Lesson: Everyday Government

Connecting Language Arts to Civics


Students will learn how the government impacts them in their daily lives.  They will begin to identify the people who work hard to make their community a strong and vibrant place to live. This lesson will also begin to identify some of the reasons that are critical for community members to vote, in order to maintain the strength of the community.


Grade Levels: 4th- 8th




Time: three class sessions (approx.)



Computers with internet access

Samantha’s Day (from Everyday Government)--class set

Everyday Government worksheet--class set

Voters Wish List worksheet

Chart paper



1.     Begin lesson by brainstorming on chart paper all of the people that help to make the school run efficiently. Make a “T chart” with the names and/or job title on one side and a simple job description on the other.


2.     Extend the thinking of these important jobs to the community.  Make another “T chart” for local government positions and agencies.  Refer back to the school chart for ideas and brainstorm further to encompass the local community.


3.     For homework, ask students to Read “Samantha’s Day” in the Everyday Government section of Kids Corner and fill out the worksheet of how they think the government helps Samantha.


4.     Direct students to explore the PBS Kids Democracy Project in the section, “How does government affect me?” (http://www.pbs.org/democracy/kids/mygovt/index.html) to research further how the government might help Samantha.  Encourage students to add to the ideas that they already came up with in the homework assignment.


5.     Once students have completed their research, have them report out their findings.  As a class, view the Everyday Government page that follows Samantha’s Day on overhead or presented in a computer lab (http://www.shapethefuture.org/kidscorner/everydaygovt2.html).  Compare the results…did you find all of the ways Government supports you?


6.     Ask students why they think it’s important to vote. Generate a list of reasons to vote on chart paper and hang the list in the classroom for future discussion and reflection. 


7.     Use the Reasons to Vote chart as the subject of a creative writing/ art project.  Direct students to take one of the ideas and formulate at least a couple of complete sentences (more can be expected of older children) that fully express the idea’s meaning (you can use the Voter’s Wish List worksheet for this part of the lesson).  Have students artistically represent these ideas on a voter’s ballot template or on a flag and proudly display them in a prominent window of the classroom, school or a local government building.



CA Language Arts Standards


Grade 4: Reading Comprehension Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. They draw upon a variety of comprehension strategies as needed (e.g., generating and responding to essential questions, making predictions, comparing information from several sources).

Grades 5-8: Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials) Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. They describe and connect the essential ideas, arguments, and perspectives of the text by using their knowledge of text structure, organization, and purpose.

Grade 4: Writing Strategies Students write clear, coherent sentences and paragraphs that develop a central idea. Their writing shows they consider the audience and purpose. Students progress through the stages of the writing process (e.g., prewriting, drafting, revising, editing successive versions).

Grades 5-8: Writing Strategies Students write clear, coherent, and focused essays. The writing exhibits the students’ awareness of the audience and purpose. Essays contain formal introductions, supporting evidence, and conclusions. Students progress through the stages of the writing process as needed.



Everyday Government

Read about Samantha’s Day and, on the following page, write down as many ways as you can find that the government helps Samantha during her day.


Samantha's Day

Samantha from San Mateo has a day much like yours. She wakes up, goes to school, participates in activities after school, and returns home to do homework before watching some television and going to bed. The government has a role in many of these everyday activities. See how many you can spot when Samantha tells you about her day.


My alarm clock is really loud and wakes me up right away when it goes off in the morning. The first thing I do is brush my teeth and then hop into the shower before I go to the kitchen for cereal. I don't pack my lunch most of the time because I get food in the cafeteria.


I grab my backpack and start walking to school about fifteen minutes before school starts. It's nice not to be too far away from school. I like most of my classes, but sometimes math can be hard for me.


After school I sometimes go to Bayside Park with my friend and her mom to play soccer or get in the pool for swimming.


When I get back home at night I do my homework in my room. I moved my desk over a little bit because the light from the streetlamp can shine in kind of funny. When I'm done with my homework, my parents let me watch T.V. for a little bit before I head back to my room to go to sleep.












Everyday Government

Write down as many ways as you can find that the government helps Samantha during her day.


Part of Samantha’s Day

(e.g.  alarm clock goes off)

How the Government helps Samantha?

(e.g.  The government makes sure that the electric company powers Samantha’s alarm clock)













































Voting Wish List!



We make wishes when we blow out our birthday candles and when we pull petals off of a flower. Now you can make another kind of wish: Why do you wish that more people would vote?



Your First Name ____________________________________


Teacher _______________________________School ____________________________


My Wish:          ___________________________________________________________