American Studies Pacing Calendar 2014-2015



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Third Quarter

January 6 – March 12

Topic: Three Branches of Government-

Executive

Instructional Time:

20 Days

Cur. pgs. 21-23

OC³ and Essential Questions

Topics/Content

Suggested Resources and Activities

4.2A Identify constitutional qualifications for holding public office, the terms of office, and the expressed powers delegated to each branch of the national government including the numbers of members comprising the United States Congress and United States Supreme Court.
4.2D Explain why certain provisions of the United States Constitution result in tensions among the three branches, and evaluate how the functions of the national government have changed over time through executive actions and judicial interpretation of the necessary and proper clause.
4.2G Identify the issues behind and explain the changes resulting from landmark United States Supreme Court decisions including United States v. Nixon (1974)
4.5C Explain how legislation, executive departments, and regulatory agencies affect both economic sectors and individual citizens.


  1. The Presidency 4.2A

  • Job description and qualifications

  • Presidential Succession Act, 25th Amendment and the Vice Presidency

2. Presidential Powers: Article II, Sections 2-3 4.2D

  • Imperial Presidency

  • Executive Powers (inc. U.S. v. Nixon, 1974) 4.2G

  • Oyez

  • Diplomatic and military powers

  • Legislative and judicial powers

3. Bureaucracy 4.5C

  • Cabinet/Departments

  • Regulatory/Independent agencies





Chapter 13-Sections 1,2

Chapter 14
Activity: Presidential Powers
Writing Activity: Presidential Pardon
Chapter 15





  • CH-S = Chapter-Section in Magruders American Government, KIT = Resources in Magruders Teacher’s Kit, WTP = We the People, OSS = Outside Sources


Third Quarter

January 6 – March 12

Topic: Three Branches of Government—

Executive: Finance and Defense

Instructional Time:

20 Days

Cur. pgs. 21-23

OC³ and Essential Questions

Topics/Content

Suggested Resources and Activities

4.4A Identify major sources of revenues for the federal government and how revenue is budgeted.

4.5A Describe the steps of the budget process including examples of economic trade-offs that occur when addressing competing public needs.

4.6A Evaluate the effectiveness of cooperative efforts exercised through international alliances and organizations from the perspective of the United States including United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

4.6B Examine issues of national sovereignty and human rights on contemporary decisions of foreign policy.

4.4B Analyze significant policy issues and how they reflect the nation’s interests and principles including entitlements and environmental concerns.

4.2F Apply the principles of limited government, federalism, checks and balances, and separation of powers to the workings of the three branches of government in real world situations including current issues and events.
Essential Questions

  1. What are the constitutional and personal qualifications for the office of President?

  2. Is the Electoral College the best method for choosing a President? Explain why or why not.

  3. In what ways has the President’s power grown since the writing of the Constitution?

  4. Compared to the original goal of the framers, has the President overstepped his bounds?

  5. Do Americans expect too much today from the President?

  6. How does the President organize the executive branch in order to meet all his/her duties and roles?

4. Government/Budgeting 4.4A
5. Foreign and Defense policies4.5A

  • Foreign Affairs and National Security 4.5A

  • Foreign and Defense Agencies 4.6A 4.6B

  • Foreign Aid and Alliances 4.4B

  • Domestic Policy 4.4B

  • Current Issues and Events 4.2F




Chapter 16
Chapter 17-Sections 1,2,4
Writing Prompt: What is the advantage of giving Congress, rather than the President, the final say in determining the federal budget? What is a disadvantage? Cite textual evidence to support your answer.


Suggested Resources and Literacy Connection

  • Interpret Political Cartoons

  • Write about ways to improve the efficiency of regulatory agencies

  • Create their own hypothetical candidate, based on civic virtue, background, and personality characteristics. Analyze their electability

  • Write a feature article analyzing who was the most influential president and why

  • Compare/Contrast famous inauguration addresses to what they were actually able to accomplish

  • Write a feature article about an event going on in the world today and how the U.S. is responding

  • Use a world map to research the “hot spots” and locate them on a map. They will present to the class how the UN or U.S. government is using its structure to deal with these problems

  • Page 499, Rostker v. Goldberg, 1981

  • Chart the Cabinet Departments including agencies within each department

  • Research an assigned agency and identify its function and goals, size, salaries, budgets, etc. Create a job “Want ad” for a position within this agency listing the qualifications for the job, working conditions and salary

  • Bill of Rights: Presidents and the Constitution

Volume One: LBJ and Reagan, pg 24+

Volume Two: Nixon, pg 118+






Third Quarter

January 6 – March 12

Topic: Three Branches of Government—

Judicial

Instructional Time:

10 Days

Cur. pgs. 24-25

OC³ and Essential Questions

Topics/Content

Suggested Resources and Activities

4.2A Identify constitutional qualifications for holding public office, the terms of office, and the expressed powers delegated to each branch of the national government including the numbers of members comprising the United States Congress and United States Supreme Court.

4.2F Apply the principles of limited government, federalism, checks and balances, and separation of powers to the workings of the three branches of government in real world situations including current issues and events.

4.2D Explain why certain provisions of the United States Constitution result in tensions among the three branches, and evaluate how the functions of the national government have changed over time through executive actions and judicial interpretation of the necessary and proper clause.

4.2G Identify the issues behind and explain the changes resulting from landmark United States Supreme Court decisions including Marbury v. Madison (1803), McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
Essential Questions

  1. What is jurisdiction?

  2. What are the duties of constitutional courts?

  3. Federal judges are selected how?

  4. In what ways does the Supreme Court shape public policy?

  5. How do the courts balance the rights of society v. the rights of the individual?

  6. What impact have judicial decisions had on society?

  7. How has the judicial branch adapted to society?




  1. Structure: Article III of the Constitution 4.2A

  • Dual court system

  • Jurisdiction: exclusive, concurrent, original, appellate

  • Federal versus State

2. Lower Courts

  • Constitutional Courts: District Courts, Courts of Appeal

  • Special Courts

3. Supreme Court

  • Justices: How many? Who are they? How selected?

  • How a case reaches the Supreme Court?

  • Process when it gets to the Supreme Court.

  • Current issues and events 4.2F

4. Judicial Review 4.2D

  • Marbury v. Madison (1803)

  • McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) 4.2G

  • Oyez



Chapter 18-Sections 1,3

Chapter 18-Sections 2,4

Activity: Lower Courts


Chapter 18 Section 3


Chapter 18 Section 3

Chapter 11 Section 4



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