Beacon Lesson Plan Library
Enforcers of the Law, The Executive Branch
Bay District Schools
Have you ever wondered just what a governor does at work? Students learn about the executive branch of government, its structure, function, and basic responsibility, as well as whom their elected officials are for this branch. This lesson focuses on Florida's executive branch of government.
The student understands the functions of government under the framework of the Florida Constitution.
The student understands the structure, functions, and primary responsibilities of executive, legislative, and judicial branches of Florida government.
The student knows the names of his or her representatives at the local and state level (for example, mayor, governor, city council members, state legislative representatives).
The student knows basic things Florida government does in one's school, community, state, and nation.
- Giesecke, Ernestine. [National Government, Kids’ Guide]. Chicago. Heinemann Library, 2000.
- Giesecke, Ernestine. [State Government, Kids’ Guide]. Chicago. Heinemann Library, 2000.
- The Florida Constitution
- Any reference books you can locate on the executive branch of government
- [School House Rock! America Rock]. Disney Corp. 1997.
- A VCR and television
- At least one computer with Internet access
- Student copies of the Executive Branch of Florida Government Checklist from the associated files
- Executive Information List, one per group, from the associated files
- One copy of the Executive Information List, teacher key from the associated files
- Names of Elected Officials, Executive Branch, one per group, from the associated files
- Student copies of the Florida Government, Function and Responsibility graphic organizer used yesterday
- One copy of the Florida Government, Function and Responsibility graphic organizer, teacher key previously used
- Student copies of the Florida Government, Elected Officials graphic organizer used yesterday
- One copy of the Florida Government, Elected Officials graphic organizer, teacher key previously used
- Student copies of the County Government, Elected Officials graphic organizer used yesterday
- One copy of the County Government, Elected Officials graphic organizer, teacher key previously used
- Formative Assessment Checklist for each student used in previous lessons with this unit
- Overhead projector
- Overhead writing pens
1. Locate and preview [National Government, Kids’ Guide] by Giesecke, Ernestine. Chicago. Heinemann Library, 2000.
2. Locate and preview [State Government, Kids’ Guide] by Giesecke, Ernestine. Chicago. Heinemann Library, 2000.
3. Locate the copy of The Florida Constitution previously used.
4. Locate any reference books you can containing information on the executive branch of government.
5. Locate and preview the portion of the video called I’m Just a Bill from the video [School House Rock! America Rock]. Disney Corp. 1997. Specifically look for mention of the executive branch (President) and where might appropriate discussion pauses be located in the video to enhance students’ retention of the law making process.
6. Locate and set up a VCR and television for class viewing.
7. Locate at least one computer with Internet access. It would be great if this computer also was capable of displaying the image. Most media centers now have projectors that display computer screens. This will save the teacher from having to print lists of officials ahead of time and also varies the media used to share information. Integrating computer use with the content increases student attentiveness.
8. Download, print and duplicate the Executive Branch of Florida Government Checklist from the associated files for each student.
9. Download, print and duplicate the Executive Information List from the associated files for each group.
10. Download and print one copy of the Executive Information List, teacher key from the associated files.
11. Download, print and duplicate the Names of Elected Officials, Executive Branch from the associated files for each group.
12. Locate the Florida Government, Function and Responsibility graphic organizer that should be in each student’s journal.
13. Locate the Florida Government, Function and Responsibility graphic organizer, teacher key that was printed yesterday.
14. Locate the Florida Government, Elected Officials graphic organizer that should be in each student’s journal.
15. Locate the Florida Government, Elected Officials graphic organizer, teacher key used yesterday.
16. Locate the County Government, Elected Officials graphic organizer that should be in each student’s journal.
17. Locate the County Government, Elected Officials graphic organizer, teacher key used yesterday.
18. Locate the Formative Assessment Checklist for each student used in previous lessons with this unit.
19. Locate an overhead projector. Be sure it is in working order.
20. Locate a couple of overhead writing pens.
Note: This is the seventh of nine lesson plans to the unit, We the People, and will be used on day seven of the unit. Only social studies content is addressed in this lesson. Reading, math and writing standards are integrated with this unit and are addressed in the lesson plans Class President (reading), Buying and Budgets (math), and Getting to Know Our Elected Officials (writing). See the Unit Plan Overview from the unit’s associated files for guidance in how to organize the teaching of the lesson plans.
