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Federal Budget Lesson Plan

Author: Erin Beals

Content Area: Civics/Government

Grade Level: Grade 11-12

26 February 2018

Lesson Length: 60 min

I. Standards

Arizona K-12 Standards for Social Studies:

Strand 3—Civics/Government, Concept 4: Rights, Responsibilities and Roles

of Citizenship—PO 4: Demonstrate the skills and knowledge (e.g., group

problem solving, public speaking, petitioning and protesting) needed to

accomplish public purposes

Strand 5—Economics, Concept Two: Microeconomics—PO 3: Describe how

government policies influence the economy:

a. need to compare costs and benefits of government policies before taking


Arizona K-12 Standards for English Language Arts:

11-12.W.7: 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.

11-12.W.9: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support

analysis, reflection, and research.

Arizona 9-12 Standards for Educational Technology:

Concept 1: Knowledge and Ideas—PO 1: Analyze, evaluate, and synthesize

information to generate new ideas, processes, or products.

Concept 2: Models and Simulations—PO 1: Predict and test the relationships

amongst interdependent elements of a digital model, simulation or system.

II. Objective

1. Students will use an online simulator program to come up with solutions to

eradicate the national debt in order to appreciate the complexity and nuances of

the issue of government funding and the consequences of cutting or raising the

budget for programs and policies reliant on the government for funding.

III. The Why

• Students will understand that the topic of government spending is one that is not easily

approachable because of potential political and social repercussions of making changes to

the budget.

• Students will use their prior knowledge about politics’ role in the Congress to gain a

deeper understanding of apportionment.

• Students will further develop a sense of what is important to them personally by

examining how much the government spends in certain areas.

IV. Materials Needed

1.) A copy of a pie chart that details how much federal government spending goes where for

each student

2.) Personal computers

3.) Government textbooks

4.) Pens or pencils and notebooks

5.) A copy of a blank pie chart and instructions for a written reflection for homework for each


6.) Access to the internet

7.) Online simulator “Fiscal Ship” found at

8.) PowerPoint

V. Warm Up

• Upon entering the classroom, students will take their seats and the instructor will ask

them to analyze the federal spending pie chart already provided for each of them on their


• Once a few minutes have passed, ample time for looking over the pie chart, the instructor

will verbally alert students as to what the daily objective is and the importance and

relevance of the day’s lesson.

VI. Anticipatory Set/Grabber

The instructor will then ask students to envision themselves as a federal lawmaker answer the

following questions on a sheet of paper:

a.) What surprised you when reviewing the federal budget?

b.) If you could, would you make any changes to it right now? What changes would you make?

c.) Do you think that the government should be spending more or less right now? Why?

VII. Instruction

• The instructor will stop the students after giving them an adequate amount of time to

thoroughly answer the questions from the anticipatory set and ask students to form

groups of no more than four.

• Once groups are formed, the instructor will ask each group to conduct a student-lead

discussion about their anticipatory responses. The instructor will remind students to

respect any differing opinions and to make sure to listen to each point made, rather than

waiting for their turn to speak. The teacher will serve as a sort of moderator walking

around to each group and making sure these expectations are met and emphasizing the

need for students to justify their answers or make an informed argument for any opinion

stated. The quality of these discussions and the points made will be treated as an


• The class will then regroup to take notes on a quick PowerPoint created by the instructor

on the federal budget.

• Once the PowerPoint has concluded, students will be asked to take out their computers

and go to an online simulator that will prompt them to balance the federal budget, which

they will be allowed to navigate for the rest of class to come up with as many different

combinations of policy changes for solutions as possible.

• While working on the simulator, the instructor will circle around the room and ask

guiding questions to make sure students understand the concepts presented to them and

clear up any confusion.

• In the last few minutes of class, the instructor will hand out and explain the worksheet

assigned for homework.

VIII. Assessment

The assessment portion of the lesson will happen continuously throughout the lesson, from the

instructor asking clarifying questions, to responses during group discussions, to work on the

online simulator. This is shown through the instruction portion of the lesson plan.
IX. Closure

Shortly before going over the homework, the instructor will ask students to return to their

answers to the introductory set and consider whether any of their responses have changed. The

instructor will then call on a few volunteers to ask them to share how their answers might have

changed and why. This will serve as a segue into explaining the homework, as in the written

reflection portion of their homework students will have to detail their takeaways from their group

discussions and the online simulator.

X. Independent practice/Homework

The students will be given the worksheet included at the end of the lesson to be completed as

homework. It will be due the next class period and will serve as a check for understanding

activity, a post-instruction assessment. Students will be graded on their grasp of the material as

well as their ability to justify their opinionated responses in the written reflection. The written

reflection should note any departure from opinions expressed in the anticipatory set and why any

opinions may have changed.

XI. Reflection

How well the lesson is going will be constantly evaluated through the execution of the activities

of the lesson, as well as the worksheet assigned as homework.

Homework Worksheet

Instructions: Think back to the activities we completed in class covering the federal budget and

federal spending, especially the Fiscal Ship online activity and the anticipatory set questions on

the federal spending pie chart. You will now have the opportunity to redesign that pie chart in a

way that you see fit and in a way that is fiscally feasible (as in, your proposed budget must be

reasonable and could hypothetically be implemented if you had the power to do so). Think about
what issues the government spends money on that are important to you and that you think would

serve the public the best should they be allowed more funding. However, as covered in the online

simulator and in the PowerPoint, raising and cutting federal funds cannot occur without

consequences of some kind, so be sure to budget mindfully. On the back of this paper, write a 3-

4 paragraph reflection on why you designed the budget the way you did that is persuasive and

backed by research. Be sure to explain why any opinions of yours changed between the

anticipatory sets and completing this assignment.

*Pie Chart template would be attached if this worksheet were actually assigned.

Day 4

Lesson Title: The Gall of Gerrymandering: A Look into the Divisive Process


• Students will use an online simulator program to redraw congressional districts in order

to illustrate their understanding of the highly-politicized process of gerrymandering and

to display their understanding of how it can be improved. (OBJ 2)