What are the Federal Executive Departments?


What are the federal executive departments of the United States government? Today we will find out through a series of skits!

We have been using the book Exploring Government by Ray Notgrass for our study of high school government, and we find out that the President’s cabinet members are each in charge of different executive departments. We found out in last week’s episode what the line of succession is for President. Now we will describe each department of the federal government.

The group of people directly under the President is the executive department. (The legislative and judicial departments are the other two branches of government, and these two keep the executive department in check.)

Federal Executive Departments of the U.S. Government

The first executive department is the Department of State. This handles foreign relations and makes treaties, promotes peace, and encourages countries to participate in the war on terrorism, among other things.

Next is the Department of the Treasury, which oversees the economic life of the nation and is involved in how the country participates in the global economy. It also oversees coin minting, printing of paper currency, and the IRS.

Third, the Department of Defense has the job of protecting our nation and its interests. This is our nation’s largest employer, with about 1.4 million men and women on active duty, and 650,000 civilian employees to support them.

Next, we have the Department of Justice, the head of which is the Attorney General. This department works with the FBI and enforces laws of all kinds.

Then there is the Department of the Interior, also referred to as the department of everything else by some people. This department’s responsibilities used to include a lot of agencies that became their own departments later. Now its primary responsibility is to maintain federal national parks.

The Department of Agriculture creates regulations concerning the quality of food farmers produce, inspects and grades food, supervises farm production, and guarantees that farmers get an adequate income through subsidies and price controls.

Next, the Department of Commerce encourages growth in the economy and promotes trade between American and foreign companies. This department includes the United States Patent and Trademark office, among others.

The Department of Labor‘s job is to protect the rights of American workers by enforcing laws regarding non-discrimination and safety in the workplace. This department also collects information about various aspects of worker conditions such as hourly wage and the unemployment rate.


Next is the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It was created to address the decaying state of many inner city areas and the dilapidated, crime-infested urban areas. It also enforces laws regarding discrimination and safety in apartments.

The Department of Transportation allocates federal funds to road construction and promotes safety in construction sites. It also oversees the transportation infrastructure and makes regulations regarding road safety.

The Department of Health and Human Services has a wide range of tasks from medicare and medicaid, to approving prescription drugs, to certifying the quality of foods and cosmetics sold in America, and much more. It also creates programs to help Native American tribes, the poor, and the elderly.

Next, the Department of Energy encourages energy conservation and supports research in energy technology. It tries to make energy consumption and  production safer and researches alternate renewable sources of energy.

The Department of Education has over 250 programs including training migrant workers, programs for the handicapped, and granting student loans. It also works to prohibit discrimination in schools.

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs is tasked with providing assistance to veterans, especially those with disabilities because of their service. This department provides health care to veterans and their dependents at little or no cost.

And last, but not least, we have the Department of Homeland Security, which handles national emergencies such as natural disasters. It works to prevent terrorist attacks and makes programs to keep the public educated about such attacks. (In the skit, the blue blanket was a tsunami, in case you couldn’t figure it out!)

And there you have it… the Federal Executive Departments of the U.S. Government!

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20 Responses to “What are the Federal Executive Departments?”

  1. I love the “pixie dust” you add to your homeschool with all these fun activities!

  2. Heidi says:

    This is a great break down of the departments and what they are responsible for!

  3. Melissa says:

    These are so much fun! I’m sure this information is going to stay with your children for so much longer than us who learned from reading a text book!

  4. Kristi says:

    Sadly, I did not know the hierarchy after the first 4! This curriculum sounds really good. I’m more intrigued with every post.

    • Susan says:

      I myself didn’t know a lot about each of the departments until I studied it this year with my kids. We really enjoyed this book! The author made the material understandable.

  5. Alice Mills says:

    Your sons are such good sports. My daughters and I would have had some fun with this.

  6. Kristina says:

    Love love love how interaction you make your lessons. I’m inspired by your homeschooling methods. I’m interested to know what kind of feedback you get from your kids after projects like this. Do they love it as much as it looks like they do? 🙂

    • Susan says:

      Yes, they really do. They know that regular school forces you to sit in desks and memorize lots of information to regurgitate on a test. The funny thing is that my kids have a greater grasp of these concepts than I ever did just studying it with paper and pencil.

  7. marie says:

    this is awesome! thanks for sharing your tips, tricks and how to’s. the need to homeschool is growing

    • Susan says:

      Just yesterday there was another school shooting, and it was in the building where my kids did robotics for two years. Homeschooling is becoming a more viable option, especially with the new sexual perversion taught to kids as young as Kindergarten.

  8. Maria Hass says:

    I think I’m using Notgrass for Government and Civics when my kids get to this. Because this is brilliant! And I’m sure after the memory of this experience, it won’t be quickly forgotten!

  9. Amy says:

    Love the bare feet in the videos. I love that you are doing these skits with your kids. It will help them to remember all these vital things. – Amy

  10. Jackie says:

    Really love how you explain everything

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