Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.
What is federalism? How has the Supreme Court defined the balance of power under federalism? To answer these questions students watch a video segment from the PBS series The Supreme Court, discuss the founders' debate on how much power the national government should have in comparison to the states, and categorize key national and state powers.
This is the first of two lessons that comprise a unit on balancing state and federal authority. For the second lesson, see Analyzing McCulloch vs. Maryland Lesson Plan. For extension activities to use with this unit, visit the Supreme Court website.
(1) 50 minute period
1. Begin by asking students to create a three-column chart on their own paper. Project the Shared Powers Transparency. Tell students they have two to three minutes to complete the chart as they respond to the following questions:
2. Once students have had the chance to respond, take five minutes to discuss what they have brainstormed. After a class discussion, continue with the following questions:
3. Explain that the division of power between teenagers and parents is similar to the division of power between the states and the federal government. This division of government power is known as federalism.
4. Show students the definition of "federalism" on the board or overhead.
Definition: Federalism is the division of powers among the local, state, and national governments.
1. Explain the following background to students: In the early years of our country, leaders had deep disagreements about how power should be balanced between the states and the national government. Because of this, two political parties emerged -- one that favored a strong central government and one that distrusted a strong central government and felt most power should reside with the states. Before the Constitution was ratified, these groups were known as the Federalists and Anti-federalists. At the point in time shown in the video segment, the Anti-federalists had evolved into the Democratic-Republicans led by Thomas Jefferson. The Federalists were led by John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and John Marshall.
2. Remind students that John Marshall became one of the most important chief justices in the history of the Supreme Court. His views on how power should be shared or balanced between the national government and the states shaped much of his work and shaped the country.
3. Ask students to take out a pen and a blank sheet of paper. Before playing the video, show the following focus statements and ask students to focus on the following as they watch:
4. Play Marshall's View of Federalism QuickTime Video. Pause the video after the narrator says, "The Continental Army was nearly destroyed by the indifference of the states. The Continental Congress was powerless to help."
5. Ask students to share ideas about of what shaped Marshall’s views. Clarify that Marshall’s opinion was shaped by the failures evident under the Articles of Confederation. (If necessary, review the structure of government under the Articles that gave states nearly all power and the problems under that government.)
6. Start the segment again and play it through until the end.
7. After the entire segment has concluded, prompt students to write their responses to the focus questions. Then review their answers.
8. Explain that as the Constitution developed, views like Marshall's were balanced with views of scholars and politicians who believed that the federal government should be weak and that most power should reside in the states. In some ways, the Constitution became a compromise document that laid out that division of power. The way power has traditionally been divided and shared between the states and the national government has shifted over time.
1. Distribute the Federalism Classification Activity. Explain that the chart they are about to complete will give them an idea of the shared and divided powers of different levels of government.
2. Once each student has the handout, review the definition of federalism and the directions. Ask students to classify the powers as belonging to the federal government, state governments, or shared. Students may work alone or in pairs, or you may choose to do this activity as a class. Give them 10 minutes to classify the powers. Write the ending time on the board.
3. Review student answers using the Federalism Classification Answer Key provided. Encourage students to make corrections on their papers and clarify examples that were difficult for them. Explain that even though this chart provides us with general guidelines about how power is shared under federalism, there are still numerous current debates over how the power is handled.
To summarize, ask students to discuss the following: