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Digital Unit Plan Template

Unit Title: Foundations of American Government Name: Jason Collar

Content Area: American Government Grade Level: 12
CA Content Standard(s)/Common Core Standard(s):

12.1 Students explain the fundamental principles and moral values of American democracy as expressed in the U.S. Constitution and other
essential documents of American democracy.
1. Analyze the influence of ancient Greek, Roman, English, and leading European political thinkers such as John Locke, Charles-Louis
Montesquieu, Niccolò Machiavelli, and William Blackstone on the development of American government.
2. Discuss the character of American democracy and its promise and perils as articulated by Alexis de Tocqueville.
3. Explain how the U.S. Constitution reflects a balance between the classical republican concern with promotion of the public good and the
classical liberal concern with protecting individual rights; and discuss how the basic premises of liberal constitutionalism and democracy are
joined in the Declaration of Independence as “selfevident truths.”
4. Explain how the Founding Fathers’ realistic view of human nature led directly to the establishment of a constitutional system that limited the
power of the governors and the governed as articulated in the Federalist Papers.
5. Describe the systems of separated and shared powers, the role of organized interests (Federalist Paper Number 10), checks and balances
(Federalist Paper Number 51), the importance of an independent judiciary (Federalist Paper Number 78), enumerated powers, rule of law,
federalism, and civilian control of the military.
6. Understand that the Bill of Rights limits the powers of the federal government and state governments.
12.2.1: Discuss the meaning and importance of each of the rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights and how each is secured (e.g., freedom of
religion, speech, press, assembly, petition, privacy).
12.2.4: Compare the relationship of government and civil society in constitutional democracies to the relationship of government and civil society in
authoritarian and totalitarian regimes.
12.4.2: Explain the process through which the Constitution can be amended

Big Ideas/Unit Goals:

Foundational principles and philosophies within American government.

Declaration of Independence
Bill of Rights
Articles of Confederation
The Constitution
Checks and Balances

Unit Summary:

Students will examine the principles of government and the foundational philosophies within the American government. The focus will be on
the philosophical influences, the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, The Federalist Papers, and the Original Constitution.
Furthermore, students will learn that the two-party system in American politics traces its origins to the opposing views of the Federalists and
the Anti-Federalists. From the origins of government and the foundations of American government, the focus shifts to the structure and
importance of the Constitution, along with the process of how it can be amended. Following the lesson on the importance of the Constitution
and the Bill of Rights, the final section of the unit will focus on Federalism and how power is shared or delegated to state and national
governments. Throughout this unit, many of the assessments and activities will be online-based and interactive to promote digital citizenship.
Following the completion of this unit, students will be able to explain the purposes and functions of the U.S. government, demonstrate mastery of
the significance of the Constitution, how Federalism pertains to American government, along with the civic virtue embedded within the historical
and philosophical roots of the American system.

Assessment Plan:
Entry-Level: Formative: Summative:

Survey: Students will access the online survey K.W.L Chart on Federalism: Students will create Digital Mind Map on Federalism: This
by going to Surveymonkey.com that requires a graphic organizer using Microsoft Word that assessment has students go to Popplet.com and
them to answer questions to assess their prior has a column labeled “What I know about use information from their notes, as well as the
knowledge on what Federalism is. Federalism,” and second column titled, “What I text book, to identify the different and shared
want to know about Federalism,” and a third powers of national and state governments.
Quickwrite: Students will submit a written titled, “What I learned about Federalism.” In Students are also to analyze a part of the
response to Google Classroom addressing the addition to the entry level survey, students will Constitution to make connections with how the
prompt of identifying two freedoms students fill out this first and second columns before the government gets its power from the
believe they have as American citizens. lecture and reading begin. Once the lesson has Constitution.
concluded, students will fill out the last column
Brainstorm: Students will be asked to go to and submit their file to Google Classroom. Principles of Government and Origins of
Padlet.com and submit 2 responses American Government Mind Map: Students
brainstorming the difference between a Quiz on Delegated powers: Students will go to will go to Mindmeister.com and create a digital
constitutional democracy and a dictatorship. Quizlet.com and join the class by using the link : mind map answering 8 questions that
https://quizlet.com/join/nWzPATB2Q and demonstrate comprehension of the material
take the online quiz that asks questions from the lesson. Students have the use the
about the division of power between state book or their notes to answer these questions
and national governments, as well as and then make their project a presentation.
interstate relations.
Amending the Constitution group activity: In
The Constitution and Bill of Rights webercise: this assessment, students will demonstrate
Students will navigate various websites what they’ve learned about the Constitution
provided to them on the handout to complete a and how it can be amended by writing up their
series of questions that allows the students to own amendment about an issue they consider
be in charge of learning the material on the to be important. Once all students have created
Constitution and the Bill of Rights. All of the their amendment, the class will hold a mock
answers can be found at the corresponding Constitutional Convention where students will
links in each section of the webercise handout. experience the process of how an amendment
is passed by reading their proposal to the class
Checks and Balances activity: Students will use and having the class vote to pass or not pass
their Chromebooks to find a current event students’ amendments.
within the last 3 years where the U.S.
government is either using Checks and Balances End of Unit Exam: At the end of the unit,
for the benefit of the people or for the benefit students will take a comprehensive exam that
of the government. Once they have found an covers all four sections of unit 1, which include
appropriate article, students will write a 2- Principles of Government, Origins of American
paragraph response answering why/how the Government, The Constitution, and Federalism.
government is using Checks and Balances in The exam will consist of multiple-choice,
that fashion. true/false, short answer, and two essay
questions. This exam will demonstrate that
Quiz on Principles of government and origins instruction was clear, that content was
of American government: Students will go to delivered appropriately, and inform the teacher
Socrative.com and use the class code of any learning gaps that need to be addressed
BZVZBHB to participate in a digital quiz that is before moving on to the next unit.
in the form of multiple-choice, true/false, and
short answer.

