Lesson Plan: Early American Government: Cause and Effect


Objectives: The students will

I. identify the key events of the Revolutionary, Confederation, and Constitutional periods.

II. compare the forms of government from which America derives its current federal system.

III. outline the cause and effect relationship between the events of the period and the formed of government they gave rise to during the Revolutionary, Confederation, and Constitutional periods.

Warm Up Activity (Anticipatory Set): The Preamble to the Constitution

A) Display the preamble to the Constitution with the key words highlighted or underlined.

B) Break the class into six groups. Assign each group one of the goals. Have each group define the goal they were assigned.

C) Have students present their definitions using computers, overheads, or chalkboard, or posterboard.

D) Have each group answer the following question for the goal that they defined:

From the time of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, how well has American government achieved the goal listed in the Constitution? Provide examples from history or current events to support your answer. In fact, use the Internet, newspapers, magazines or textbooks to provide a visual support for your response.

Main Activity (Instructional Input): Analyzing Flow Charts for Cause and Effect

Using the same groups from the warm-up, assign each group one of the overhead transparencies to analyze and discuss. Two of the groups will have to be assigned the same transparency (or you can add one of your own).

Click on the image below to bring up a full screen version of the transparency. Questions for each of the transparency are listed below. 

The American Revolution National Government Under the Articles of Confederation Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation
The American Revolution
National Government Under the Articles of Confederation
National Government Under the Articles of Confederation
Cause and Effect: The Constitution The British Parliament Republicans vs. Federalists
Cause and Effect: The Constitution The British Parliament Federalists vs. Republicans

Transparencies reprinted with permission, Houghton-Mifflin Co.
Transparencies and User's Guide, Government in America, 1993.

Check For Understanding and Guided Practice: Questions on Early American Government

A) Place the overhead on the projector. Give a one-minute description of the information found on your topic. Allow students to copy the information as you (the presenters) read the information outloud to the class.

B) Show at least two examples of cause-and-effect that can be found in relation to your topic.

C) List at least three (3) vocabulary terms from your topic. A vocabulary term is any specific term that students need to define to understand the topic you are presenting. Provide students with definitions written on your overhead, on computer, or on the blackboard.

D) How does your topic relate to American government in the present day. Make a connection between your topic and some example of modern government in the United States or elsewhere in the world.

Wrap-Up Activity (Closure): What If...

A) Have students respond to the following question:

How would the United State be different if the Articles of Confederation were still in effect? Imagine if the Constitutional Convention had failed and the Articles had been revised. What would be the way your state conducts its affairs? What would America's government be like? How would the history of the our nation be different? Write your answer in a formal essay, creative writing exercise, or in a poem or drawing.

B) Have students discuss or present their responses to the question above.

Evaluation: The lesson will be evaluated by:

I. the accuracy of student's written responses;

II. student's scores on future tests and quizzes.

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