Types of Government Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Starting a new unit on government? This lesson plan defines government, explains the purpose, and describes different types of governments in easy-to-understand ways. Follow up with an engaging activity your students will love.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define government
  • explain the purpose of governments
  • describe different types of governments


  • 45 minutes to 1 hour


  • Index cards with government types printed on them
  • Chart paper

Key Vocabulary

  • Government
  • Monarchy
  • Authoritarian
  • Constitutional monarchy
  • Republic
  • Democratic
  • Aristocracy
  • Meritocracy
  • Theocracy

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.2

Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.4

Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and pronunciation.


  • Gain student interest and connect to topic by asking students to do a flash writing answering the question 'What is government?' Share answers and discuss prior knowledge.
  • Tell students they will be learning about what a government is, the types of governments, and the purpose of governments.
  • Show our Study.com video lesson Government: Definition, Purpose & Types. Allow students to take notes, or print copies of the transcript and have students highlight key terms and concepts.
  • After the video, enrich understanding by discussing:
    • What are some purposes of a government?
    • Can societies exist without governments? Explain.
    • Why are laws especially important to governments? Give an example.
    • What are some ways to define governments?
  • With students, create a chart for governments. Put in categories and write definitions, descriptions, and examples. Use pictures to connect visual learners.


Task - Our video created an imaginary state - Videolia. Students will randomly choose or be assigned a type of government, name their fictional state, and make decisions about how it is governed.

  • Divide students into small groups or partner pairings and have them draw a government-type index card randomly.
  • Direct students to work together to discuss characteristics of their type of government. They will then create an imaginary state, write laws, create systems, etc. and record on chart paper.
  • Share ideas at the end of class. Discuss and encourage students to support and evaluate one another's work.
  • As an exit slip, ask students to compare their original definition of government with their new understanding. What changed or stayed the same?


  • Invite politicians in to your class to discuss their political party, their job, and other aspects of government.
  • Take a field trip to your state capital. Visit Congress and other government buildings.
  • Research the history of government in the United States. What does it mean to be a Democrat or Republican?

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