by Rita Wubker, Nimitz Elementary School

Teacher Introduction


Teacher Resource Page



Here are a few helpful hints:

Divide your class into the three branches before you begin this webquest.  I suggest you break your class down into similar proportions:

          20 students:

          Legislative Branch - (3 groups of  4)  8 Representatives and 4 Senators

          Executive Branch - 1 President and 3 Cabinet Members

          Judicial Branch - 1 Chief Justice and 3 additional Justices

Simulation Instructions:
1. Provide new vocabulary to the class that might be necessary
for the activity, such as:
constitutionality: whether a law follows the guidelines
set by the United States Constitution
veto: the power of the president to overturn a new law
bill: a law proposed by legislators
2. Tell students that they are going to represent the different
branches of government and pass their own laws.
3. Divide students into the three branches of government.
4. Give the students in the judicial branch a copy of the United
States Constitution.                                                                                          5. Divide the “legislative branch” group into three smaller groups
and explain that each of the groups will propose its own bill to
the passed into law.                                                                                           6. Begin the lawmaking process for all three bills by having students
get out their pencils and paper and propose a law. Explain that
their new laws will have to get approval from the president, just
as a real law would.
7. Allow students sufficient time to write their laws.
8. Gather the bills that have been passed by the legislature and
pass them on to the president. If all three bills make it out of the
legislature, advise the president to veto at least one of the bills so
that students may become familiar with the veto process.
9. Hand the newly passed laws to the judicial branch to consider
the law’s constitutionality.
10. Post the laws that passed all three branches of government
in a prominent place in the classroom.

After the students have completed their project, ask:
Did any of the bills you proposed not become a law?
Why did the bill not become a law?
Did the system of checks and balances work?
Do you think it works in real life?