What is Government Made Of?

Susan Bock

What are the functions of the different branches of government?
What symbols do we use to represent our government?
Who are the people who run our local government? What are their responsibilities?


What are Presidents Made of? By Hanoch Piven
Google Classroom materials (collaborative slide show)
BrainPopJr and PebbleGo for research about branches of government, citizenship, and symbols
Wake County and Town of Cary government websites


Day 1: (in collaboration with the social studies teacher)
1. The librarian will model researching branches of the government with the class as a whole by viewing a BrainPopJr video and PebbleGo articles about branches of government and symbols of government. As a class, we’ll complete charts that compare the responsibilities and symbols of the 3 branches of government at the federal and state levels. (Slides 2 & 3)
2. Students will join a Google Classroom for this project that will allow them to access and edit a class Google Slideshow.
3. Students will work in groups to record the responsibilities of each branch of government at either the county or town level. They will also identify and match symbols for each of those branches. (Slides 4 & 5)

Day 2
1. The librarian will read aloud selected pages of Hanoch Piven’s picture book What are Presidents Made of? As a class, students will analyze the symbols found in the illustrations.
2. As a class, the librarian will model using websites to research government officials. The class will read about a state representative, take notes about the person, and brainstorm possible symbols that could represent each of the facts we find. (Slide 7)
3. In small groups, students will research a different government offical at the local level, take notes, and brainstorm symbols that could represent each of the facts they find. (Slides 8-12).

Day 3
1. The librarian will review What are Presidents Made Of? as well as the notes the class took in groups during the previous class.
2. Using the class notes we brainstormed about the state representative, the librarian will model how to create a Piven-inspired portrait of that government official. (Slide 13).
3. Students will go back to their groups to create their own Piven portrait. They will work collaboratively to add a slide to the presentation, create their image, and then write an explanation of it.
4. At the end of class, the groups will give a brief presentation of their images.

Differentiation Approaches

1. Flexible grouping for students who need support.
2. Assign/have students choose jobs in groups (researcher, artist, recorder, symbologist, writer).


The librarian will share the final products with the classroom teacher who can assess students’ understanding of the social studies curricular objectives. The librarian will assess students’ ability to use technology and find relevant information in text through observation while students work.

Follow Up and Extension Ideas

1. The slides can be assembled as an ebook to share on the media center’s website.
2. In addition, students could use their digital art as a draft and create a physical art piece with found objects. They could photograph them and we could assemble them into a book or ebook. We could share students’ creations with local government officials.

Additional Details

‹ Back to Search Results