5th Grade Government Project Ideas

Instructor: Anthony Cognata

Anthony has taught multiple grade levels in middle school, coached across contents, and has a master's degree in Educational Leadership.

Use these project ideas to deepen students' understanding of government through the use of collaborative, engaging projects that synthesize the research skills and academic content learned about in a 5th grade unit on government.


Learning about our government is a critical component to our society. The following project ideas are ways for you to help students solidify the material they learned in your unit - as well as give them practice in historical research skills. The projects are aimed to be completed in collaborative groups, but could be tweaked to be completed individually.

Branches of Government Presentation

After completing a government unit focused on the branches of U.S. government, have students do further research into a particular branch. Divide students into small groups of 3 or 4, then assign each group a branch of government (depending on class size, there will be two or three groups with the same branch). Give each group a criteria for completion and have them research their branch for additional information beyond just what they learned in the unit. Together the group should create a PowerPoint presentation and decide who presents what information (every person in the group must talk). Wrap everything up by having each group give their presentation.

To spur their thinking, you can tell students that the following must be answered in their presentation:

  • What are the powers directly granted to your branch?
  • How does your branch 'check' the other branches?
  • What government officials are involved in your branch?

What they will need: Computer and PowerPoint access; criteria for PowerPoint presentation; rubric for how you will grade their PowerPoint and their presentation of the material.

This project should take 1-2 class periods to complete and prepare, but additional time will be needed for actual presentations. Each group's presentation should last no longer than 3-5 minutes each. To keep peers engaged during the presentations, provide students with a blank Venn diagram (with three circles) and instruct them to fill it out with information as each group presents.

Government Musical/Rap/Skit

This project is inspired by the old Schoolhouse Rock videos. Even if your unit did not include the process for a bill becoming a law, the video 'I'm Just a Bill' by Schoolhouse Rock is a perfect exemple to show students so that they have an idea of what they are creating. Provide students with a list of topics covered in your unit, then give them time to research those topics and create their own musical/rap/skit about their topic (make sure they write out their script and turn it in). Lastly, have them perform their chosen method for the class.

Topic Ideas: Roles of Citizens; The Three Branches

What they will need: library or computer access for research; paper or computer to create their musical/rap/skit; space to practice.

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