial review
  • Domestic tranquility
  • Common defense
  • General welfare
  • Liberty
  • Civil liberties
  • Civil rights
  • Amendment
  • President and cabinet
  • Congress
  • “power of the purse”



  • Terms, qualifications, duties and responsibilities of our representatives.




  • Federalism
  • Separation of powers
  • National supremacy



  • Compare and contrast systems of government.


  • Compare the United States to other countries’ governments.


  • Evaluate different forms of government





  • Analyze the functions of government










  • Create and develop an idea web of the principles if the US Constitution.
























Common Formative Pre- Assessment (Followed by Data Team Analysis):

·        see attached


“Dipsticks” (Informal Progress Monitoring Checks):

·        quiz on terms from introductory lecture (before Constitutional worksheet)

·        Idea web on principles of the U.S. Constitution


Common Formative Post- Assessment (Followed by Data Team Analysis):

·        see attached

Instructional Planning

Suggested Resources/Materials:

·        Constitution worksheet/review

·        Structure & level of government chart

·        MacGruder’s text Chapters 1, 3,4

·        Powerpoint Presentation

·        Handout Chart on Principles of US Constitution

·        Upfront article “Should the Electoral College be abolished?”

·        Various current news articles on governments across the globe

·        Runaway Jury (movie)

·        A Civil Action (movie)

·        Idea web handout


Suggested Research-based Effective Instructional Strategies:

·        Lecture with Q & A follow-up

·        Small group discussion reviewing article son other systems of government today

·        Create Idea web on the 6 Principles of the US Constitution

Vocabulary/Word Wall


Interdisciplinary Connections

·        Reserved power

·        Limited power

·        Bundle of compromises

·        Checks and balances

·        judicial review

·        Marbury v. Madison

·        Free and fair elections

* State of the Union Address


·        McCullough v. Maryland


·        Constituent


·        Lobby/lobbyist


·        Veto

Examine Canada’s system of democracy and create a mini poster detailing the differences between Canada and the U.S.

Interview (or research) someone who has moved to the U.S from a dictatorship


Read: Infidel and prepare a report

Read: Confessions: An Innocent Life in Communist China, Zhenquo Kang, Susan Wilf

Read: Between 2 Worlds: Escape From Tyranny> Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam, Zainab Salbi, Lauri Becklund