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Executive Branch

Page history last edited by Tom Armstrong 4 months, 3 weeks ago




Executive Branch




 Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution        Executive Branch



Essential Question: What makes a great president?

Essential Question:  Why is the Executive Branch a difficult and messy branch of democracy that is not easy to appreciate?

Students will be able to:
Explain the Executive Branch of the U.S. government.
Identify the roles, duties and responsibilities of the president and how executive powers work.
Analyze the roles of different agencies and departments in the Executive Branch and how they work.


Introduction and Vocabulary                              Magnet Summary

Activity 1

  • Bureaucracy        Chief Executive          administration     cabinet      foreign policy

                 treaties               Executive privilege     executive agreements           Commander in Chief.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-2orqGvoaBxVYBbywtjtNaFkdmHOQ2ZMYb_pMrDvYbg/edit?usp=sharing Google Doc of Magnet summary

executive branch Magnet summary.docx

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vnuFJSMYkY- 9:15 Crash Course Executive Branch

Add to the list of Vocabulary

Current departments


SealDepartmentFormedEmployeesAnnual budgetHead
and title
U.S. Department of State official seal.svg State July 27, 1789 69,000
13,000 Foreign Service
11,000 Civil Service
45,000 local
$90.3 billion
Mike Pompeo official photo (cropped).jpg Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State
Seal of the United States Department of the Treasury.svg Treasury September 2, 1789 86,049
$20 billion
Steven Mnuchin official photo (cropped).jpg Steven Mnuchin
Secretary of the Treasury
United States Department of Defense Seal.svg Defense September 18, 1947 2.86 million $717 billion
Mark Esper
Secretary of Defense
Seal of the United States Department of Justice.svg Justice July 1, 1870 113,543
$29.9 billion
William Barr (cropped).jpg William Barr
Attorney General
Seal of the United States Department of the Interior.svg Interior March 3, 1849 70,003
$20.7 billion
David Bernhardt official photo (cropped).jpg David Bernhardt
Secretary of the Interior
Seal of the United States Department of Agriculture.svg Agriculture May 15, 1862 105,778
(June 2007)
$155 billion
Sonny Perdue headshot.jpg Sonny Perdue
Secretary of Agriculture
Seal of the United States Department of Commerce.svg Commerce February 14, 1903 43,880
$9.67 billion
Wilbur Ross headshot.jpg Wilbur Ross
Secretary of Commerce
Seal of the United States Department of Labor.svg Labor March 4, 1913 17,450
$12.1 billion
Eugene Scalia (cropped).jpg Eugene Scalia
Secretary of Labor
Seal of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.svg Health and Human Services April 11, 1953 79,540
$1,171 billion


Alex Azar official portrait 2 (cropped).jpg Alex Azar
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Seal of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.svg Housing and Urban Development September 9, 1965 8,416
$32.6 billion
Ben Carson headshot.jpg Ben Carson
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Seal of the United States Department of Transportation.svg Transportation April 1, 1967 58,622 $72.4 billion Elaine Chao official portrait 2 (cropped).jpg Elaine Chao
Secretary of Transportation
Seal of the United States Department of Energy.svg Energy August 4, 1977 12,944
$27.9 billion
Rick Perry official portrait (cropped).jpg Rick Perry
Secretary of Energy
Seal of the United States Department of Education.svg Education October 17, 1979 3912
$68 billion
Betsy DeVos official portrait (cropped).jpg Betsy DeVos
Secretary of Education
Seal of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.svg Veterans Affairs 21 July 1930 377,805
$180 billion
Robert Wilkie official portrait (cropped).jpg Robert Wilkie
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Seal of the United States Department of Homeland Security.svg Homeland Security November 25, 2002 229,000
$47.7 billion
Kevin McAleenan official photo.jpg Kevin McAleenan
Secretary of Homeland Security




These roles are: (1) chief of state, (2) chief executive, (3) chief administrator, (4) chief diplomat, (5) commander in chief, (6) chief legislator, (7) party chief, and (8) chief citizen. Roles of the President

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1T4DDMmdbUl7eqS2H50nhIiajM6jYegqvL9Bsh9t4JDM/edit?usp=sharing  8 roles of the President.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdNYyQ4CHVQ 3:30 "My House" Song on white house  




 Activity 2   Executive branch facts                  Create a game

Essential question: What does the Executive Branch consists of.


http://www.softschools.com/facts/us_government/executive_branch_facts/2549/  Use this source for your information.

