Lesson PlansBack to lesson plans archive March 1, 2013
What is sequestration? – Lesson Plan
One 45-minute class period
- Learn the definition of sequestration.
- Learn about government budgets, spending and cuts.
- Learn about the potential impact of Sequestration on communities across America.
- Learn the difference between layoffs and furloughs.
- Begin a discussion about sequestration by proposing these warm up questions:
- What is a budget?
- An estimate of costs, revenues, and resources over a specified period, used to predict future financial conditions and goals. (Source: BusinessDictionary.com)
- What is debt?
- A duty or obligation to pay money, deliver goods, or provide service under an agreement. (Source: Business Dictionary.com)
- How much money do you think the U.S. government has borrowed?
- What is a budget?
- Have students watch the first part of this PBS NewsHour Report on Sequestration: Despite Gloomy Urgings, No Signs of Give From Congress on Sequester
- You can also pass around this backgrounder from the National Journal: What Is Sequestration and What Does It Mean for Me?
- Ask students what they think will happen. Questions might include:
- What is a layoff?
- What are the differences between a layoff and a furlough?
- Students should use this writing prompt to assess their understanding of the issue:
- What is sequestration?
- It’s a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts to government agencies, totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The cuts would be split 50-50 between defense and domestic discretionary spending.
- What is sequestration?
- Additional writing or discussion prompts.
- Who does sequestration impact?
- What can be done to avoid sequestration?
- Transportation Secretary Warns Sequestration Would Disrupt Air Travel from PBS NewsHour
- Housing Support Faces Sequester Chop from CNN Money
- Sequester cuts would be a “catastrophe” for DOD civilians from CBS Evening News
- Sequester cuts could hurt food inspections from CBS Evening News
The Materials You Need
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- Access to the Internet
- NewsHour Extra Article: What is the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ and Should We Fear It?
- NewsHour Article: Debt, Deficits, and the Defense Budget
- ABC News Article: Sequester Timeline:When Will the Cuts Be Felt?
- Center for American Progress Article: How Sequestration Would Work
- CNN Article: CNN Explains: Sequestration
Additional Resources for Teachers
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Relevant National Standards:
- Standard 8: Understands the central ideas of American constitutional government and how this form of government has shaped the character of American society
- Benchmark 4: Understands the concept of popular sovereignty as a central idea of American constitutional government (e.g., the people as the ultimate source of the power to create, alter, or abolish governments)
- Benchmark 7: Understands how the design of the institutions of government and the federal system works to channel and limit governmental power in order to serve the purposes of American constitutional government
- Standard 20: Understands the roles of political parties, campaigns, elections, and associations and groups in American politics
- Benchmark 1: Knows the origins and development of the two party system in the United States, and understands the role of third parties
- Standard 5: Understands unemployment, income, and income distribution in a market economy
- Standard 8: Understands basic concepts of United States fiscal policy and monetary policy
- Common Core Literacy Grades 9-12
- Key Ideas and Details
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.3 Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.6 Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.8 Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.
- • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.9 Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.10 By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 11–CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Common Core Standards
Craft and Structure
Intergration of Knowledge and Ideas
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
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