Lesson Plan

States have their own governments, but what powers do they have, and where does that power come from? In this lesson, students will explore the nature of state power as pre-existing the Constitution, as well as the limits states imposed on themselves when they created the Constitution. They’ll learn about the states’ police power and how state power related to the federal governments’ powers.

This lesson is a more advanced version of “State Power” lesson in our State and Local Government curriculum unit.

This resource was created with support from the State Government Affairs Council. 


Students will be able to:

  • Explain the origin of states’ power as preexisting the Constitution.
  • Define and distinguish reserved, expressed, implied, and concurrent powers.
  • Identify the states’ role in the U.S. federalist system.
  • Analyze the powers held by the states, including the states’ “police powers.”


Downloadable Resources

Resources for this lesson are available in print and digital form. A free teacher account is required to access them.

This Lesson Plan is included in the following units:

Related Resources