What qualities are presidential?         Presidential photo Contest

https://docs.google.com/document/d/13JRmj6U8OJnJe9sl49sCKK5vSn6WLcBMubpYe2JbDnE/edit?usp=sharing Executive Branch Trivia

-find presidential photos of presidents at their best and define what qualities they possess. Post the pictures and describe the qualities. Present them

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1YQOcfwuxh935FF_KdqrXhnyqwZEMccRS8fkg8IqX3aw/edit?usp=sharing Use this presentation to Show off your President.



Activity 3: 

1. Read the Graphic Novel - Executive Branch (Article 2) pages 53-64 on the United States Constitution.

2. Add to you "Vocabulary Chart".  Identify how each of the vocabulary words are used in the Executive Branch.

3.. Use one of the puzzle making resources to make a puzzle to share with a classmate. Make questions up using information from your Vocabulary Chart.

executive branch article_ii_reading_guide (1).docx Do the questions after reading pages 53-64


Activity 4

Go through the roles of the president as chief of party, chief executive, chief state, chief diplomat , commander in chief, chief legislator

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_Two_of_the_United_States_Constitution Wikipedia on Article II

Google doc


- play icivics executive command

https://www.icivics.org/games/executive-command Be the President for a day.



Powers and roles of Executive branch

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/seven-roles-one-president Seven Roles of the President

See where the President lives- Inside the White House  https://www.whitehouse.gov/about/inside-white-house 


Executive Branch roles w.s..docx


https://docs.google.com/forms/d/19wsBQfcUID0CFaS7eFqNC58gKO3bPBY0Zrm16tTP7Nc/edit Respond on the Form to what new facts you learned about the POTUS.


Activity 5                                               Frankenprez    

Essential question:

Is the role of President too big for one person?


What are you doing? You will build the perfect Frankenprez to handle the role of President from what you learned about what it takes to perform the duties of the office.


Building the perfect president activity: 

Use past Presidents and how they handled the role with strengths and great qualities.

Use movie characters and their best qualities that could be used to perform the role of the President.

Use cartoons and their characters and their powers

Use T.V personalities or stars and the traits that would make a good President.




Create a president with the perfect qualities for handling the duties, roles, and responsibilities of the office using the best qualities of people in the media. Very few make it through without scandal and negativity.


1. Look at the qualities a President needs to perform his, roles, duties, and powers of the president. 

2. Think about any character or personality in literature, movies, t.v, cartoons, sports, or politics that match these qualities.

3.. Use a blank sheet of paper and create a Frankenprez that will use these bits and pieces to perform the duty of the President of the U.S. and do it perfectly. 

4 Write a quick write on the bottom of the paper or back explaining Frankenprez and why they will be the perfect Chief Executive



Activity 6   Is executive power too much power over a checks and balances of Branches?

Executive Powers/Executive privilege               

 Essential question: How is the Executive Branch a difficult and messy branch of democracy that is not easy to appreciate?


Characteristics of Executive power:

     -The president has the freedom to take action to meet goals and negotiate deals.

     -It seeks a balance independently of other branches of government to act quickly.

     -Executive branch has expanded powers since George Washington.


Vocabulary to Know:   Executive power   Executive privilege    Executive agreements


Executive privilege is the constitutional principle that permits the president and high-level executive branch officers to withhold information from Congress, the courts, and ultimately the public. This presidential power is controversial because it is nowhere mentioned in the U.S. Constitution

Executive Agreements is an international agreement, usually regarding routine administrative matters not warranting a formal treaty, made by the executive branch of the US government without ratification by the Senate.

Executive Powers - Authority to enforce orders and to ensure they are carried out as intended. The Constitution explicitly assigned the president the power to sign or veto legislation, command the armed forces, ask for the written opinion of his or her Cabinet, convene or adjourn Congress, grant reprieves and pardons, and receive ambassadors.

