Posts Tagged ‘hands-on learning’

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!

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!

Government Activity Books for High School

Monday, May 8th, 2017

government-activity-books-for-high-school

I received these Government activity books from Dover Publications for free and was compansated for an honest review.

Since we have been studying Government in our homeschool this semester, I was overjoyed to find these Government activity books for high school! These hands-on activity books are perfect for all ages, but especially for high school students who are studying Government.

You all know how I love hands-on learning. Well, these Dover Publications books include pop-up Presidents, a 3-D White House model, and activity books that include other hands-on craft ideas. There are coloring pages that can be used for notebooking, along with word searches, crossword puzzles, and code breakers.

Government Activity Books for High School (video)

In this demonstration video, you will see many fun activities you can add to your study of Government:

Presidents Paper Models

These eight paper models of famous United States Presidents include George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and Barack Obama. The models are easy to punch out, since they are perforated. You can glue them together, and they look like a group of presidential penguins!

pop-up-presidents

Writing assignments can include skits between two of the Presidents. The skit can be acted out with two students in front of an audience. You can pair up Presidents who might have had opposite views on different issues to make your dialogues more interesting. Since George Washington owned slaves, for example, he could talk to Abraham Lincoln about the Emancipation Proclamation.

Barack Obama could re-define the Constitution and say it is a living document, and see if George Washington rolls over in his grave. Yes, you could make a pop-up gravestone to go along with this particular skit to promote interest from other teens who are taking Government class.

You could even have a time warp cocktail party where all these Presidents are milling around with a glass of punch in their hands, trying to make small talk with each other. Ah, yes. This is what comedy shows are made of!

presidents-paper-models

White House Paper Model

We also put together a 3-D White House model. This is good for high school students, since the cutting and pasting is too complicated for small children. If you set aside several nights to put together the model, you will enjoy the process more. Hold the pieces that you are gluing together for at least 60 seconds before releasing. Two minutes is even better. If you are chatting with friends or listening to music, putting this model together is even more enjoyable. I think it is totally worth it to have a 3-D model of the White House for kids to look at.

white-house-model

High school teens can do further study with library books and present a report about the White House in front of a co-op or classroom. Younger kids can do a White House LEGO model like the simplified one we did several years ago. We learned about what each of the rooms of the White House contained. Some day I would love to take my kids to a tour of the actual White House!

white-house-paper-model

Government Coloring Books for Notebooking

You can use these Government coloring books for notebooking. Simply color the pictures with colored pencils, and then cut and glue the pictures and information on black card stock paper. I always prefer black paper because it causes the kids’ work to pop. It really does showcase the artwork.

government-coloring-books-for-notebooking

You can also have the student write a report on a President and include the report in the Government notebook. Or include coloring pages from the Alexander Hamilton Coloring Book, and describe the situation depicted in the drawing. You can assign it from a first person point of view to make the teen feel like he or she is standing in that time period and experiencing the event themselves.

Dover Publications Giveaway & Discount Code

government-activity-books

Wouldn’t you be excited to win a copy of these fun Government activity books? Ten winners will receive this entire 8-book set (shipped to USA/Canada only)! Why not enter the drawing below:

Dover Publications American History Books

If you do not win this giveaway, you can still purchase these fun materials from Dover Publications at a 25% discount with the code WHBO. Discount expires on June 30, 2017.

The Bill of Rights

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

bill-of-rights

Today we will be dramatizing the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution. These are our cherished freedoms as human beings, so they are quite important. The Notgrass Company has sponsored the furtherance of these fun and exciting blog posts, since we are basing our study completely on their Exploring Government book, which has made our learning of high school government a pleasure!

Without further ado, we present to you our next installment in our government series, to familiarize you with the Bill of Rights. Feel free to perform these skits in your own homeschool co-ops and/or schools.

The Bill of Rights Dramatized

Amendment I:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

(One person is praying, one is speaking, and one is reading comics. After a bit, they gather together.)

Amendment II:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

(One person bares his arm literally; another is holding a gun.)

Amendment III:

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

(A soldier walks into a woman’s house. She points at him to get out, and he leaves.)

Amendment IV:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

(One person holds lots of stuff. A police officer tries to take her stuff; another officer pulls him away and reprimands him.)

trial-by-jury

Amendment V:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

(A trial scene where the jury gives an “indictment” to the judge. Defendant puts on a military hat and jury takes “indictment” away. One person sits in a chair across from a judge. Judge convicts the person, then someone else holds up “x2” crossed out.)

Amendment VI:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

(A trial scene rushes together quickly: the prosecution brings out witnesses, then the defense also brings out witnesses.)

Amendment VII:

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.

(A trial scene with the jury bouncing around to draw attention to the fact that it’s there.)

twenty-dollars

Amendment VIII:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

(Lots of money is shown, then a “cruel and unusual punishment” is inflicted in the form of tickling someone with a feather.)

Amendment IX:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

(One person acts really important; another person is drooping because he doesn’t feel important. Someone reprimands the important person for looking down on other people.)

Amendment X:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

(Three people wear labels “Government,” State,” and “People.” One person gives “Rights” to the Government, then stops and gives it to “People.”)

I hope you enjoyed our re-enactment of the Bill of Rights. Stay tuned for the next episode: Make Your Own State Tourism Brochures

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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