Grade 12: Principles of American Democracy
Civics Grade 12
12.4 Students analyze the unique roles and responsibilities of the three branches of government as established by the U.S. Constitution.
- 12.4.4 - Discuss Article II of the Constitution as it relates to the executive branch, including eligibility for of office and length of term, election to and removal from of office, the oath of office, and the enumerated executive powers.
12.3 Students analyze the influence of the federal government on the American economy.
- 12.3.1 - Understand how the role of government in a market economy often includes providing for national defense, addressing environmental concerns, defining and enforcing property rights, attempting to make markets more competitive, and protecting consumers' rights.
- 12.3.3 - Describe the aims of government fiscal policies (taxation, borrowing, spending) and their influence on production, employment, and price levels.
- 12.3.4 - Understand the aims and tools of monetary policy and their influence on economic activity (e.g., the Federal Reserve).
Historical and Social Science Skills
Historical Research, Evidence, and Point of View
- 1. Students distinguish valid arguments from fallacious arguments in historical interpretations.
- 6. Students conduct cost/benefit analyses and apply basic economic indicators to analyze the aggregate economic behavior of the U.S. economy.
English/Language Arts Standards
2.0 Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials)
Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. They analyze the organizational patterns, arguments, and positions advanced. The selections in Recommended Readings in Literature, Grades Nine Through Twelve illustrate the quality and complexity of the materials to be read by students. In addition, by grade twelve, students read two million words annually on their own, including a wide variety of classic and contemporary literature, magazines, newspapers, and online information.
- Structural Features of Informational Materials
2.1 Analyze both the features and the rhetorical devices of different types of public documents (e.g., policy statements, speeches, debates, platforms) and the way in which authors use those features and devices.
- Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text
2.3 Verify and clarify facts presented in other types of expository texts by using a variety of consumer, workplace, and public documents.
- 2.4 Make warranted and reasonable assertions about the author's arguments by using elements of the text to defend and clarify interpretations.
- Expository Critique
2.6 Critique the power, validity, and truthfulness of arguments set forth in public documents; their appeal to both friendly and hostile audiences; and the extent to which the arguments anticipate and address reader concerns and counterclaims (e.g., appeal to reason, to authority, to pathos and emotion).
1.0 Writing Strategies
Students write coherent and focused texts that convey a well-defined perspective and tightly reasoned argument. The writing demonstrates students' awareness of the audience and purpose and progression through the stages of the writing process.
- Organization and Focus
1.3 Structure ideas and arguments in a sustained, persuasive, and sophisticated way and support them with precise and relevant examples.
- Research and Technology
1.6 Develop presentations by using clear research questions and creative and critical research strategies (e.g., field studies, oral histories, interviews, experiments, electronic sources).
- 1.8 Integrate databases, graphics, and spreadsheets into word-processed documents.
2.0 Writing Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics)
Students combine the rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion, and description to produce texts of at least 1,500 words each. Student writing demonstrates a command of standard American English and the research, organizational, and drafting strategies outlined in Writing Standard 1.0.
- 2.4 Write historical investigation reports:
a. Use exposition, narration, description, argumentation, exposition, or some combination of rhetorical strategies to support the main proposition.
Listening and Speaking
1.0 Listening and Speaking Strategies
Students formulate adroit judgments about oral communication. They deliver focused and coherent presentations that convey clear and distinct perspectives and demonstrate solid reasoning. They use gestures, tone, and vocabulary tailored to the audience and purpose.
- Organization and Delivery of Oral Communication
1.4 Use rhetorical questions, parallel structure, concrete images, figurative language, characterization, irony, and dialogue to achieve clarity, force, and aesthetic effect.
- 1.5 Distinguish between and use various forms of classical and contemporary logical arguments, including:
a. Inductive and deductive reasoning
b. Syllogisms and analogies
- 1.6 Use logical, ethical, and emotional appeals that enhance a specific tone and purpose.
2.0 Speaking Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics)
Students deliver polished formal and extemporaneous presentations that combine traditional rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion, and description. Student speaking demonstrates a command of standard American English and the organizational and delivery strategies outlined in Listening and Speaking Standard 1.0.
- 2.2 Deliver oral reports on historical investigations:
a. Use exposition, narration, description, persuasion, or some combination of those to support the thesis.
b. Analyze several historical records of a single event, examining critical relationships between elements of the research topic.
c. Explain the perceived reason or reasons for the similarities and differences by using information derived from primary and secondary sources to support or enhance the presentation.
d. Include information on all relevant perspectives and consider the validity and reliability of sources.
- 2.4 Deliver multimedia presentations:
a. Combine text, images, and sound by incorporating information from a wide range of media, including films, newspapers, magazines, CD-ROMs, online information, television, videos, and electronic media-generated images.
b. Select an appropriate medium for each element of the presentation.
c. Use the selected media skillfully, editing appropriately and monitoring for quality.
d. Test the audience's response and revise the presentation accordingly.
History Social Science Framework
The purpose/objective of this executive branch lesson is to reinforce the following Framework Skills: Characteristic 11 by "developing civic and democratic values"; Characteristic 13 by introducing the students to "controversial issues honestly and accurately"; and Characteristic 16 by "engaging students activity in the learning process".
This simulation works well as the culminating activity of lessons on the executive branch. The preparation time could be included as part of the overall assignment for the executive branch. It could involve class, library and home assignment components. Class time will be needed for the organizational parts of setting up a cabinet meeting. Current issues may be taken from the cabinet's homepage or recent stories in the media.
The cabinet meeting phase of the lesson would take a minimum of two days to conduct. The critique and debriefing of the outcomes will conclude the simulation with an optional essay to follow.
Additional roles may be added to increase the number of students involved in the simulation i.e. under secretaries, vice president, white house advisors. The format can also be changed to a press conference simulation, where the class and teacher assume the role of the press and the cabinet members take questions on their proposed programs etc.
The textbook, a computer with an Internet connection, and other resources on the executive departments from supplementary print and audio-visual sources are essential resources. Teacher prepared instruction and sign up sheets are also needed.
Possible Adaptations for Special Needs Students:
The teacher can script and simplify the simulation to accommodate the needs of resource and English Learners.
Gahr High School
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