Posts Tagged ‘hands-on learning’

The Bill of Rights

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

bill-of-rights

Today we will be dramatizing the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution. These are our cherished freedoms as human beings, so they are quite important. The Notgrass Company has sponsored the furtherance of these fun and exciting blog posts, since we are basing our study completely on their Exploring Government book, which has made our learning of high school government a pleasure!

Without further ado, we present to you our next installment in our government series, to familiarize you with the Bill of Rights. Feel free to perform these skits in your own homeschool co-ops and/or schools.

The Bill of Rights Dramatized

Amendment I:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

(One person is praying, one is speaking, and one is reading comics. After a bit, they gather together.)

Amendment II:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

(One person bares his arm literally; another is holding a gun.)

Amendment III:

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

(A soldier walks into a woman’s house. She points at him to get out, and he leaves.)

Amendment IV:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

(One person holds lots of stuff. A police officer tries to take her stuff; another officer pulls him away and reprimands him.)

trial-by-jury

Amendment V:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

(A trial scene where the jury gives an “indictment” to the judge. Defendant puts on a military hat and jury takes “indictment” away. One person sits in a chair across from a judge. Judge convicts the person, then someone else holds up “x2” crossed out.)

Amendment VI:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

(A trial scene rushes together quickly: the prosecution brings out witnesses, then the defense also brings out witnesses.)

Amendment VII:

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.

(A trial scene with the jury bouncing around to draw attention to the fact that it’s there.)

twenty-dollars

Amendment VIII:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

(Lots of money is shown, then a “cruel and unusual punishment” is inflicted in the form of tickling someone with a feather.)

Amendment IX:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

(One person acts really important; another person is drooping because he doesn’t feel important. Someone reprimands the important person for looking down on other people.)

Amendment X:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

(Three people wear labels “Government,” State,” and “People.” One person gives “Rights” to the Government, then stops and gives it to “People.”)

I hope you enjoyed our re-enactment of the Bill of Rights. Stay tuned for the next episode: Make Your Own State Tourism Brochures

The links in this series of blog posts are not affiliate links. Please buy the book from their website to bless their family the most!

What are the Federal Executive Departments?

Monday, April 24th, 2017

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.

department-of-defense

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!

The links in this series of blog posts are not affiliate links. Please buy the book from their website to bless their family the most!

Preamble to the Constitution

Monday, April 10th, 2017

preamble-to-the-constitution

The Preamble to the Constitution is iconic in the establishment of the United States of America because it is the first paragraph of our founding document. Why are the people of the United States establishing this Constitution? For five reasons that are enumerated: for justice, tranquility, defense, the general good, and liberty.

These phrases are described in greater detail in Exploring Government by Ray Notgrass. We find out how the general good was taken out of context in later years to fund programs that the founding fathers would have never agreed to. The whole purpose of the government was to preserve basic rights and freedoms, not to tax the people into oblivion by supporting an enormous bureaucracy.

The Preamble to the Constitution (Dramatized!)

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

How we dramatized the Preamble to the Constitution:

“We the people of the United States, –Everyone stands around wearing sunglasses and pointing at themselves.

in order to form a more perfect union, –Everyone holds a paper that says “Union,” and they begin scrubbing it to make it better.

establish justice, –A person holds a gavel.

insure domestic tranquility, –Everyone sleeps peacefully.

provide for the common defense, –People hold swords and shields.

promote the general welfare, –Someone holds up a sign with “Safety” on it, with people holding toy cars (representing national freeways and safety of vehicles) and pills (regulating the safety of pharmaceutical drugs).

and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, –A parent passes a paper with “Liberty” on it to her daughter.

do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” –Everyone scribbles on a huge scroll with “Constitution” written on it.

preamble-of-the-constitution

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: the Preamble to the Constitution, dramatized to enable you to remember this first paragraph of the founding document of our great nation.

Next up in the high school government series: Presidential Line of Succession!

The links in this series of blog posts are not affiliate links. Please buy the book from their website to bless their family the most!

Huge List of Hands-on Activities for High School

Monday, March 6th, 2017

hands-on-activities-for-high-school

It’s harder to find hands-on activities for high school than for elementary, but just because you are homeschooling teens doesn’t mean that your day has to be boring and tedious. Everyone learns better by doing–this is true for practical skills like driving and cooking, but also for academic knowledge like science and history. Take a look at our enormous list of fun hands-on activities for high school!

Hands-on High School Science Activities

hands-on-high-school-science

High school sciences naturally lend themselves to hands-on activities because of the lab work required. But as you can see in the following list, you can also have fun with food, field trips, LEGOs, and even comedy to bring your science to life!

Biology

Chemistry

Human Anatomy

Hands-on High School History Activities

hands-on-high-school-history

Each of these activities are applicable to high school ancient history, even though we did many of them before the kids were teens. You would just expect more detail on each of the projects, and maybe a demonstration of the projects in front of a group of peers studying the same time period:

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Greece

Ancient Rome

Middle Ages & Renaissance

Civil War

Modern History

Hands-on High School Geography Activities

hands-on-high-school-geography

Hands-on High School Math Activities

Hands-on Activities for High School Art

hands-on-high-school-art

My high school students did a wonderful job with each of these famous artists, to learn their basic techniques and enjoy the works of the great artists:

I hope you enjoyed this huge list of hands-on activities for high school! Come back to this page often, as I will be adding more posts, including some new high school government posts with video demonstrations!

 hands-on-homeschool-ideas