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1. What is the judicial branch of government?
2. Why was the judicial branch created?
3. What is the function of the judicial branch?
4. How does the judicial branch operate within the system of checks and balances.
Main Curriculum Tie:
Utah's Judical Branch
Subjects: Utah Studies, Government
Overview of Lesson Plan: In this lesson, students investigate how the judicial branch of Utah's government:
Suggested Time Allowance: 1 hour
Resources / Materials:
Background: In order to best understand the reasons for and outcomes of the historical development of Utah's judicial branch, students should have a basic understanding of the three branches of American government, the system of checks and balances, and the judicial system before working with this lesson plan to assure their complete comprehension of its concepts. Several online encyclopedias have good, easy-to-understand information; try Encarta Online (http://encarta.msn.com/EncartaHome.asp) or Britannica (http://www.britannica.com), and search for "Judicial Branch", "Justice System," or "Supreme Court."
Activities / Procedures:
2. Divide students into three groups. Explain that each group will be assigned to one of the three branches of Utah's state government (legislative, executive, and judicial). Students should use all available classroom resources to research the following questions as they relate to their branches point-of-view:
-What are the main roles and functions of the judical branch in Utah's government as a whole?
After groups complete their research, "jigsaw" students so that they form groups of three, each group having one member representing each branch of government. Each member of the group should present his or her assigned branch of government to the other students in the group, focusing on the questions answered through the larger group research.
4. WRAP-UP/HOMEWORK: Each small group creates an illustrated poster showing how the legislative and executive branches of Utah's state government is affected by the decisions of the judicial branch. Each group should also identify characteristics that they feel an ideal judge should possess, based on the research gathered during class. In a future class, each group will present their poster and qualities of a judge to the class. As a follow- up after all the groups have presented, each student should prepare a detailed explanation in response to the following question: "Which type of judge would you nominate to sit on a court? Why would this candidate's qualities best serve Utah's democratic process?" Students should present their opinions, and the class should vote to appoint their ideal judge. Results may be posted for each class.
Further Questions for Discussion:
Evaluation / Assessment:
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