Posts Tagged ‘government’

How Government Gets Its Money

Monday, May 29th, 2017

how-government-gets-its-money

The U.S. government at the federal, state, and local levels has to get its money from somewhere. So it taxes individuals, businesses, and corporations to get the money it wants for its countless programs. Today we will show you through a series of skits how this is done.

The Notgrass Company has sponsored these fun blog posts because we are basing this series on their Exploring Government book. One of the chapters requires students to understand the ways that citizens are taxed. We continue our series of high school government with another set of skits for your enjoyment.

How the Government Gets Its Money

Federal Taxes:

The income tax is the main source of federal revenue, providing over half of federal money. This is a progressive tax, which means higher incomes are taxed more.

The next biggest source of revenue for the federal government is the payroll tax, which provides about one-third of federal money. This tax helps pay for Social Security and Medicare.

Other taxes include an excise tax of things like tobacco, alcohol, jewelry, and guns, customs of tariff duties on some imported goods, estate taxes when an heir’s inheritance exceeds $2 million, and much more.

learn-about-taxes

State Taxes:

States also have an income tax. Some states don’t tax personal income, and so have to rely more on other taxes. Usually, income tax rates are form 2 to 6 percent.

Another major state tax is the sales tax. Most states impose a flat statewide rate and let counties and cities add an additional tax on sales within their borders.

States also get a lot of revenue from automobile-related taxes. In about half of the states, there is an Ad valorem (to the value) tax for registering a vehicle. There are also taxes of alcohol, tobacco, utilities, theme parks, and hotels/motels.

taxing-cars

Local Taxes:

Cities and counties impose property tax on the assessed value of the real property in them. Homeowners and business owners both pay property tax. There is also a business tax, which is a small percentage of the total sales a business has in a year. Counties also charge for a business license.

I hope you enjoyed our re-enactment of “How Government Gets Its Money.” We made quite a few props for these skits, and we had a blast behind the scenes!

We truly enjoyed producing this series of high school government posts, breaking down concepts from the Exploring Government book, and making them come to life! If you would like to buy the book, get it from the Notgrass website to bless their family the most!

Typical Campaign Promises

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

typical-campaign-promises

This time my kids did a video called “Typical Campaign Promises.” They noticed on the news during a presidential election that presidents typically will promise lots of changes that don’t end up happening when they actually get into office. My 16-year-old son wrote the script for this funny video, another son directed and filmed the video, and my third son edited the video!

The Notgrass Company has sponsored our series of government blog posts because we are using Exploring Government for our study of high school government.This is the ninth post in this series. We are very much enjoying dramatizing these concepts to help bring them to life for high school students worldwide!

Typical Campaign Promises

My kids drew a set of posters to illustrate the points that the presidential candidate was trying to make.

This is what our presidential candidate says: “Let’s face it, we don’t have very good options for this election. I was listening to all the candidates and I thought, ‘I could do better than that!’

“So vote for me, and I’ll raise government spending, looking for aliens and building pretty buildings, and I’ll lower taxes… by generating money out of nowhere! Because I’m secretly… Santa Claus! And Superman! So remember, America, vote for me, and you’ll never have any problems again!”

presidential-campaign-poster

Running for Public Office (the real facts)

According to the Exploring Government book, the best way to run for public office is to start small by running for a seat in the city council or county commission. You need to get to know as many people as possible, especially people already in local government who could endorse you. You fill out the proper paperwork with the local election commission. Then you have to get the signatures of a small number of voters on a petition and pay a fee to have your name on the ballot. Ah, yes. Begin small and work your way up to the presidency by being a person of integrity and actually fulfilling your word.

vote-for-santa-man

Stay tuned for the final installment in our high school government series: How Government Gets Its Money!

The links in this series of blog posts are not affiliate links. Please buy the book from their website to bless their family the most!

Civitas Government Game

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

civitas-government-game

This post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

While studying high school government, my family won a copy of the Civitas government game by Bright Ideas Press. It was so much fun to play that we decided to write about our epic adventure with this game!

Civitas is a government card game (Ages 10+), and it is especially good for high school students studying government. The players become familiar with many different types of government. We decided to add hats to our game; we used a dictator hat, a crown, a pope hat, a military hat, and a top hat. You do not need the hats to enjoy the game.

Civitas is a game about ruling all the players at the table with many forms of government. The goal is to have the fewest points at the end, and points are gotten by how many cards are in your hand and what type they are. The game ends when one player loses all of his/her cards.

civitas-game-review

There are 8 decks for you to choose from, excluding the gray deck. Select whichever decks you want to play with (the game gets more challenging with 7 or more) and shuffle them together into one huge deck. You have to include the gray deck.

Then 1 player (the dealer) deals 7 cards to each player, sets the huge deck in the middle, and flips the top card over onto a new pile (discard pile). This card determines the first form of government. The dealer gets the corresponding leadership card (one of the oversized cards that corresponds to the color of the face-up card) and places it beside them.

playing-civitas

The player to the left of the dealer goes first. They can do one of 3 things: play any card of the same government type (color) as the face-up card, play a number card that is the same number or color as the one in play, or play a wild or law card (anarchy cards count as wild). A player can choose to not play any card if they don’t want to, but they have to draw a card if they don’t play anything.

When the government type changes, whether by a wild government change card, normal government change card, or number card, the leader of the existing government type has to flip their leadership card face down and the government type is changed according to the new government’s leadership card.

Civitas Government Game (video demonstration)

Take a look at a game we played, and how we re-enacted the takeovers in the backyard:

The game started with Bryan (the dealer) getting communism, and ruling with an iron fist by changing the order of play, forcing everyone to draw cards, and other such nefarious actions. Then Stephen decided to make it interesting by playing Wealth Redistribution, which makes the player with the most cards have to give one card to the player with the least cards. It so happened that Nathaniel had the most cards and Bryan had the least cards, so Nathaniel was forced to give Bryan one card.

Bryan stayed in power while changing the government type from communism to military (in order to exert more power over the people, no doubt). Soon afterwards Nathaniel rallied the people behind him and changed the government type to democracy, taking Bryan out of power. Bryan was not through, though, and brought the corruption even to democracy by playing Gerrymandering, and switching a full hand of cards with Rachel.

high-school-government-game

The democracy could not stand under corruption, and it fell apart and gave way to Bryan taking power again, this time in the form of a monarchy. Bryan got his revenge on the usurper, forcing Nathaniel to draw two cards and exchange one card with Stephen. He even got sneaky and caused the order of play to be reversed so that he could skip Nathaniel’s turn with a coincidental Red Tape law played by Stephen.

But Nathaniel would not take all this lying down, and forced Bryan to abdicate to change the government type to democracy again. Not much happened before Stephen, tired with the seat of power dancing between Bryan and Nathaniel, started a civil war and took control of a military government. However, forcing Rachel to draw two cards was his mistake, as she took over the reins of government with a democracy of her own later on.

Bryan, not one for sitting idly by, decided to ally himself with his old adversary and crown Nathaniel king of a new monarchy. Stephen, wanting another taste of power, almost immediately started a revolution, changing the government type to military again. All was quiet for many years until Nathaniel, who ever since the revolution had been planning a revolution of his own, put his plan into action. It worked flawlessly, planting him as the leader of a democracy once again.

After a lawsuit or two, Bryan, unimpressed with Nathaniel’s governing job, crowned Stephen king of a monarchy. But Stephen didn’t impress Bryan with his leadership skills either, so Bryan decided to revisit the start and make Rachel the leader of a new communism. But the move was too late, as Nathaniel won the game with a well placed change to democracy.

If this Civitas government game sounds intriguing to you, go buy it from Bright Ideas Press!

Make Your Own State Tourism Brochures

Monday, May 15th, 2017

make-your-own-tourism-brochures

Today I will show you how to make your own state tourism brochures to help your kids understand your state better! We happen to live in the state of Washington, so we looked up what some of the famous sights of Washington are. My kids now understand the state of Washington way better than they did before completing the project!

The Notgrass Company decided to sponsor these fun blog posts because we are basing this series on their Exploring Government book. This idea to “Make Your Own State Tourism Brochures” was one of the hands-on assignments in the book. I want to show you what my kids came up with:

As you can see, we printed off maps and pictures, and we arranged them on a tri-fold piece of paper. The kids labeled and described different sights of Washington to cause tourists to want to come to our state. One of my sons had a humorous way of describing each sight.

tourism-brochures

Hands-on Learning for High School Government

One of the things I love most about this Exploring Government book is the hands-on assignments. At the beginning of each week, hands-on assignments like the following are listed:

  • Create a bust sculpture of one of the Founding Fathers out of clay.
  • Make a 3-D model of a real national feature or scene in one of America’s national parks.
  • Create a slide show creatively illustrating the 10 Commandments.
  • Write and illustrate a book for children of at least 20 pages explaining taxes and what government does with the money on a local, state, and federal level.
  • Go on a field trip to your county courthouse.

notgrass-government-book

When teens have a creative outlet like skits or other hands-on projects, they have to think through the topic to a much greater degree than if they just took a test on the information. My kids wrote all the scripts for this entire high school government series, and they are learning so much!

I hope you enjoyed our state tourism brochures. Stay tuned for the next episode: Typical Campaign Promises!

The links in this series of blog posts are not affiliate links. Please buy the book from their website to bless their family the most!

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