State and Local Governments
Students will explore the concept of federalism, from the powers held by the federal government to the powers reserved for the states. They will also learn about state government structures and functions, the state-level lawmaking process, and discover county, municipal, and tribal governments.
State government resources were created with support from the State Government Affairs Council. Local government resources were created with support from the National Association of Counties.
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.
What do state governments do? In this overview lesson, students learn about state government structure, functions, lawmaking, and relationship with local government.
Updated 11/19/14. If you used this lesson before that date, please take a look at the new version.
In this lesson, students discover the roles and responsibilities of a governor. Through a reading and board game, the class will identify the source of a governor's power, as well as how that power is best used in a variety of situations.
If you’ve seen one constitution, have you seen them all? Compare and contrast the provisions of the U.S. Constitution alongside the state constitutions of Florida and Virginia. Find common ways in which state constitutions differ from (and are similar to) the U.S. Constitution, and take a closer look at your own state constitution.
Students explore the many roles filled by their county government and the role of county governments in a federalist system. After a close examination of the county, students create their own fictional county! Students are familiarized with fun facts about county government and analyze the transition of county development through the lense of westward expansion.
This resource was created with support from the National Association of Counties.
You probably know you live in a county (or the equivalent of a county), but do you know what county governments do? Find in this webquest!
What's the closest form of government to the American people? Why municipal government, of course! In this lesson, students will explore the varied functions and structures of local government as well as explore the services provided in their own municipality and beyond.
As sovereign nations, American Indian and Alaska Native tribes develop and manage their own governments. This lesson examines the varied structures and functions of tribal government as well as the relationship these nations have with the United States.
How does Washington’s state constitution compare and contrast with the U.S. Constitution? Look no further for the answer! Guide your class through some basic similarities and differences as well as side-by-side text analysis with this lesson’s integrated reading/activity format.
Local government has lots of layers, and Washington's is no different. In this lesson, students learn the structure and function of local government in Washington and how they can “harness the power” of local government to address issues of concern.
Washington’s initiative and referendum powers let regular people participate directly in lawmaking! This lesson presents the initiative and referendum powers as tools and shows students how to use them.
Water rights are a big deal for many reasons. In this lesson, students learn where water comes from, what water rights are, and how a variety of competing interests factor into managing water resources in Washington State.
View excerpts from Ohio's original 1802 state constitution and the major changes made in the 1851 version as students learn about the history of Ohio's constitution in this unique before and after lesson.
Compare and contrast the U.S. and Ohio constitutions in this hands-on lesson using excerpts from both documents. Dig into how they structure the government, address individual rights, outline the amendment process and more.