Knowing Our Local Government Lesson Plan

Have students write a letter to their local government representative. &copy Dennis Macdonald

Submitted by: Lindsay Springer, Second grade teacher in Blasdell New York

Grades 2-4

Title: “Knowing Our Local Government”

Goal/Standard/Key Idea: The goal of this lesson is to have students identify the components of local government and be able to generate four to six sentences using local government facts and vocabulary.


  • 3.RI.1- Reading Informational Text- Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

  • 3.RI.4- Reading Informational Text - Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.

  • 3.RI.7-Reading Informational Text - Use information gained from illustrations (ex: maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (ex: where, when, why, and, how key events occur).

  • 3.SL.1a- Speaking and Listening - Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.

  • 3.SL.1b- Speaking and Listening - Follow agreed upon rules for discussions (ex: gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).

  • 3.SL.6- Speaking and Listening - Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.

  • 3.L.1a-i- Language - Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • 3.L.2a-g- Language - Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  • New York State Social Studies Standard 5 - Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the necessity for establishing governments; the governmental system of the U.S. and other nations; the U.S. Constitution; the basic civic values of American constitutional democracy; and the roles, rights, and responsibilities of citizenship, including avenues of participation.

    Key Idea: Local Government is comprised of many parts that must work together. The students will also learn facts about their own local government.

    Objective: Students will orally generate (then copy) four sentences containing facts or vocabulary concerning local government.

    Habits of Mind: (highlight those emphasized in this lesson)

    Critical Thinking

    • Being accurate and seeking accuracy
    • Being clear and seeking clarity
    • Being open minded
    • Restraining impulsivity
    • Taking a position when the information warrants it
    • Being sensitive to others’ feelings and level of knowledge

    Creative Thinking

    • Engaging intensely in tasks even when answers or solutions are not immediately apparent
    • Pushing the limits of your knowledge and abilities
    • Generating, trusting and maintaining your own standards of evaluation
    • Generating new ways of viewing a situation outside the boundaries of standard convention


    • Being aware of your own thinking
    • Planning
    • Being aware of necessary resources
    • Being sensitive to feedback
    • Evaluating the effectiveness of your actions


    • Social Studies books
    • Lined paper
    • Vocabulary cards
    • Social Studies packets
    • Pencils
    • Dry erase board (easel)
    • Dry erase markers


    Whole Group - The teacher will say, “Over the course of the week, we have been discussing local government.

    Who can tell me some of the facts they learned about local government? (wait for student responses) Today, we are going to create a project that shows how much you have learned (show example project). You are going to create your own local government! Today you will be writing six (modified group-four) facts about local government. You will first write them in your notebook, have them checked, and then transfer them to good paper. We will be working on the sentences in our Guided Reading groups today. When you are not in a group, working with a teacher, you will either be private reading or on the computers. Please listen for what group is starting where. If you forget what rotation you are in, look up at the chart (refer to chart on the front board).”

    Small Group - Before we start our local government projects, we are going to review the vocabulary we learned this week, as it will help us write the sentences we need for our project.

    Learning Experiences:


    Small Group (This is a modified group). These students will be completing four sentences, while other groups will receive less teacher direction and will complete six)- The teacher will say, “To review our vocabulary, we are going to play “Headbands”. During the game, one student will choose a vocabulary card that is face down. The student will hold it to their forehead without looking at the word. Another student will have to describe/define the word to them so they can guess which word it is.

    After the review game, students will then open their notebooks to the next clean page in the Social Studies section. The teacher will say, “We reviewed some facts about local government at the rug and also reviewed the vocabulary just now during “Headbands”. Based on this information, we are going to create four sentences as a group, for our local government projects.” The students will then orally generate four sentences (as a group) about local government. As they generate the sentences, the teacher will write them on the white board easel, so that they can be accurately recorded by each student. Students will be encouraged to use their resources from the week (Social Studies textbooks, local government packets, whole group brainstorming sessions) when generating their sentences. Students will also be reminded to ensure that their sentences have proper capitalization, grammar, and spelling. They will be instructed to reread their sentences to ensure they have recorded them accurately.

    Instructional Strategies teachers will apply: The instructional strategies that will be applied are: direct instruction, cooperative learning, and brainstorming.

    Reasoning Processes students will apply: The students will be required to use all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy when completing this activity. They will have to utilize knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.


    After all three rotations (all six Guided Reading groups have each met with a teacher), the students will be called back to the rug.

    Students will be asked to share some of their facts with the whole group, so that all students can hear the ideas of others. The teacher will then say, “You have all come up with great facts! Starting later today and into Monday, we are going to use these facts to complete our local government projects. You will cut out the facts you have written, and glue them onto each side of the government you have created. The rest is up to your creativity!”


    The initial assessment will be done orally, when students are asked to generate sentences based on the information they have learned about local government. Students will also be assessed on their final projects. They will be assessed on accuracy of their facts, neatness, as well as grammar, capitalization, and punctuation within their sentences.

    Extension Activities:

    Independent Practice - The students will be required to transfer their sentences about government from their notebooks to good paper for their local government projects. They will have to independently monitor to ensure that they have transferred accurately and have included proper capitalization, punctuation, and grammar. They will also be required to complete the project independently, with some guidance and assistance from the teacher.

    Homework- The students will be instructed to go home and discuss local government with their families. They will be encouraged to discuss what they know about their local government, and to show their families their knowledge of local government vocabulary.