Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Classroom "Branches"

Lately we've been exploring US Government and the Constitution.  Today I decided to try a classbuilding activity mixed in with some content about the separation of powers and our three branches of government.  I think the kids totally enjoyed this activity--especially being up and moving!--and I think it definitely gave them a visual element to the branches of government.

Here's what we did:
  1. Laid out the rules: no "peeking" at your "branch" element and no talking.
  2. Gave each student a "branch" element on a string, put it around their neck so that their element was on their back so that their classmates could see it but they couldn't
  3. Instructed the students that they needed to form the branches of government without talking or looking at their own element as well as figuring out which element in the branches they were
  4. Let the students GO!  They are to use their own intuition and ideas (with NO talking!) to form the branches and figure out what each person "is"
  5. When completed, debrief activity and the branches activity: What was the point?  What did you learn?  How was everyone held accountable?  What did this teach you about the make-up of our government?  ...and so on!

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