Note: This lesson addresses only the executive branch of Florida government. The legislative branch has been previously taught in lesson six, and the judicial branch will be taught in lesson eight of the unit.
1. Begin this lesson by reminding students of the class citizenship project and note how it is progressing. Ask if anyone has an act of citizenship that they have seen that they would like to share with the class. Allow for discussion.
2. To gain students’ attention and to remind them of previously taught content, play I’m Just a Bill from the video [School House Rock! America Rock]. Before starting the video, ask students to look for an action by another branch of government besides the legislative. (In the video, the President sign or vetoes the bill.)
3. At various times during the viewing of I’m Just a Bill, pause the video and ask what will happen next. This should review the function and responsibilities of the legislative branch of government.
4. As an introduction to the executive branch, ask students to tell how the video showed that the legislative and executive branches of government must work together.
5. Tell students that today they will be learning about the executive branch of government and the people elected to represent us in this branch.
6. Review the Comparing Government bulletin board that is on display in the classroom. Draw students’ attention to the Executive row of the bulletin board. Specifically, discuss the first section of the executive branch that has a reminder that the executive branch enforces laws.
Note: Tell students that the office of sheriff is listed under the heading of executive branch because the job descriptions for county sheriffs are very similar to the definition of executive, however the office of sheriff is never called the executive branch in the constitution.
7. Begin the exploration of the executive branch for government by displaying the resources used yesterday, including the books [National Government, Kids’ Guide], [State Government, Kids’ Guide], a copy of the Florida Constitution, and any other resources that can be located that have information of the executive branch of government. These resources may include Websites from the Weblinks section of this lesson plan if computers and Internet access are available.
8. Divide the class into the same groups they were in yesterday, but rotate the resources so the same students are not using the same resources they have previously used. All but one of the groups will be completing Executive Information List. The final group will be collecting names to complete the Names of Executors form.
9. To be sure all information is gathered, assign different groups different parts of the list to complete.
10. The final group will need a computer or may use a printed copy of the names of your elected officials that you have previously gathered from the Websites in the Weblinks section of this lesson plan. This group will need the Names of Elected Officials, Executive Branch handout.
11. Depending on the number of groups researching names, you may want to assign state officials to one group and county officials to another group.
12. Allow about twenty minutes for groups to locate and compile the information to complete their forms.
13. Using the Executive Branch Information Teacher Key as a guide, circulate and assist students in locating appropriate information. Since the names of elected officials will vary depending of the location, each teacher must develop an answer key of this information reflecting the specific location. Formatively assess individuals’ knowledge and mark the Formative Assessment Checklist as appropriate.
14. Review the Jigsaw Instructional Strategy used yesterday and make any necessary changes needed to accommodate your class. Further information on the Jigsaw Instructional Strategy is available from the Weblinks section of this lesson plan.
15. Pass out students’ We the People journals. Have students locate their Florida Government, Function and Responsibility graphic organizers.
16. Use the transparency for the Florida Government, Function and Responsibility graphic organizer as the sharing device. Place the transparency on the overhead. Begin at the top of graphic organizer and ask for information gathered on the executive branch. As information is shared, discuss the information to aid student understanding. It may be necessary to translate the information into student friendly language. Write the information on the transparency. A teacher key is available from the associated files with suggested answers.
17. In order for this lesson to relate to the math lesson for this unit, one of the responsibilities listed MUST be that responsibility for assisting with the state’s budget (Florida Constitution, Article IV, Section 13).
18. Students copy the information from the transparency to their individual Florida Government, Function and Responsibility graphic organizers.
19. Continue this process until the executive section of the graphic organizer is complete. Students’ organizers should remain in the students’ We the People journals to be completed in a future lesson and used as references and study guides.
