The Executive Branch

Students will learn about the executive branch, including the unique role and powers of the president and the function of executive departments and agencies. They will explore key facets of foreign policy and the president’s role in it.

Check out this quick video on the Executive Branch on YouTube!  http://youtu.be/9KyvQuOHFvE


Branches of Power
Play Time: 30+ mins
See the bigger picture and control all three branches of government!

Six Roles of the President (Infographic)

From Commander-in-Chief to Chief Executive—keep track of the many hats worn by the president with this printable infographic for your classroom!


Foreign Policy: War & Peace and Everything In Between

Students learn what foreign policy means. First, they learn the distinction between foreign and domestic policy. Then they find out what role the executive branch plays in foreign policy and the primary tools it uses: foreign aid, the military, and treaties. In addition, students learn how foreign policy power is shared with the legislative branch.


The Presidential Agenda

For the winning candidate, campaign promises evolve into an official presidential agenda. And despite the doubting general public, 75% of agenda goals since Woodrow Wilson have been delivered. This mini-lesson takes a look at how the presidential agenda is developed, shared, and executed.


Being President

Ever wondered what it would be like to be President of the United States? Find out what the president does every day, who the president's helpers are, and how the president's job affects your life.


Mini-lesson: Executive Orders (HS)

In this Media Moment Mini-lesson, students discover how presidents use executive orders to wield power and how the legislative and judicial branches support and challenge these measures. Additionally, students will take a look at what fair and balanced reporting on an executive order might look like and will practice evaluating perspectives presented in online news articles of choice.


*NEW* Executive Command Extension Pack

Make your students’ game play more meaningful by using our activity and assessment set designed specifically for Executive Command. This easy-to-use Extension Pack helps you give context and purpose to the game, as well as reinforce and assess the game concepts. That means deeper learning for students, and best practices around game-centered learning for you!  Extension Packs require PowerPoint and are designed for use with projectors or interactive whiteboards.


Executive Command
Play Time: 15-30 mins
Being the president is no easy task. Are you up to the challenge?

Mini-lesson: Pardon Power (HS)

This Media Moment Mini-lesson teaches about presidential pardons, commutations, and the limitations on these powers. By looking at a popular meme appearing in June 2018 about former President Barack Obama’s pardons, students learn about fact-checking websites and how to conduct an independent web search to verify a claim. The activity walks students through the process of fact-checking a claim of choice. 


Nationbuilder in Chief

Starting a brand new nation was a tough job for America’s first presidents—and it didn’t help that many Americans were wary of the new central government. In this lesson, students learn about some of the decisions and actions the first presidential administrations took to make sure the United States would be strong enough to last.

Got a 1:1 classroom? Download fillable PDF versions of this lesson's materials below!


Branches of Power
Play Time: 30+ mins
See the bigger picture and control all three branches of government!

Supreme Court Nominations

This lesson teaches the fundamentals of Supreme Court Justice nominations and helps students understand the politics behind the nominations. It challenges students to cut through the politics and compare nominees’ judicial philosophies and includes an optional extension for students to research and analyze the controversial nominations and confirmation processes of Robert Bork, Harriet Miers, Clarence Thomas, and Merrick Garland.

Got a 1:1 classroom? Download fillable PDFs of this lesson's materials below!


For The President, All In A Day's Work

Students learn the primary responsibilities of the president and how those duties connect to the powers the Constitution grants to the Executive Branch. Students also learn about the types of issues the Executive Branch deals with and which federal agencies handle them.

Got a 1:1 classroom? Download fillable PDF versions of this lesson's materials below!


Cabinet Building

The president isn’t alone when it comes to the day to day work of the Executive Branch. This lesson takes a look at the history of the presidential cabinet, how the cabinet is built through the confirmation process, and why this elite group of people matter to you.

Got a 1:1 classroom? Download fillable PDF versions of this lesson's materials below!


Executive Roles: Money Doesn't Grow on Trees?

Students learn the role of the executive branch in creating and carrying out laws.  Through role-play, the class models the legislative and execution processes as they create a new coin in order to learn how the executive and legislative branches work together. They follow the new coin from its inception as an idea in the executive branch to its creation at the U.S. Mint.


Mini-lesson: Succession (HS)

In the opening activity, students are challenged to create a succession plan for their school principal. The class then reviews the official presidential line of succession and reads about its origins. Students learn how to detect satire by examining stories about Vice President Mike Pence’s supposed sights on the presidency. The closing activity of this Media Moment Mini-lesson offers the opportunity to practice these new skills by answering a series of questions about an article that students suspect to be satirical.


The First 100 Days

Even presidents have to worry about making the grade! Discover the history behind the “First 100 Days” and its impact on the American presidency with this new lesson plan that includes extension ideas and media literacy moments. Students will evaluate the fairness of judging presidents based on this somewhat arbitrary time period.


Being President

Ever wondered what it would be like to be President of the United States? Find out what the president does every day, who the president's helpers are, and how the president's job affects your life.


Mini-lesson: Presidential Appointments (HS)

Students learn about unilateral presidential appointments, nominations, and the Senate confirmation process in the Media Moment Mini-Lesson.  Through this lens, students investigate the role the media plays as a gatekeeper and agenda setter. In the closing activity, students evaluate news coverage of an appointee or executive department of choice over 3 business days to evaluate how coverage evolved and what details were emphasized.


*NEW* Executive Command Extension Pack

Make your students’ game play more meaningful by using our activity and assessment set designed specifically for Executive Command. This easy-to-use Extension Pack helps you give context and purpose to the game, as well as reinforce and assess the game concepts. That means deeper learning for students, and best practices around game-centered learning for you!  Extension Packs require PowerPoint and are designed for use with projectors or interactive whiteboards.


Executive Command
Play Time: 15-30 mins
Being the president is no easy task. Are you up to the challenge?

Mini-lesson: Veto Power (HS)

This Media Moment Mini-lesson explores the presidential veto and pocket veto powers, their role as a negotiating tool, and the Congressional veto override process. Students also learn how to use fact-checking and triangulation to evaluate news claims and detect misinformation. The activity allows students to practice news literacy skills by triangulating a fact of their choice using three distinct online sources


A Very Big Branch

In A Very Big Branch, students learn that there's more to the executive branch than just the president! Students learn how the executive departments and agencies regulate and enforce governmental policies, and they explore the roles and responsibilities of the presidential cabinet.  

Got a 1:1 classroom? Download fillable PDF versions of this lesson's materials below!