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Fourth Grade Social Studies. Planning for Unit 7: Our American Government and Unit 8: Being a Responsible Spender by Learning from Our Past Marlo Mong March 17, 2009. How do I know what concepts to teach?. Unit 8. Unit 7. Use your curriculum map!

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fourth grade social studies

Fourth Grade Social Studies

Planning for

Unit 7: Our American Government


Unit 8: Being a Responsible Spender by Learning from Our Past

Marlo Mong

March 17, 2009

how do i know what concepts to teach
How do I know what concepts to teach?

Unit 8

Unit 7

  • Use your curriculum map!
    • Every piece of content for the rest of the year is listed under a relevant concept
    • These are suggestions – make them work for your class!
  • Keep up with it all using a concept wall.
our government
Our Government
  • The First Amendment
    • Why? Stronger national government – protect the rights of the people
    • Freedoms of expression is not all encompassing!
      • Do no harm – including libel & slander
      • Be prepared to face the consequences.
  • Functions of government – Think about it in terms of the federal system of government – how does sharing power carry out government functions
    • Making & enforcing laws:
    • Managing conflicts & protecting rights: think about the roles of the different branches of government
    • Providing defense: creating and maintaining a strong military force
    • Limiting power of people: checks and balances
    • Fiscal responsibility: collect taxes to provide public goods & services
      • Tax & spending decisions should support the overall health of the economy
      • Fiscal responsibility is a shared between national & state governments
framework support
Framework Support

The Federal System - National, State, or Shared Power

  • Prior to studying our federal system of government, the teacher may ask "What does your government do for you?" After listing student responses, the teacher may select one response and ask "Does the federal government or state government provide this service?”
  • With a partner, students complete the Federal System Activity. Following completion of the partner activity, teacher and students confirm and adjust answers as needed. Discussion may follow and lead into examination of our federal system using the textbook, the Constitution, and other resources.
  • Attachment 4 - Federal System Activity
framework support5
Framework Support

The Importance of Civic Participation

Select students to participate in the following scene. Have one student ask the question and have other students stand in front of the class and respond. You may create note cards with dialogue. Students may create their own scenario illustrating lack of participation.


  • Do you know the lunch choices for today?  No, I haven’t paid attention. (staying informed)
  • Have you made your lunch choice?   No, I don’t care.   (voting)
  • Will you take the lunch money to the office? No, I don’t think I’ll do that. (volunteering)
  • Will you tell the lunch lady we cannot order lunch because we are out of order forms? No, I don’t think I should do that.    (communicating)

The teacher may follow up scenario asking: Will you (the person in the scene) have lunch today? You may or may not. It may be what you want or it might not be. This is a simple scene but it portrays a bigger picture of what would happen if people take the same kind of attitude with public life. In order for our democracy to continue to be strong and to grow, we (the People) have to take part and be involved in it. Let’s go back through the scene –

1.  Was the person informed? No. Is it important for citizens to be informed? (example: selecting a candidate, forming an opinion on a law/referendum)

2.  Did the person select a lunch choice? No. Is it important for a person to vote?

3.  Did the person volunteer to get the job done? No. Is it important for people to volunteer within the community?

4.  Did the person communicate needs? No. Is it important for citizens to communicate their needs and wants?

The teacher may then have students volunteer to come up and play the role as a cooperative classmate by replacing the uncooperative with cooperative responses. The teacher may continue lesson with the Citizen Responsibility Activity attached.

a guide to economic thinking
A Guide to Economic Thinking
  • Review what students have learned about economics in its historical context (i.e. specialization in the colonial regions, voluntary exchange between the Native Americans, colonists, and England)
  • Apply the economic concepts in SS4E1 to real life situations.
    • Let students give examples of:
      • When they have needed to trade with others and the benefit of that voluntary exchange
      • Made a decision based on opportunity cost
      • Worked on a group project – What did you specialize in and how did that increase your productivity?
      • Determined price incentive as a:
        • Producer of a service – Earning $2 for doing a daily chore vs. $5 for that same chore.
        • Consumer of a good – paying $10 for that video game instead of $20 because it is on sale
framework support7
Framework Support

Sample Performance Task

Enduring Understandings: Production, Distribution, Consumption and Scarcity

 The Island Game!

  • Students work in groups to create an island game board that allows players to make choices and incur opportunity costs.  The game board must reflect a specific environment.  The object of the game would be to move one's marker around a circular path on "the island" to accumulate "wealth."  Players may do that by purchasing spaces along the path and charge others who land there a fee.  The person with the most money at the end of the game wins.   
  •  To create the game, students must complete the following:
    • create a game board and spaces that reflect the islands geography and limited resources
    • set fees to purchase specific game board spaces and fines for landing there; the higher the purchasing cost, the higher the landing fines
    •  write simple "laws" or rules to be followed when conducting island business
    • determine the amount of money each player will start with
    • create a set of hazards or obstacles that landing on
    • create a few special circumstances involving the development of a "new technology" for players to earn more money and spending power 
  • This is the kids portal for Students can find links to lots of information about the government.
  • Learn about the branches of our government, federal agencies, state & local governments, and find resource on this website.
  • Lots of information about government for kids, K-12.
  • You can find lots of free tools to teach economics to your students at this website – like children’s literature with lesson plans & fun songs to teach important economic concepts.
  • This is the lessons section of Use this page to search for lessons about specific concepts in economics.
  • The Georgia Council for Economics Education is dedicated to providing the best resources for Georgia’s teachers and students.
resources for integration
Resources for Integration

Check It Out: The Book About Banking

By: Neale Godfrey

Publisher: Modern Curriculum Press

Concept: Saving

Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday

By: Judith Viorst

Publisher: Atheneum 1978Concept: Saving

Mailing May

By: Michael Tunnell

Publisher: HarpercollinsConcept: Opportunity Cost

Something Special For Me

By: Vera Williams

Publisher: GreenwillowConcept-Consumers