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  Workshop 3: Public Policy & the Federal Budget  
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Workshop 3

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Lesson Plan: Teaching the Lesson: Scheduling and Adaptations

Scheduling and Adaptations

Leslie Martin suggests that teachers assign students to read the relevant chapter in their textbooks at least two days before the start of this lesson and to spend some time determining what the students actually know about the budget process. Although she was able to complete the lesson over a three-day period, in retrospect, Leslie Martin felt that she had not given students enough time in the small groups to create their budgets and prepare their presentations, particularly in light of the busy lives that the students have outside of school, which affects how much time they have to do homework. The vocabulary discussion could have taken 20 minutes and the discussion of President Bush’s 2001 budget--which she had meant to spend 10 minutes on--could have gone 25 minutes. Leslie Martin concluded that she could have spent two weeks on this lesson.

While this lesson would work well in a block schedule, if only one day is available, consider eliminating the zero-based budgeting exercise. Begin with the vocabulary and last year’s Federal budget and give students 30 minutes to allocate the 55 percent of the budget that is actually available for allocation. Students might then just present their numbers rather than make a speech, and discuss what they learned from working in their small groups. An alternative is to have students create a budget for homework and use class time for members of the small groups to work out their differences.

To modify this lesson for a non-honors class, consider creating a pie with a variety of wedges and ask students to assign wedge sizes to each executive agency. Then go back and show them what the actual budget pie looks like and discuss the differences. Another way to modify this lesson is to give each student an executive department or federal agency that they have to research. Or, focus on specific discretionary areas and ask, “What does this do?” Regular-track classes or younger students might also find it helpful to receive a list of Web sites and resources they should examine.

Overview, Goals, and Planning    |     Activity 1
Activity 2     |     Activity 3     |     Activity 4     |     Activity 5     |     Activity 6     |     Activity 7     |     Scheduling and Adaptations


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