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Teaching Political Science/Government/Civics. How to organize a course?. Part One: “looking under the hood” or, “how does this thing work?” Government Part Two: “let’s drive this thing!” or, Citizenship. Part One. What’s under the hood? How does this thing work?

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How to organize a course
How to organize a course?

  • Part One: “looking under the hood” or, “how does this thing work?” Government

  • Part Two: “let’s drive this thing!” or, Citizenship


Part one
Part One

  • What’s under the hood?

  • How does this thing work?

  • Be sure to teach both how it was designed back then AND how it works now


First the choices
First, the choices

  • Many different kinds of government out there

  • Monarchy, theocracy, dictatorship, totalitarianism, anarchy…

  • Representational, not direct democracy

  • Democracy:

    • Presidential

    • Parliamentary

    • Pros and cons of each?


Local government
Local government

  • What is the government of your school?

  • Your neighborhood?

  • Your county?

  • Your state?

  • Why might this be important to know?


What s under the hood
What’s under the hood?

  • First, it’s a “federal system” of states’ rights, federal rights, and peoples’ rights

  • Express, concurrent, and reserved powers

  • Constant tension among them

  • Examples?


The 3 branches
The 3 branches

  • What are they and what do they do?

  • How have they changed over time?

  • What can’t they do?

  • How is power both shared and limited?

  • Checks and balances and separation of powers

  • Why?

  • What role do citizens play? http://youtu.be/M9bbxNV7QY8


Lobbying and pacs
Lobbying and PACS

  • A fourth branch?

  • See packet materials on lobbying


The constitution itself
The Constitution Itself

  • It’s really small!

  • Teach the parts and the contents

  • How do we change it? Amendments

  • How are laws made?

  • How has it changed?


The political process
The Political Process

  • Voting rights: “Electoral Dysfunction”?

  • The electoral college

  • The different kinds of political parties and their beliefs

  • The process: how people get elected

  • Campaigning and the media


The media
The Media

  • Propaganda techniques

  • Media bias

  • Image making and digital advertising

  • Polls

  • Role of technology to shape and target messages

  • Digital advertising


Part two
Part Two

  • “Let’s drive this thing”

  • Citizenship and civics