WebQuest Template
The Three Branches of GovernmentWeb Quest


Debbie Strait dstrait@logantele.com



Youhave been writing to a pen pal in Canada.Your pen pal has told you aboutthe laws of his country.  He tells you that his country doesn't havea president like the United States.  His government is ruled by QueenElizabeth II who is called The Head of State. Canada also has a GovernorGeneral who represents the queen, kind-of like the Vice-President assiststhe president. Learning about the government of Canada makes you wonderabout the government of the United States.  In the next letter youwrite to your pen pal, you are excited to share about your great country. 


    Duringthis webquest, you will learn about the three branches of government: theJudicial Branch, the Executive Branch, and the Legislative Branch. You will describe the function of each branch to your pen pal in a letter.(You will need to take notes over the information from the websites thatyou plan to share with your pen pal.  You will also need to writedown the website address to document where you found the information).The following are two great websites that will describe the three diferentbranches of government:

Separationof Powers

Ben'sGuide to U.S. Government


    You willalso research how a bill becomes a law.  You will explain to yourpen pal the steps taken by Congress to pass a bill. Laws are the rulesthat tell us what to do. It is important to know how they are created.The President does not sign bills that are not good for our country. Billsmust be voted on by the different branches of government before they canbecome a law. Isn't that good to know? Check out the following internetsite to find out how a bill becomes a law:

Howa Bill Becomes a Law

    Thethree branches of government watch out for one another in a process called'Checks and Balances.'  Each branch 'checks' up on the other. Thisway, no single branch has more power than another. You will also explainthis process to your pen pal. Read over the internet site entitled 'Checksand Balances' to learn more:

   Checksand Balances



    Afteryou have looked over the websites above, your note taking page should looklike this:

The first branch of thegovernment is the Legislative Branch.  Who makes up the LegislativeBranch?_______________________________ What does the Legislative Branchdo?__________________________________________

The second branch of governmentis the Executive Branch.  Who makes up the Executive Branch?_________________________________Whatdoes the Executive Branch do?________________________________________

The third branch of governmentis the Judicial Branch.  Who makes up the Judicial Branch?_______________________Whatdoes the Judicial Branch do?__________________________________________________

These are the steps thattell how a bill becomes a law:




'Checks and Balances' means:______________________________________________

    If youneed to go back and look over the websites again, go ahead. If you'd liketo make a copy of this page, do so, and then go back and take notes. Ifyou have taken good notes and feel you are ready to write to your pen pal,look below for some last minute details:

    First,before writing, you need to make sure you remember the parts of a friendlyletter.  Click on the website below to see a sample friendly letter.


     Makesure you include all 5 parts (heading, greeting, body, closing, and signature)in the letter you write your pen pal. The body of your letter should includea description of the function of each branch of government (1 paragraph),an explanation of how a bill becomes a law (1 paragraph), and a summaryof how each branch 'checks' up on the other (1 paragraph).


    You will be graded according to a rubric.

Branches of Government pen pal letter rubric













Content Knowledge

Student shows little or no understanding of the content material.

Student is unsure of some of the information and shows some understanding of the content.

Student shows a very good understanding of the content, but could use more details.

Student has full understanding of the content and gives a complete explanation with many supporting details.








The information is not in the correct format and is missing some of the parts of a friendly letter.

The information is written in correct letter format, but does not have all 5 parts of a friendly letter.

The information is written in correct letter format, and may or may not have all 5 parts of a friendly letter.

The information is written in correct letter format and includes all 5 parts of a friendly letter:  heading, greeting, body, closing, and signature.









The letter has four or more spelling errors and incomplete sentences.

The letter has three or more spelling errors and/or grammatical errors and may have run-on sentences.

The letter has no more than two spelling errors and/or grammatical errors.

The letter has no misspellings or grammatical errors. The sentences are complete and have all the correct punctuation.







The student used very little creative energy when writing the letter.

The letter is written with a few original ideas from the student.

The letter is well written and thoughtful. The ideas are presented well.

The letter is written in a creative and unique way.





Student left out two or more of the details about the three branches of government, explanation of a bill becoming a law, and the �checks and balances� information.

Student left out one of more details about the three branches of government, explanation of how a bill becomes a law, and the �checks and balances� explanation

Student described the function of the branches of government, explanation of how a bill becomes a law, and the �checks and balances� explanation.

Student included a thorough   explanation of the functions of the three branches of government, an explanation of how a bill becomes a law, and a summary of �checks and balances� in his/her letter.










                                                                                                                               Total:                     __________


    Thiswebquest was designed so you would have a better understanding of the threebranches of government. To learn more about our U.S. government, look onthe internet.  There is always more to learn!

Standards used:

SSE 1.3.3-3: Understand the basic purpose of government and how citizenparticipation can affect government.
SSE-LC06-3: Knows the major things governments do in one's school community,state, and nation (make, carry out and enforce laws; manage conflicts;provide national security.)