Executive Orders- Executive orders What Trump can and cant do.pdf



http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11527747 Executive privilege, constitutional power or not? See how Richard Nixon used it 


When is power too much power?   Richard Nixon covers up break in  

Watergate was a major political scandal that occurred in the United States in the 1970s, following a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. in 1972 and President Richard Nixon's administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement. When the conspiracy was discovered and investigated by the U.S. Congress, the Nixon administration's resistance to its probes led to a constitutional crisis.[1]

The term Watergate has come to encompass an array of clandestine and often illegal activities undertaken by members of the Nixon administration. Those activities included such "dirty tricks" as bugging the offices of political opponents and people of whom Nixon or his officials were suspicious. Nixon and his close aides also ordered investigations of activist groups and political figures, using the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).



When is power too much power?   President Bush Fires Attorney Generals

On December 7, 2006, the George W. Bush administration's Department of Justice ordered the unprecedented[1] midterm dismissal of seven United States Attorneys. Congressional investigations focused on whether the Department of Justice and the White House were using the U.S. Attorney positions for political advantage. Allegations were that some of the attorneys were targeted for dismissal to impede investigations of Republican politicians or that some were targeted for their failure to initiate investigations that would damage Democratic politicians or hamper Democratic-leaning voters.[2][3] The U.S. attorneys were replaced with interim appointees, under provisions in the 2005 USA PATRIOT Act reauthorization


When is power too much power?     President Obama and selling guns to Drug Dealers

"Gunwalking", or "letting guns walk", was a tactic of the Arizona Field Office of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which ran a series of sting operations[2][3] between 2006[4] and 2011[2][5] in the Tucson and Phoenix area where the ATF "purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders and arrest them."[6] These operations were done under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner, a project intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers and gun traffickers within the United States.[7] The Jacob Chambers Case began in October 2009 and eventually became known in February 2010 as "Operation Fast and Furious" after agents discovered Chambers and the other suspects under investigation belonged to a car club.[1]


1. Intro Video executive privilege:  

 http://www.cc.com/video-clips/n8kt5l/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-executive-privilege  John Stewart on Executive privilege. 

Watch  Jon Stewart video (8:47):  Executive Privilege, Fast and Furious Incident





Activity 7:   Internet Quick Search:  Which Presidents Used or abused power?


Directions: Choose one of the presidents in an article below and how they used their executive powers. Fill out the organizer on whether you feel it is an appropriate use of those powers. 

Article 1: http://www.salon.com/2008/07/23/new_churchcomm/ Exposing_Bushs_historic_abuse_of_power.pdf Bush power abuse?

Article 2: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/01/opinion/01sun1.html?_r=0 Example of George Bush.

Article3:http://www.politico.com/blogs/thecrypt/0708/House_Democrats_bash_Bush_over_abuse_of_executive_power.html Democrats blast Bush over power abuse.

Article 4: http://reason.com/blog/2012/04/26/andrew-rosenthal-obama-is-better-than-bu Bush and Obama compared on executive power.

Article 5: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/06/20/what-is-executive-privilege/ Example of executive privilege, abuse of power or protection to officials? See how Obama used it.

Article 6: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=4137 Richard Nixon's view of Executive Power.


3. Present to class: Summarize how  executive power is used. Is it too much power?

Exit: Did Obama, Bush, or Nixon abuse executive powers? yes/no? Why?

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1oFRTrkh9jNx555QHmu6kavfPMKYPWV-4cCxjRvjs-R8/edit#slide=id.p Use the google presentation to create A SLIDE on your viewpoint of executive powers



Activity 8:   Cartoon Activity   Create a political cartoon on Executive powers


1. Pull up activities on the Executive Branch Like the organizer and vocabulary from activities.

2. Look at what goes into reading a political cartoon.  executive branch Political Cartoon Primary Source Analysis.docx

3. Develop a cartoon:  Executive Power - "When is Power too Much Power?"

4. Show whether or not you agree or disagree with the powers of the Executive Branch. Be serious or not. Leave a message so we know what your view is on Executive power!


          Sample Cartoons:





  Digital Comic Strip:  Toondoo

4. Show off what message your cartoons conveys about the Executive branch, Executive powers, Executive privilege, or Executive agreements..


Activity 9

Working Bureaucracy Scenarios

 Essential Question: Why is the Executive Branch a difficult and messy branch of democracy that is not easy to appreciate? Just how big is the Executive Branch?

