Lesson Plan

The Three Branches of Government (an iMovie Project)

Helping students to understand the various duties and responsibilities of the three branches of government.
Randall B.
TSS, TIS, Educator, Blogger, & EdTech Consultant
Putnam County Schools, WV
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My Grades Pre-K, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts, World Languages, English Language Learning, Health & Wellness
EdTech Mentor

Students will be able to...


SS.12.C.7 - evaluate the processes within the United States Constitution that make it a living document with democratic principles that are modified and expanded to meet the changing needs of society.

SS.12.C.8 - investigate the system of government created by the Preamble, Seven Articles, and the Bill of Rights and other Amendments of the United States Constitution to evaluate how the framework for American society is provided.

SS.12.C.9 - analyze how the Constitution defines federalism and outlines a structure for the United States government.

SS.11-12.L.11 write arguments focused on discipline-specific content: (1) introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences the claim(s), counterclaims, reasons and evidence, (2) develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values and possible biases, (3) use words, phrases and clauses, as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims, (4) establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing, (5) provide a concluding statement or section that follows from or supports the argument presented.

SS.11-12.L.13 produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to task, purpose and audience.

SS.11-12.L.15 use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

SS.11-12.L.16 conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

SS.11-12.L.17 gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the specific task, purpose and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.

SS.11-12.L.18 draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection and research.

Social Studies
power structures
Grades 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Students will view an explaination of the Three Branches of Government in the form of a rap song on YouTube. The video can be found at http://youtu.be/ZCB8EOY5d48

2 Direct Instruction

Students will play the game Branches of Power to help them to further understand how the actions of individuals and groups can affect the legislative, executive, and judicial processes.

3 Guided Practice


Students are walked through the process of creating a movie using iMovie. They are provided with a tutorial video from TechForEd on YouTube walking them through the specifics of the app (http://youtu.be/l5n-JSBRGBw). Students will follow along on their iPad with iMovie to practice using the app.

Students will be given the opportunity to practice shooting video and taking photos with their iPad in iMovie and placing them into a project in the app.  Students can ask questions or for assistance during this time to ensure that they are able to use the app correctly before starting on the creation of their film.

Students will be assigned into one of three groups and will work together to plan out and produce a short infomercial attempting to sell their branch of government like a product.  To illustrate the idea of the infomercial to the students, they will view several examples from online (Pineapple Twist: http://youtu.be/lfYBeHurkZo, Perfect Patty: http://youtu.be/bUFFCAxNFQA, and Jupiter Jack: http://youtu.be/p7yuoXU_QJs)

4 Independent Practice


Students will work in their groups to create their infomerical using iMovie as their creation tool. Students will be scored on a rubric provided to them.  Each student will also score themselves and their other group members to create an average score to be added to their score from the teacher.

5 Wrap-Up

Activity: Presenting

Groups of students will present their finished infomercial to their classmates. Students will use AirPlay from the iPad to an Apple TV to show their infomercial.  The class will hold open discussions about each video looking for compliments for how the group did and critiques of their work to improve it.