State Government Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Do your students know what their state government is responsible for? A video lesson explains specifics while an activity gives students a closer look. Optional activities and related lessons are included for deeper study.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain the responsibilities of the state government
  • create a visual to reflect the chain of command in their state


1 to 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).

Key Vocabulary

  • State constitution
  • Executive branch
  • Legislative branch
  • Judicial branch
  • State officials
  • Governor


  • Begin by asking the students to name some things that their state government does. List their ideas on the board or poster paper.
  • Now play the video lesson What Is State Government? - Powers, Responsibilities & Challenges, pausing at 1:51.
  • How did the students do in terms of listing responsibilities of state governments? Discuss this briefly now.
  • Play the video lesson again and pause at 4:11.
  • Now write the following key vocabulary words on the board or poster paper: State constitution, Executive branch, Legislative branch, and Judicial branch.
  • Review the meaning of each of the terms.
  • Play the rest of the video lesson now.
  • Ask the student if they know the name of their state's government. Were they correct?

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