(Source: 4: Structure, Powers, and Lawmaking In the National Government

Virginia Standard of Learning CE. 6 a,b,c,d: The student will demonstrate knowledge of the American constitutional government at
the national level by:
a) describing the structure and powers of the national government.
b) explain the principle of separation of powers and checks and balances.
c) explain and / or simulate the lawmaking process at the national level.
d) explain the role of individuals and interest groups in lawmaking.
e) describe the roles and powers of the executive branch (national.)

Virginia Standard of Learning CE. 9 a,b: The student will demonstrate knowledge of how public policy is made by:
a) examining the impact of the media on public opinion and public policy.
b) explaining the role of individuals and interest groups

Read the following Study Maps or outlines to better understand the SOLs for this unit.
CE 6a The Federal System Federal

CE 6b Separation of Powers Powers Separation of Powers #2, Checks and Balances Power & Check

CE 6c Lawmaking Powers Lawmaking

CE 6d Individuals and Interest Groups Groups

CE 6e Influence of the Executive Branch (formerly 7b) Executive influence

Unit 4 Vocabulary:
Three Branches: Both national and state governments have three branches.
Legislative branch: lawmaking branch

Executive branch: branch that enforces (carries out, executes) the law

Judicial branch: -- branch that interprets (determines the meaning of) the law

The Powers of the Three Branches Graphic Play the game by clicking on the link: Branches Game

Execute: carries out, enforces, executes

Interpret: determines the meaning of

Revenue: income

Levies: To impose or collect, as in taxes.

Judicial review: power of the court to determine constitutionality of laws and actions of the executive branch

Expressed powers: powers that are specifically listed in the Constitution; for the national government

Implied powers: powers that are not specifically listed in the Constitution; they are used to carry out expressed powers

Separation of powers : dividing government power among the branches of government

Checks and balances: ways each branch can counter the other branches -- used to prevent abuse of power

Approve: to accept

Appoint: to select In government, this means to choose someone to serve in a government position.

Impeach: to accuse an official of wrongdoing. When someone is impeached, that person is only accused of wrongdoing. To remove the person from office, there has to be a trial.

Unconstitutional: against the Constitution. If something is unconstitutional, it does not agree with the principles of the U. S. Constitution.

Veto: to reject

Override: to go around another objection. In government, this means that the legislative branch passes a law without the approval of the executive branch.

Bicameral: In government, this means that the legislative branch has two houses. They are usually called the senate and the house.

Interest groups: group which centers around a common cause / concern

Lobbying: seeking to influence a lawmaker to vote for or against a measure

Demonstrating: actively participating to support or reject something

State of the Union: Annual speech given by the President before Congress, usually in January or February.

State of the Commonwealth: Speech given by the Governor before the General Assembly, usually given in January.

Pardon: To forgive the crimes of a convicted criminal and restore their civil rights. This is usually done by the chief executive of the nation or of a state.


The Powers of the Three Branches
Provide Checks and Balances

Study the powers of the three branches by clicking on the following link. The link is to an online slide show about the powers of the branches. Branches

Study the way checks and balances work along with the separation of powers. Click on the link for an online slide presentation. Powers and Checks

How much do you know about the three branches of government? Complete this ThinkQuest to learn more. Three branches of government ThinkQuest: Quest

Lawmaking Powers: Who does what? Study this chart to understand how laws are made.


Watch this online slide show for an explanation of the law making process.
Bill to Law

Public Interest Groups:
First, click here to see a list of Public Interest Groups. You'll be surprised at their number! List
Choose a group and click on its link found on the page above. Find out what its interests are and what the group wants from government. Report your findings to the class.

Here is a good description of the types of groups. After you read this, click on the link that it came from to find out more.

Interest Groups Link: Interest
WebQuest: How interest groups influence a bill: WebQuest

Unit Review Games: Click on the links to review this unit.
1. Legislative Branch Online Quiz: Quiz
2. Checks and Balances Game: C & B
3. Put Steps in Order...Bill Becomes a Law: Bill to Law
4. Federal Government Fling the Teacher: Fed
5. CE6 Matching: Match
6. Jeopardy: Game
7. Three Quizzes on "Congress for Kids" quizzes