Guided notes on Principles of Government and

Origins of American Government: Students will
access Google Classroom to download their
guided notes template on the Principles of
Government and Origins of American
Government for the Prezi lecture. Hard copies
will be available for students who require them.
This activity will inform the teacher the
students were comprehending the lecture and
the final part of the assessment has the
students demonstrate their understanding by
filling in word-bubbles for Thomas Jefferson
and Adolf Hitler explaining their points of view
on how to govern people.

Lesson 1 (Teacher Lecture)

Student Learning Objective: Acceptable Evidence Lesson Activities:
Students will understand The teacher will begin the class by having the students go to Padlet.com and submit 2 posts identifying
the difference between a Students will submit 2 what they think a constitutional democracy is versus a dictatorship. The teacher will then deliver a
constitutional democracy posts to the class Padlet at PowerPoint presentation covering the foundations of American democracy, influencing philosophies, and
and a dictatorship and the beginning of the class. the Constitution. Students will take guided notes during the lecture to use on their assignment. Students
learn about philosophical Students will be provided will become familiar with different forms of government, concepts of democracy, influential philosophers
that contributed to the creation of the Constitution and the founding fathers. Throughout the lecture, the
influences, documents, and with a Prezi presentation
teacher will use questioning strategies to ensure students are comprehending the content. Once students
founding fathers that and a guided notes
have completed their guided notes activity, they will go to Socrative.com to take a short quiz to
shaped American handout. The teacher will demonstrate comprehension of the content. The teacher will then go over the responses with the class
government. put a stamp on completed and ensure there are no learning gaps.
guided notes and collect
them at the end of the class
period for credit. Students
will take a short digital quiz
and must have a passing
score of 70% or better.
Lesson 2 (Webercise/ iPad Lesson)
Student Learning Objective: Acceptable Evidence: Lesson Activities:

Students will learn about Using provided websites, The teacher will begin the class by calling on students at random, using equity cards, to recall principles,
the Constitution and the students will complete a amendments, philosophies, or important passages from the previous day’s lesson to inform the
importance of the Bill of webercise to gather instructor if the class is ready to proceed to the next lesson. The teacher will then inform the students to
Rights, along with their information about the go to Google Classroom and download a digital handout and inform the students to go to the provided
rights as American citizens. Constitution and the Bill of links to answer the questions. Students need to write the correct responses to the questions and submit
their completed work to Google Classroom. Once they have completed and submitted their webercise
At the end of the lesson, the Rights. Students will
students will demonstrate provide the correct digital handout, students will then create 10 digital flash cards on Quizlet.com. Each card must have a
their understanding of the responses for each question right and its definition to receive full credit.
Constitution and the Bill of using the provided websites
Rights by completing the as their sources.
webercise activity.
Lesson 3 (Graphic Organizer)
Student Learning Objective: Acceptable Evidence: Lesson Activities:

Students will understand Students will create a The teacher will begin the class by asking if anyone shot off fireworks over the Summer for 4 th of July.
the importance of digital mind map using Some students will answer yes and some will answer no. The teacher will inform the students that
Federalism as it pertains to Popplet.com identifying fireworks are legal and illegal depending on where they live. The teacher will then inform the class that
American government and and defining the shared and this applies to some to laws on the state and federal level and will begin the lesson. Following a Prezi
learn about the different different powers of state presentation on Federalism, students will use their notes and read chapter 4 of their textbook to create a
mind map of the shared and delegated powers of the state and national governments. Students will then
and shared powers and national governments.
submit their work to Google Classroom for the teacher to grade.
between the nation and There needs to be at least 3
state governments. main topics and 5 sub-
topics with at least 2
Students will demonstrate pictures on each subtopic to
their understanding of receive full credit. Students
Federalism and identify will upload their work to
powers associated to the Google Classroom for the
state and national teacher to grade.
government by creating a
digital mind map using
Unit Resources:

Magruder’s American Government CH 1-4

Checks and Balances Worksheet
Microsoft Word
Webercise websites:

Useful Websites:

Teaching Strategies for English Language Learners

National Archives’
CrashCourse US Constitution
CrashCourse Political Parties
Khan Academy: Foundations of American Democracy