Grade 3

The Three Branches of Government

Knowledge Constructor and Empowered Learner


The United States Government is divided into three parts, or branches: the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch. Each branch has a different duty, but all three branches must work together. Students learn about the Three Branches of Government and the jobs that they have. 

Students will:

  • Understand the three Branches of Government.

Vocabulary Words:

  • Government: The government is the system by which a nation, state, or community is governed.
  • Executive Branch: The Executive Branch sees that laws are carried out.
  • Judicial Branch: The Judicial Branch makes sure that the laws and actions of the other branches agree with the United States Constitution.
  • Legislative Branch: The Legislative Branch makes the laws.
  • Senate: The Senate is the smaller upper assembly in the US Congress, 100 senators.
  • House of Representatives: The House of Representatives is the larger portion of the Legislative branch, 435 Representatives.
  • Bill: A bill is a draft of a proposed law
  • Law: A law is a rule of a particular country.

To prepare for this lesson:

  • The teacher should preview the website Ben's Guide to the Government
  • Teach or review the following with the students:
    • The government of the United States is composed of three branches - the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch.

      • The executive branch sees that laws are carried out.

      • The legislative branch makes new laws.

      • The judicial branch makes sure that the laws and actions of the other branches agree with the Constitution of the United States of America.

  • Go to the Game section of the website and scroll down until you see Branch Mania. Learn how to play the game and decide if you want the students to play the game. The game could be a formative assessment for the students. 
  • Watch the following videos and determine which ones you might want to use with your students:
  • For additional activities, ReadWorks which is free for teachers has a lesson on the three branches of government. Sign in to see the entire lesson

See Accommodations Page and Charts on the 21things4students website in the Teacher Resources. 

Directions for this activity

Here is an example the teacher may want to follow with students:

1. Explain the three branches of government. 

2. Show the video Three Branches of Government

3. Take the students to Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government

4. Take them through the Infographic which explains the three branches of government. 

5. Have the students test their knowledge by playing the game Branch Mania

6. On another day, the teacher could take the students through the ReadWorks lesson on the Three Branches of Government. 

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • Create a printed assessment
  • Discussion
  • Create or locate a Kahoot on The Three Branches of Government
  • Create exit Tickets

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Empowered Learner 
1a. Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.
1b. Students build networks and customize their learning environments in ways that support the learning process.
1c. Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
1d. Students understand the fundamental concepts of technology operations, demonstrate the ability to choose, use and troubleshoot current technologies and are able to transfer their knowledge to explore emerging technologies.

Knowledge Constructor
3a. Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.
3b. Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.
3c. Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.
3d. Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.


Write a research report on The Three Branches of Government.

  • Create a presentation on the Three Branches of Government.
  • Have students make bottle characters of the Framers of the Constitution.

  • Create a class constitution.
  • Have a mock trial.

This task card was created by Julie Hoehing, Lake Shore Public Schools, February 2020. Updated March 2023.