We are in the thick of our government unit and delving into the ways the government in the US is organized. We practiced our research skills by figuring out what we want to know about the branches of government. Using our questions as guidance, we practiced reading non-fiction information to gather answers. Using the information we gathered, we took notes about the branches of government.
After discussing our branches of government at the federal level, we explored how these systems work at the State and local levels and put some names and faces to the branches and positions.
To help us explore our government at the local level, we had a series of speakers this week. On Tuesday, Semra Riddle, who is a councilperson for the town of Lake Forest Park, came and talked to us about city governments. She discussed some of the things city councils make decisions about, ways that both adults and children can get involved in their local government, and answered a wide variety of questions.
Wednesday, we had two police officers come and talk to us about some aspects of their jobs, and how their jobs connect to the constitution and bill of rights.
Thursday culminated in our trip to the Mayor’s office. Students got a chance to meet the mayor and learn about the different departments in the Lynnwood government. In addition, they got to ask more questions of the local police department. To top off the trip, we got to spend some time with a traffic engineer. He explained some of the varied ways ways that the cameras help them manage traffic at lights.
Throughout the unit, students have had a variety of questions about taxes. We did some basic tax explorations in math, mostly focused on sales tax. We looked at state tax rates and how they changed when you add local taxes. We also compared tax rates between states. Then we used calculators to help us calculate tax on different items.