Government Unit Study Ideas


This unit is ©Copyright 2004 by Cindy Downes. All rights reserved. Permission is given to homeschooling parents to use these units free of charge in their own homeschool only. These units may not be reprinted in any other form, for any other purpose (commercial or otherwise) without permission from Cindy Downes. Contact her at


U.S. Government, Constitution, Congress

Branches, Departments & Cabinets of U.S. Government


This unit can be customized to any length, depending upon how much material you cover and how long you take to cover it. Read over General Directions for Cindy's Unit Studies for information on how to teach a multi-level unit.

U.S. Government, Constitution, Congress

Reading Suggestions:

Uncle Sam and Old Glory: Symbols of America by Delno C. West. 40 pgs, color, A nice addition to your home library. (ISBN 0689820437), Copyright 2000. Grades 1-6+

We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States by David Catrow. 28 pgs, color illustrations. Copyright 2002. ISBN 0803725531. An illustrated preamble to the Constitution of the United States. A nice addition to your home library. Grades PreK - 5th+

Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence by B. J.Lossing (reprint of 1848 original). 384 pgs. Fifty-six brief biographies of each of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. This is a reprint of the 1848 original edition. ISBN 0925279455. Recommended for 9th-12th.

Faith of Our Founding Fathers by Tim LaHaye, faith of the men who drafted America’s founding documents, 268 pgs

Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers by John Eidsmoe. 415 pgs, Explores the faith of our founding fathers. 8th+

American Political System by Robert Liston. 246 pgs, Very interesting book about our political system (what’s good and what’s bad) that is easy to understand. (1972), Check libraries. 7th+

The Signers: The Fifty-Six Stories Behind the Declaration of Independence. ISBN 0802788491. A shorter, easier to read version of the above. A nice addition to your home library. Recommended for Grades 4-6.

Heroes of History: John Adams, Independence Forever by Janet & Geoff Benge. Published by YWAM. A wonderful book written from a Christian perspective to read to all your children. A nice addition to your home library because you'll want to read it again and again. ISBN 1883002516. All ages will enjoy.

The Constitution by Hal Marcovitz. 2003. Discusses the history of the United States Constitution, from events leading up to its creation and ratification more than 200 years ago to some amendments that have been added as recently as 1971. (Check your library, ISBN 1590840410.) Grades 6-12.

If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution by Elizabeth Levy. A fun-to-read book with colorful illustrations for kids in Grades 1-6. ISBN 0590451596.

Paying Taxes by Sarah De Capua. A True Book. 48 pgs, color, Copyright 2002. (Check your library, ISBN 0516223321), Discusses what taxes are, why we pay taxes, and how the government spends taxes. Grades 1-6+

American Political System by Robert Liston. 246 pgs, Very interesting book about our political system (what’s good and what’s bad) that is easy to understand. This book is out of print. (Check your library, ISBN 0819305715), 7th+

Animal Farm by George Orwell. 151 pgs. Fiction. (Check your library, ISBN 0451526341), A satire on our political system. An interesting read for grades 9-12.

Constitutional Amendments by Barbara Feinberg. 80 pgs, few illus. Explains the historical background and purpose of each of the amendments. (Check your library, ISBN 0805046194), 7th+

Congress by Mark Sanders. (Check your library, ISBN 0739817884), An easy-to-read book about our congress. Color illustrations. 48 pgs. Copyright 2000. Grades 4 - 8.

How a Bill is Passed by Mike Bonner. 64 pgs, some color illustrations. (Check your library, ISBN 079105537X). Explains how a bill, or proposed law, is created, debated, and passed. Copyright 2000. Grades 4 - 8.

How the U.S. Government Works by Syl Sobel. Explains the three branches of the federal government - legislative, executive, and judicial - and how they work. 48 pgs. Illustrated. (Check your library, ISBN 0764111116), Grades 3-8.

Local Government by Ernestine Giesecke. 32 pgs, color illustrations. Copyright 2000. Introduces the purpose and function of local governments, explores the three branches of government at the city and county level, and presents the relationships between city and suburban governments and between various governments and schools. (Check your library, ISBN 1575725126 ) Grades 3-5+

Worksheets & Activity Suggestions:

American History Games, 4-8, pgs. 53-56, Constitution game, ($12.95, Scholastic)

Boy Scout Merit Badge: Citizenship in the Community 8-12 (purchase at Army Store, Broken Arrow)

Boy Scout Merit Badge: Citizenship in the Nation 8-12 (Army Store)

Boy Scout Merit Badge: Citizenship in the World 8-12 (Army Store)

Multimedia Collection CD: United States Constitution (TCM), all ages. This includes photos, video clips, sound clips of speeches, maps, clip art, etc. to use in reports and computer projects.

