lesson plan

Judicial Branch -- Unit Opener
Virginia SOL # CE.10a,b,c,d:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The student will demonstrate knowledge of the judicial systems established by the Constitution of
Virginia and the Constitution of the United States.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The student will be able to recall previous knowledge relating to the judicial branch of government and
make predictions about what they will (and would like) to learn about the US dual court system by
completing a KWL chart. Students will also begin to be familiarized with key terms related to courts.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------o SOL Essentials- handout
o Blank computer paper
o Unit title page -- handout
o Judicial branch political cartoon- handout
o KWL--hand out
o Discoverstreaming.com video -- Judicial Branch
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Warm-up Activity:
1.) The judicial system is made up of a dual court system that consists of:
a. Local and State Courts
b. State and Federal Courts
c. Juvenile and Domestic Courts
d. Civil and Criminal Courts
2.) New Game: “Beat Battle”
a. Explain that students will be starting a new unit. We’ll also be starting a new game,
which will be restarted at the beginning of each unit.
b. Pass out the instruction slips to each of the students and make sure the scoreboard is
written on the front board.
c. Throughout the game, students repeat the pattern that is clapped to earn points.
3.) The teacher explains that the class will begin a new unit on the Judicial Branch of Government.
Pass out the “SOL Essentials” for the unit.
4.) Starting with this unit, students will get a “Unit Title Page” assignment that is to be completed
throughout the duration of the unit.
a. Pass out the instructions for the assignment, the example, and a blank 3-hold punched
piece of computer paper.
b. Students illustrate one of the essential questions for the unit and include one related
current event or cartoon that also goes a long with the unit. The completion of this
assignment will be checked at the end of the unit.
5.) Pass out the judicial branch political cartoon. Students use this cartoon as a review of the three
branches of government to make assumptions about the duties and responsibilities of the judicial
branch. Students answer questions that go along with the political cartoon independently. As a
class, point out the important parts of the cartoon and what it says about the judicial branch.
6.) Explain that a lot of this has been review. We’ve talked about the judicial branch as part of the
governments divided powers. Pass out a KWL chart and ask students to think independently to
recall information they already know. Give students a hint to also think about what they already
know about courts in general from movies, TV, or experience.
a. After given enough time to think independently, students can work with a partner to
compare what they know and remember and also make a list of questions or things they
would like to know.
b. As a class, compile one KWL chart based off of student suggestions
7.) After the chart is complete, use the remaining time to watch the video on
www.discoverystreaming.com -- “The Almost Painless Guide to the Judicial Branch.”
a. The video serves as both an introduction and a review
b. Have students follow along and answer the video questions while it is playing.
Feedback and Evaluation/Assessment
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The KWL chart will serve as an assessment to gather which information students recall from
previous units, how much they are comfortable with individually, and what they would like to get from
the unit. The worksheet that goes a long with the video can also be collected to ensure that students are
keeping up and following along.