How Do We Solve Our Problems? (¿Cómo resolvemos nuestros problemas?): The Three Branches

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Lesson At A Glance

This lesson follows a lesson introducing the 3 branches of government.  Students already have an understanding of how laws are made and applied.  Also, students have an understanding of the purpose of a system of government.  A lesson connecting problem resolution to treaties and our government will follow this lesson.


• Students will understand how countries, like people, experience conflicts/problems.

• Students will understand how countries, like people, work together to resolve their problems.


Standards Addressed:

H.S 3.2.1 Explain how the United States and other countries make laws, carry out laws, determine whether laws have been violated, and punish wrongdoers.

H.S. 3.2.2 Describe the ways in which groups and nations interact with one another to try to resolve problems in such areas as trade, cultural contacts, treaties, diplomacy, and military force.

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects Grade 2nd Students

Big Ideas:   

  • The strength of a democracy is equal to the strength of its citizens
  • E Pluribus Unum: Out of many, one   

Essential Questions/Issues: 

  • Is Citizenship a right or a responsibility?  

Higher Order Thinking Questions:

1. Why is it important to “work together” and resolve conflicts?

    ¿Por qué es importante que trabajemos juntos?      

2. What could happen if an understanding/resolution is not reached

    ¿Qué pudiera pasar si no pueden llegar a un acuerdo?

Assessment:    Students will be evaluated through informal checks for understanding, teacher observation and performing an authentic task evaluation by the rubric provided.

Click here to download the assessment tools

Activity Steps:

Click here to download activity steps

 Purpose   Teacher   Students


Engage Students

10 minutes

Read “Make Someone Smile.”
Connect to “The Great Chicken War” pointing out the idea that sometimes people can be too silly (“chicken in the book) to talk out their problems and fight instead,
Segue into …conflicts that they have experienced.
Listen, observe, ask questions.


20 minutes

Chart out problems that they have noticed within the classroom (no names) in one column.

Chart Column 2: How do they affect you?  How do you feel?

Model using teacher observation and draw up an example treaty between teacher/class. (ex. too much noise).  Present possible sentence frames that can be used in writing up a treaty. (see Special Needs)

Partner selection

Add to discussion.

Turn and talk.  Add ideas to discussion.

Add to discussion.

Students choose a partner randomly from name jar.

Draw up treaty in pairs

25 minutes

Review “planning” steps (rough draft to be done in partners):
Problem, solution, agreement.
Review rubric

Pass out large paper (17x11in), rulers and other art supplies at table groups. 

Discuss conflict with partner and draw up a treaty.

Individually, each student designs and creates a copy of the Treaty (contract).


10 minutes
Broaden/Connect to current events: What are some problems within our community?  Problems that countries may have?

Discuss as a whole group.  Bring in clippings from newspapers or Student current even magazines.

Next Lesson   Presentation and signing of contracts  Students present their contracts and sign.

Special Needs of students are considered in this lesson: 

Students can be put into flexible grouping scenarios that will benefit learning for all types of learners and special needs.  Plenty of visuals, opportunities for verbal, written and nonverbal expression, and multiple learning modalities are available within the context of this lesson.  The opportunity for student choice also gives students ownership of learning.

Extension Ideas:

Students can find current local articles that discuss problems within the community/nation and discuss solutions.


Materials and Resources Needed:

  • Book: “ The Great, Great, Great Chicken War” by David De La Garza (to be read beforehand and reviewed)
  • Book “Make Someone Smile: And 40 More Ways to Be a Peaceful Person” by Judy Lalli
  • construction paper, colored pencils, rulers, craft/scrapbooking  scissors
  • examples of treaties (pictures, Book: “America’s Presidents”)


  • Make Someone Smile: And 40 More Ways to Be a Peaceful Person, Judy Alli, Picture book teamed with black-and-white photos to demonstrate the benefits of negotiating and cooperating, rather than fighting.
  • The Great, Great, Great Chicken War, David De La Garza, Picture book that presents a child's interpretation of how silly people can be when they fight.