Q16: Name the three branches or parts of the government.

A. Legislative, executive, and judicial  
B. The legislative, executive, and bureaucracy
C. The president, the bureaucracy, and the Supreme Court
D. The President, Vice President, and Speaker of the House

Q17: Who is in charge of the executive branch?

A. The Supreme Court
B. The President
C. The Senate majority leader 
D. The House majority leader 

Question Background Information


The Framers divided power among three separate branches of the federal government:

Article I assigns the legislative authority, or the ability to make federal laws, to Congress (the legislative branch). Congress is also responsible for declaring war and making the federal budget. Congress is composed of two parts, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate is also responsible for approving presidential appointments and ratifying treaties with other nations.

Article II places the President of the United States in charge of the executive branch. Among the President’s primary obligations is to take care that the laws be faithfully carried out, or executed, and to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. The president is also charged with appointing the heads of all federal agencies and judges, with the consent of the Senate.

Article III creates the judicial branch, or court system, of the federal government. Its job is to hear cases and controversies, or legal disputes. While considering these disputes, the judicial branch enforces the Constitution, reviewing laws and executive actions to ensure that these laws and executive actions are consistent with the Constitution. If they find otherwise, they will decline to apply an unconstitutional law; this process is called judicial review.

Additional Content

Offline Activity


This activity offers students the chance to learn about the three branches of the government and discover how those branches check and balance one another. Understanding how each branch functions and knowing what the responsibilities are will help students better understand how the government works and how its design helps protect the rights of the people.


Create a packet with the following handouts and provide a copy to each student:

  • The Legislative Branch 
  • The Judicial Branch 
  • The Executive Branch 
  • Optional: The Cabinet and The Executive Office of the President 
  • Gather necessary art materials for the students (e.g. poster board, colored pencils, markers, old magazines, scissors, glue, etc.) or instruct them to bring them to class.
  • A rubric is available if this is a graded activity. 
  • Print a copy of the answer key for yourself. 

Required files

The Teaching Materials for this exercise includes an answer key and rubric.

Teaching Materials.


  1. Divide the class into groups of 3-4 based on the students’ individual levels. Group A is the group that needs some extra support. Group B is the core group that has the core knowledge to complete the activity. Group C is the enrichment group that has mastered the material; Group C students are prepared to extend their knowledge. Each group should have at least one student from Group A, one from Group B, and one from Group C. 
    • If students are in pairs rather than groups, divide them based on ability as well, pairing those who need support (Group A) with those who have core knowledge and/or have mastered the material (Groups B and C). 
  2. Explain that the students will create posters based on the three branches. Each group will be assigned a specific branch. 
    • When you assign the branches to each group, make sure that you assign them evenly (e.g., if you have six groups, then assign two groups to the legislative, two groups to the executive, and two groups to the judicial). 
  3. Provide the students with the necessary handouts and materials to create the posters.
    • a. Tell the students to make sure that they include information about the members of their assigned branch as well as responsibilities of that branch government. 
    • Encourage the students to include illustrations in addition to content. 
  4. Circulate throughout the room as the groups complete the posters to check for understanding. 
  5. Upon completion, invite the groups to present their posters to the class. You can use this as an opportunity to have a discussion on each branch’s role and responsibilities, as well as how a division of power like this benefits the nation as a whole.

Discussion Prompts

Below are two discussion prompts that can be used by teachers in a classroom setting. 

  • The first discussion prompt will be one that is designed to support students that are not really understanding the content in a way that would help them to answer the test question. 
  • The second discussion prompt will be one that is designed to further student understanding of the content by making real-world connections, including connections to current and historical events. 


While the Founding Fathers disagreed on several points, such as how much power the federal government should actually have, they absolutely agreed on the need to prevent the new government from turning into another monarchy. To ensure this, they took lessons from philosophers such as Montesquieu and Locke, and created three separate branches: the legislative, executive, and judicial.

Prompt 1

The Founding Fathers were determined to avoid another monarchy. To manage this, they decided to create three branches of government. What are they and how do they prevent a monarchy? 

Prompt 2

The legislative branch seems to have the “most” responsibilities of the three branches, while the judicial branch seems to have the “least.” Meanwhile, the executive branch is somewhere in the middle. Why do you think this is the case? Wouldn’t it be “more efficient” to give each branch exactly the same number of responsibilities? Why or why not? Provide real-life examples to support your argument.

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