You Decide, Contitutional Amendments (Critical Thinking), 7-12

Our Living Constitution, Then and Now by Jerry Aten. Grades 5-12, ISBN 0866533869. Check Amazon for used copies or obtain from local educational store.

Read through the Declaration of Independence and annotations, pgs. 3 - 10 and complete pg. 11, Remembering Key Phrases. and pg. 13, Our Basic Human Rights.

Read, The Road to Change, pg. 15 - 20 and complete pg. 21 - 26 worksheet.

Read pgs. 28 - 31 and complete pgs. 32 - 35 worksheet.

Read pgs. 36 - 38 and complete pgs. 38 - 39 worksheet.

Read pgs. 41 - 44 and complete pg. 45, How a Bill Becomes Law, and pg. 46 worksheet.

Read pgs. 47 - 49, Powers of Congress and complete pg. 50 worksheet.

Read pg. 51, Implied Power and complete worksheet pg. 52.

Read pgs. 53 - 55, What Congress Cannot Do and worksheet, pg. 56.

Read pgs. 57 - 72 and complete worksheets on the Executive Department.

Read pgs. 73 - 80 and complete worksheets on the Judicial Department.

Read pgs. 81 - 84 and complete worksheets on Checks and Balances.

Read pgs. 85 - 87 and complete worksheets on States Rights.

Read pgs. 88 - 89 and complete worksheets on Amending the Constitution.

Read pgs. 90 - 94 and complete worksheets on General Provisions and Ratification.

Read pgs. 95 - 105 and complete worksheets on The Bill of Rights.

Read pgs. 109 - 141 and complete worksheets on the Amendments to the Constitution.

Complete review on pgs. 145 - 147.

GoverNet by Gary M. Garfield. Internet Activities for Grades 4 -8. (ISBN 0673592502).

Visit the House of Rep. pg. 78 and complete pg. 79.

Visit the Senate, pg. 80 and complete pg. 81.

Composition Suggestions

Research the government in different countries, make a chart comparing them or write a compare and contrast report.

Research the legal system in different countries, make a chart comparing them or write a compare and contrast report.

Video Suggestions:

History of American Government, The. Learn the history behind America's progression from being ruled by the English monarchy to becoming a democracy. Explore the government of colonial America, George Washington, and the American Revolution, and learn why the Founding Fathers thought it important to divide and share powers as they established the American government. (J Video, Tulsa library), K-4+

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. (Video), all ages.

Internet Suggestions:

Lesson Plan: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. 6-8+

National Budget Simulation Game.

Bill of Rights Golf Game.

Constitution Trivia Quiz.

Our National Debt.

Computer Activities:

Powerpoint Simple Projects, Intermediate, ISBN 1576904415. 3-6+ pg. 53-56, American Government Structure

Powerpoint Simple Projects, Intermediate, pg. 38-41, National Symbols

Back to Top

Branches, Departments, Cabinets of US Government:

Reading Suggestions:

The Cabinet and How It Grew by Nance Winslow Parker. A wonderful book for your home library. It is out of print. Check for used copies. ISBN 0060216182. Recommended for PreK - 6th.

The Cabinet by Sam Wellman. 64 pgs, color, Copyright 2001. Check your library, ISBN 0791059936. Grade 5+

Department of Commerce by Robert J. Griffin, Jr. 102 pgs, Others in this series cover all the departments of the US. Check your library, ISBN 0791008851. Grade 6th+

The Central Intelligence Agency by Tara Baukus Mello. 64 pgs, Check your library, ISBN 0791055310. Copyright 2000. Grade 5+

The U.S. Mint by Paul Wolman. 92 pgs,b/w. Check your library, ISBN 0877548293. Copyright 1987. Grade 6+

US Postal Service booklet published by Calliope, Grade 5+ (Cobblestone #COB8505)

Worksheets & Activity Suggestions:

GoverNet by Gary M. Garfield. Grades 4 -8+. ISBN 0673592502.

Visit the US Dept of Treasury, pg 74 and complete #1 & 3 of Extensions pg. 75.

Composition Suggestions


Video Suggestions:

Three Branches of Government, The. (Tulsa library, J Video), 2002, All ages.

Inside the U.S. Mint. 51 min. Discovery Channel, 2000. (Tulsa library, Video), All ages.

Internet Suggestions:

Branches of Government. 5-8+

National Budget Simulation Game.

CIA’s Homepage for Kids.

History of the U.S. Mint.

U.S. Mint for Kids.



Copyright © 2004 - Oklahoma Homeschool