State Power: Got a Reservation?

Lesson Plan

Students discover that states have their own governments and powers separate from the federal government. They learn what those powers are, how they’re different from the federal government’s powers, and that state governments also give power to smaller, local governments. Students critique a set of fictional state laws, create a story involving state powers, and look at some differences between state and local power. 

We recommend teaching our lesson The "Federal" in Federalism right before this lesson.

(Please note: This lesson replaces our old "On the Level" lesson plan. The Venn diagram activity from On the Level can be found in The "Federal" in Federalism.)


Students will be able to…

  • Explain the source and nature of state and local governmental power.
  • Distinguish reserved powers from federal powers.
  • Identify types of powers that are held at the state or local level.
  • Examine the differences between statewide laws and local ordinances/laws.
  • Explain the duties of various local officials.