The Role of Government and Citizens

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Overview

This lesson analyzes the roles of government and citizens in a representative democracy. Students will examine how political solutions to public policy problems are generated through interactions of individual citizens and groups with their government.

 

Grade Levels

9–12

 

Objectives

Students will:

  • define the term representative democracy;
  • explain how the government responds to the needs of its citizens;
  • describe the role of citizens in a representative democracy; and
  • explain how citizens can influence public policy.

Estimated Time

1 day

 

Materials Needed

Procedure

  1. Review the term government with students. Make sure students understand that different nations have different kinds of governments but all governments have some system of leadership and laws.
  2. Explain to students that the United States government is a representative democracy. In a representative democracy, people choose a small number of people to represent their interests and negotiate differences on their behalf.
  3. Tell students that in a representative democracy the government must be responsive to the needs and collective ideas of its citizens. Explain that the U.S. government responds to the needs of its citizens by creating public policies that promote the general welfare.
  4. Use a projection device to show students the An Ordinary Day E-Learning module. Talk about the impact of public policies and laws on our everyday lives and how they improve our quality of life.
  5. Discuss the role of a citizen in a representative democracy. Tell students that in the United States, citizens have a first amendment right to say what they think government should do about problems in the local community, state, and nation. Citizens also have a right to try to influence the decisions government officials make about addressing these problems.
  6. Have each student go through the An Ordinary Day E-Learning Module and choose one public policy issue or law that is of interest to him or her. Ask them to conduct research and write a paper that describes the issue this policy or law addresses, explains how legislators passed a law or government officials developed a policy, and describes how individuals and groups influenced the policy or law.

Extension Activity

Ask students to analyze a current policy issue and develop a plan to influence its formation, development and implementation, or enactment into law.

 

Assessment

Basic Concepts and Processes

Ask your students to respond to the following requests for information and assess their knowledge of key concepts taught in this lesson.

  1. Define the term representative democracy.
  2. Explain how the government responds to the needs of its citizens.
  3. Describe the role of citizens in a representative democracy.
  4. Explain how citizens can influence public policy.

Scoring Guide for Homework Assignment

Elements Possible Score Assigned Score Notes
Correct Spelling 5    
Good beginning, middle, and end 5    

Identifies a policy or law from the An Ordinary Day E-Learning Module

10    
Describes the issue the policy or law addresses 20    

Explains how legislators passed the law or how government officials developed a policy

30    
Describes how individuals and groups influenced the policy or law 30    

 

Lesson Plan Feedback

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