- Course type: Self-paced
- Available Lessons: 135
- Average Lesson Length: 8 min
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Watch a preview:chapter 1 / lesson 1What is Government? - Definition, Role & Functions
Course SummaryUse our American Government Syllabus Resource & Lesson Plans course to engage your students and excite them about government topics. You can create your own fun and interesting lessons by utilizing the short video and text lessons and quizzes found in this course.
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Course Practice TestCheck your knowledge of this course with a 50-question practice test.
- Comprehensive test covering all topics
- Detailed video explanations for wrong answers
How It Works
You can use this American government course as a template for designing and implementing your course. Here are the key components of the course and how you can use them:
- Chapters - Each chapter covers a unit of government, from the role of federal bureaucracy to the function and structure of Congress. Use these chapters as mile markers as you map out your course. We recommend planning to spend a week on each chapter, but you can always allocate the chapters according to the length of your specific American government course.
- Lessons - Within each chapter are video lessons that further break down topics into bite-sized chunks. These lessons cover single topics like Brown vs. the Board of Education or the pluralist theory of special interest groups. Each one is often appropriate for a single class.
- Key Terms - Within each lesson are key terms. These are emphasized on screen and in the transcript. As you develop your syllabus, these key terms help you focus on the most important learning objectives. For example, the lesson on original and appellate jurisdiction includes key terms like circuit courts, diversity jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction.
As you work on your American government lesson plans, save time by incorporating video lessons from this resource. Here's how:
- Introduce Topics - Your students will be in the right mindset for understanding topics like the rights of persons accused of crimes if you begin class with a short video. It can be a jumping-off point for a lecture, group activity or class discussion.
- Break Up Lectures - The video format, which often includes animation, helps students visualize topics like the evolution of Congress and the jurisdiction of state court systems.
- Assign For Homework - Each lesson in the course, from social insurance programs to the pluralist theory of special interest groups, can be assigned to your students as homework.
Each video lesson includes a complete transcript. You can utilize these transcripts in several ways:
- Lecture Notes - Do you need a guide as you plan a lecture, such as one on the economics of national defense or the policy making process? The transcripts cover each topic in depth, with key terms highlighted for quick reference.
- Student Reading - Perhaps you'd like your students to learn about contemporary U.S. environmental policy , but you don't have class time available. Assign the transcript as extra reading.
- Study Tools - When it's time for a unit exam on civil liberties, you can point your students to the transcripts on freedom of religion, the right to privacy, the role of courts in deciding civil liberties and the procedural rights of the accused.
Each video lesson has a corresponding quiz. Here's how to use the quizzes:
- Homework - Assign a quiz to your students as homework. You'll receive an email with the results, which enables you to verify they've completed the assignment and that they've understood the material. Questions cover everything from benefits of constitutional government to key facts, like where Congress meets.
- Tests - You can meld the material in the quizzes into your own student assessments, saving you valuable time. Need a few questions on government fiscal policy? There are plenty!
- Discussions - Jump-start a discussion with questions like: What are the differences between the U.S. Congress and Great Britain's Parliament?
Below is a sketch of the government syllabus modeled on a 24-week course. This sample can be adapted based on your course schedule. Navigate the chapters and lessons for more detail.
|Week||Unit||Sample of Topics Covered|
|Week 1||Intro to American Government||Key functions of government in the United States, basis of national identity and political continuity in the United States, direct democracy and representative democracy, writings of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke|
|Week 2||U.S. Constitutional Democracy||Revolutionary roots of the U.S. Constitution, structure and summary of the U.S. Constitution, process of amending the U.S. Constitution, provisions for a constitutionally limited government|
|Week 3||Federalism in the United States||Federalism, evolution of federalism through key historical points, division of power between the national and state government, competing concepts in federalism, federal controls on state governments|
|Week 4||U.S. Political Culture, Opinion & Behavior||Political culture, American views on the political system, costs and benefits of voting, political socialization|
|Week 5||Civil Liberties in American Government||Development of the Bill of Rights, procedural rights of the accused, debate on the right to bear arms, rights and limitations of free speech, press and assembly|
|Week 6||Civil Rights in American Government||Brown v. Board of Education civil rights achieved by women, strict scrutiny and intermediate scrutiny, civil rights issues for non-African American minorities|
|Week 7||Political Parties in the U.S.||Organization of American political parties, evolution of American's bipartisan system, basic architecture of American political parties|
|Week 8||Interest Groups and American Democracy||Special interest groups, strategies of special interest groups to influence politics, pluralist view of special interest groups|
|Week 9||The Media and American Democracy||History of American journalism, the role of media in the campaign and election process, effects of media and its influence on politics|
|Week 10||The Federal Bureaucracy in America||Bureaucracy and its function in American government, historical origins and evolution of bureaucracy in American government, institutions that keep bureaucracy accountable|
|Week 11||Presidential Election, Powers & Practice||Election process of the president of the United States, the vice president, how the electoral college works, influences of presidential decision making, evolution of presidential power over time, factors that contribute to a president's reputation in the eyes of the public|
|Week 12||Congress: Election, Power & Representation||The process of a bill becoming a law, evolution of congressional power and function, congressional member requirements, congressional campaigns compared to presidential campaigns, demographics of Congress|
|Week 13||The U.S. Federal Judicial System||Structure and function of state court systems, checks on Supreme Court power, the federal court system, strategic litigation as a tool for special interest groups|
|Week 14||U.S. Public, Social & Environmental Policy||Major categories of public policy, education policy views by republicans and democrats, public assistance programs and their history, overview of contemporary environmental policy|
|Week 15||U.S. Economic and Fiscal Policy||U.S. regulatory policy, monetary policy, fiscal policy, the Federal Reserve, the business cycle and its impact on economic growth|
|Week 16||Foreign and Defense Policy in the U.S.||Development of foreign policy from the Cold War to the present day, capabilities and parameters of the United States military, national security, political controversies related to national defense, national defense economics|
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