20. Have students locate their graphic organizers Florida Government, Elected Officials and County Government, Elected Officials.
21. Repeat the sharing procedure using the transparencies for Florida Government, Elected Officials and County Government, Elected Officials. Be sure to confirm that the students found elected officials for the correct county. Only the executive sections of these graphic organizers are to be completed today. Note: The Elected Officials teacher keys available with this lesson were developed for Bay County, Florida, Senate District 4, House District 6.
22. The graphic organizers are to remain in the journals, stapled to the back inside cover or placed in a pocket of the cover, as they will be completed in a future lesson and then used as study guides while preparing for the summative assessment later in the unit.
23. Ask students to turn in their journals to yesterday’s writing about the legislative branch of government. Review the requirements of yesterday’s writing and share examples that demonstrate mastery of the standards. Answer any questions.
24. Tell students that now is the time to show what they know about the executive branch of government.
25. Pass out the Executive Branch of Florida Government Checklist to each student. Discuss the requirements of today’s journal entry. Discuss how to self assess using the checklist. Encourage students to learn from the feedback on yesterday’s writing. Students may use the graphic organizers from today’s lesson while writing in their journals. All criteria listed on the checklist should be included.
26. Remind students that their writing must be focused. Supporting details with sources should be included. Correct capitalization, punctuation, and indentation should be used.
27. Allow students time to write in their journals.
28. As students write, circulate and formatively assess their knowledge of selected standards. Mini conferences may be appropriate to gain an insight into the individuals’ knowledge. Mark the Formative Assessment Checklists as appropriate.
29. Collect the journals. Using the checklist as a guide, formatively assess the writings for the standard related content, both social studies and writing. Feedback should be written in the journal and must address only the criteria for standards being assessed. Mark the Formative Assessment Checklists.
Formative Assessment – Students write a journal entry to describe the executive branch of the Florida government. Included in the journal entry will be information on the function of the executive branch under the framework of the Florida government established by the constitution. The student must also include the main office (structure), the main duties (functions), and responsibilities of the executive branch. Names of state and local elected officials will be included, as well as what the executive branch does for the school, community, state, and nation.
A checklist of requirements is provided and explained to students prior to writing.
After reviewing these journal entries, the teacher will evaluate students’ progress and reteach as necessary to insure complete understanding. Formative feedback will be written on the journal pages before they are returned to the students.
Additional informal formative assessments will be administered daily as the students are learning about the executive branch of Florida’s government. These assessments are addressed when they occur within the procedures of the lesson.
1. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: http://www.beaconlearningcenter.com/search/details.asp?item=5197. Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files.
2. Ask students to bring articles from the newspaper that mention the sheriff or governor.
3. Invite the sheriff to come visit with your class. Be sure to let the sheriff know that you are studying citizenship and would like him/her to talk to the students about how his office helps the citizens of the county.
4. A computer lab can be used while locating names of elected officials. This then becomes a whole class activity rather than part of the jigsaw.
1. Link to your state or local government from this site.State and Local Government on the Net
2. This resource contains a list of all elected officials including national, state, county, and city. Links to individual Web pages and email addresses are available for each official.Elected Officials
3. This is the official site for the governor of Florida.Office of the Governor, Jeb Bush
4. Links to all branches of the state of Florida’s government are available.Government
5. This site has a really nice graphic of the framework of three branches of government emphasizing that the framework is a product of the Constitution. Links to more information about the individual branches are also available.Ben’s Guide to US Government for Kids
6. This site is a teacher resource for the jigsaw cooperative learning strategy.Jigsaw Cooperative Learning Strategy
7. An important piece of information for students to find is located on this site. Scroll about halfway down the page to find this statement: “The Bay County Sheriff's Office is charged with protecting the rights for all, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, physical handicap, religion or other belief system.” This statement directly correlates to our study of citizenship and the role of government in protecting the rights of citizens.Bay County Sheriff’s Office
8. This student and/or teacher resource gives brief overviews of the structure of the executive branch of government.The Executive Branch