Executive Branch Activities for High School

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

The executive branch of the government holds one of the most influential positions in America, the President of the United States. This lesson focuses on individual and group activities to learn more about the executive branch.

The Executive Branch

Most people think the executive branch consists of the president, however, there is much more to this branch of the government. The president is the commander in chief and the head of the armed forces and is also responsible for choosing the heads of his cabinet as well as several federal agencies. The executive branch is tasked with making sure the laws that Congress has created are enforced.

Group Activities

These activities are set up for groups which will help students develop collaboration and communication skills. Additionally, it spreads the workload for larger projects.

Running For President

Divide students into pairs. One student will run for president and the other student on the team will run for vice president. Have teams work together to develop their platform. What are their key issues? What big changes do they want to create for America? Ask students to record their platforms using a bullet-point list that can also be turned in as an assignment. Ask teams to deliver speeches to explain their platform to the rest of the class. Their goal is to entice the American people (aka their classmates) into voting for their team. Speeches should be no more than 5 minutes in length, cover the key points of their platform, and allow both candidates to speak. Ask students to hold a mock election after all of the speeches have been delivered. Ask students to vote for the candidate team that offers campaign promises they think are most important. Once a winning platform has been selected, divide the class into teams of 4-5 students. Ask teams to discuss the campaign promises made and whether these are things a president would be able to deliver and if not, why not. Using Article II of the Constitution, and the process of how laws are created, evaluate how many of these campaign promises a president could actually deliver? What are some things that would prevent a president from delivering on a campaign promise? What are the social, economic, and political impacts of each campaign promise? Ask teams to present their arguments covering each campaign promise to the class.

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