- Students will examine problems and determine the appropriate level of government to deal with the problem.
- Students will identify their local, state and federal elected officials
Students will examine a series of problems and decide which level of government is most appropriate for solving the problem. They will also identify their local elected officials using research materials.
Time required: Three 45 minute class periods
Grade Level: 4
Lesson Connections and Standards References:
California Department of Education
Subject Areas: History-Social Science, Technology
Materials and Preparation:
Download and print:
Levels of Government Worksheet
Elected Officials Worksheet
Instructions for Finding Elected Officials Online
- Discuss with students the need for different levels of government due to the extent of a problem. Get them to understand that a local problem generally should be solved locally.
- Pass out the Levels of Government Worksheet. Direct students to examine each problem and put a check mark by the appropriate level of government. In those cases where a problem covers multiple levels, have students make a comment why different levels are necessary.
- Discuss their decisions. Ask them to justify their answers.
- Have students identify their state and local elected officials. Give them the Instructions for Finding Elected Officials Online sheet. This will direct them to appropriate web sites to find their elected officials. Have them enter the information on the Elected Officials Worksheet.
- Thoroughness of examination of the problems on the Levels of Government Worksheet.
- Amount of information gathered on Elected Officials Worksheet.
- Have students make a list of necessary positions (i.e. sheriff, assessor, fire department trustee etc.) which might require election. Discuss whether it would be better to appoint or elect these officials. Try to come to consensus as to what determines whether a position should be appointed or elected.
- Attend a local government meeting (city council, school board etc.). Try to have students examine the agenda before going so they can become familiar with the issues being discussed.
- If your city or county has cable access to the council or supervisor’s meetings. Tape one and watch it with students to see how government works in action.
- Go online to the California Assembly Kids’ Stuff Web Page, then click on California Assembly Kids'Stuff - Your Idea Becomes a Law and have them play the game on designing their own bill and watching it become law.
- Invite an elected official to visit the classroom. Prior to the visit, prepare a list of questions to ask and assign students to ask them. If possible, send the list of questions to the elected official prior to their visit.