Activity 1:

1. Below are five scenarios where you will come into contact with various departments or agencies of the Executive Branch or law executing branch of the U.S. government.

2. List the Departments, Agencies, Boards and Commissions you will come in contact with to get what you want.

3. Use the bureaucracy scenario link to record your findings. 

         Executive Branch Agencies and Departments                          

         Bureaucracy Scenario Flowchart

         Working Bureaucracy Scenario Question Worksheet


Scenario one: You have a baby that you want to adopt from the Ukraine. You must first help the babies Aunt and Uncle who are bringing the baby to get a work visa for a job, enroll them in a University, get them clearance to come to the country. Surf through the proper channels that you are going to have to contact to accommodate them and to adopt the baby.


 Scenario two: You're going to try to get a grant for a research study on Grizzly bears. You need to kill one, capture one, and transport one to your facility. You're going to do this all in Yellowstone National Park where hunting is not allowed of the endangered Grizzly. What channels are you going to have to go through to get your research?


 Scenario three: You're trying to start a vitamin business that uses the root of an Amazon jungle plant to help give you more energy. You must import the plant into the U.S. in order to study it so you have to go through what channels to get approval?


 Scenario four: You want to expand your families dairy farm from 100 to 5,000 cows. You're going to make it all self sustaining with alternative energies, some hazardous materials. I know that state and local laws apply but what National channels are you going to have to go through to get the permits? What dept. or agencies will you need to deal with?


 Scenario five: The Menominee Indians want to create a new casino, off reservation, at the dog racing track in Kenosha. They already have other casinos


4. Follow-up Discussion Questions 

 1. What is a bureaucracy?  Is it a necessary or an excessive part of this countries government?

  2. Discuss the five Scenarios. Some see rising to the top of the Executive Branch as the pinnacle of their career. What Dept., Agency, or commissions would you be a part 

        of in your career.

 3. In news, current events, or on twitter, what part of the executive branch is visible the most?

 4. How would you reform any part of this bureaucracy or would you change any part?

 5. Is the Executive Branch an efficient branch of using time and resources?

 6. What is your conclusion about executive powers that the Executive Branch uses to do its everyday jobs?





Final Assessment     

Creating a Facebook profile        

Directions: Create a Facebook page of an Executive Branch official. Be funny, or creative as well as factual in their job. Research the official and be as accurate as you can be about who they are and what their personal and professional profile is.

  1. All information should be replaced to reflect the duties, roles, and responsibilities of their job in the Executive branch.
  2. Conversations should be made up to reflect how they will interact with their professional responsibilities as an Executive branch official. 
  3. Find pictures of them performing their duties and identify what they are doing with statuses
  4. Create a friends list showing their relationships with who they will interact with in their roles and duties.
  5. Make up personal information to reflect their jobs in the Executive branch like books, movies, hobbies, etc. 


  Facebook Page

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oier528TrE 1:50 history of the presidents cabinet. Ben stein

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxSvi6JCCfk 5:25   Video - President's Cabinet Obama




1. Transfer some of the drama from the relationships that the Executive Branch has. Include real and fictional examples to demonstrate their bureaucracy.

2. Pick one of the Executive Branch people to profile:

Use the above chart



Rubric on Facebook Page


Not there yet

1 point



Create a Facebook page of an Executive Branch official. Be funny, or creative as well as factual in their job. Can make up personal information to reflect their job.

Requirement met

2 points 


Identify who and how they will interact with in their own branch or other branches of government. Use cartoons or pictures to reflect executive branch issues they are caught up in.

  Identify the duties, roles, and responsibilities of the Executive Branch official and why they do what they do.   
  Research as accurate as possible on the official, like who they are, what their personal profile is, issues they would be involved in.  Make up personal information to reflect their job.   







Final assessment-


You have these roles of the president and the assessment is to create a great president from the past presidents. Qualities of other presidents is going to used and create a super president. A frankenstein president but with roles, duties and talents. Make a fake magazine cover, Pick the face, use words to Define the roles, and on back cover define the qualities of why you picked them for what reason. .


Research the roles and identify which presidential features are part of the super president.


Fotojet.com for cover



Google template



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