Welcome to Lira’s Gov and Econ!
It is my belief that Year 12 in social science have the two most important classes young adults need to function in everyday society. Students will learn how our federal, state and local governments are organized and affect you every day.
Unit 1: Introduction to Government
- Week 1: People and Government We explore the necessity of government and its role in our lives as citizens. Various types of government, such as democracies, autocracies, and monarchies, are examined.
- Week 2: Origins of American Government We delve into the origins of government, studying different theories and discussing what defines a country or state.
- Week 3: Foundations of American Government The American colonists' revolt against British rule is reviewed, drawing upon knowledge from previous history classes, including insights from Enlightenment thinkers. An examination of their writings offers further understanding.
Exam #1: Multiple choice, true/false, matching questions
Performance Task #1: Creating an 11"x17" poster depicting a country or nation of personal or familial origin, using vocabulary and concepts covered in the first three weeks.
Unit 2: U.S. Government
- Week 4: Articles of Confederation/Constitution We explore the first form of government in the United States, the Articles of Confederation, and analyze the reasons behind its failure. The Constitution and the compromises between free and slave states, as well as large and small states, are discussed. The focus also extends to the Bill of Rights, accompanied by a reading on the potential imbalance of power within the branches.
- Week 5: Federalism We examine the concept of federalism, which grants powers to both the federal government and states. The powers, responsibilities, and limitations of each level of government are explored.
- Week 6: Political Parties/Ideology Students engage in a fun quiz to determine their political ideology, exploring the influence of ideology on political parties. The reading of President Washington's farewell address provides insights into his warnings about political parties.
Performance Task #2: Research paper, complex poster, presentation, or video on the topic of proposing the 28th constitutional amendment.
Unit 3: The Executive Branch
- Week 7: Elections The process of electing the President of the United States is thoroughly examined, covering qualifications, primaries, conventions, and the general election.
- Week 8: Campaigning Controversial aspects of elections, including the electoral college and contested elections throughout history, are explored. The campaign process, including advertisements and the impact of Citizens United, is discussed.
- Week 9: The Executive Branch Students study the Executive Branch, with group presentations focused on the president's cabinet secretaries and their respective responsibilities in the government.
- Week 10: Electoral College A document-based question (DBQ) assignment allows for an in-depth analysis of the Electoral College system. Group presentations on the topic are delivered.
Performance Task #3: Research report or creative project on a recent presidential election, covering candidate announcements, key campaign issues/events, primary election results, and a discussion on the future of the Electoral College system.
Unit 4: Legislative and Judicial Branches
- Week 11: Congress The roles of the House and Senate are explored, including the legislative process of how a bill becomes a law. The focus extends to committees within each chamber and the leadership roles of the Speaker and Senate Majority Leader. Students become familiar with their own House members and Senators.
- Week 12: Roles of Congress The topics of gerrymandering and the budget process are covered, shedding light on their significance within Congress.
- Week 13: Judicial Branch An introduction to the federal courts and their powers granted by the Constitution is provided. Key cases, such as Marbury vs. Madison, are analyzed. Interviews with Justice Scalia and Justice Ginsburg help explore important vocabulary, such as strict constructionist and judicial activist.
- Week 14: Judicial Branch Group presentations profile the nine Supreme Court justices, allowing for a comprehensive understanding of their roles and contributions.
Performance Task #4: An in-class paper is assigned
Unit 5: Civil Liberties and State/Local Government
- Week 15: Civil Liberties Collaborating with Lira's Law Class, we delve deeper into the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment, focusing on our rights. We analyze the parameters of free speech and apply the Lemon test to religious cases.
- Week 16: Civil Liberties Cases Over 30 Supreme Court decisions are examined, assessing them based on vocabulary terms like narrow/broad, activist/restraint, majority opinion, and dissent.
- Week 17: State Government A brief overview of the structure of California's state government and an introduction to state representatives are provided.
- Week 18: Local Government A brief exploration of local governments, such as those in Millbrae and San Bruno, as well as our own school board.
Exam #5: The Final
Performance Task #5: A speech on a civil liberties Court case and a letter to a representative are assigned.