Budget Me Elmo

What US Government department or agency has the largest budget for Fiscal Year 2020?

  1. How inaccurate was your crazy prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this crazy data?

  3. When you think about where the largest portion of the money goes, what is the big story this data tells?

  4. Why is that?

  5. What is one political consequence of this distribution of money?

  6. Explain whether this is good or bad news.

  7. How surprised would the average American be by this data?

  8. How much input do you personally have in the budgetary process?

  9. Let’s say that you wanted to influence the budgetary process as much as possible. What would be the most efficacious first step to take to wield the most influence?

  10. The department with the highest budget is the Department of Health and Human Services ($1.2 TRILLION!!!) What exactly is all this money going for?

  11. And what about the Social Security Agency? What does that money go for?

  12. In the budget for Fiscal Year 2020 the Department of Defense (fights wars) gets 706 BILLION dollars while the Department of State (prevents wars) gets 24 BILLION dollars. Explain whether you believe that is a good ratio of spending.

  13. I like the defense department. I do not want the U.S. to be invaded by Canada, Jamaica, or North Korea. At the same time, I like the environment, and the Defense Department budget is over 100 times larger than the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency. Explain what you would like the ratio on military protection versus environmental protection to be in the ideal world.

  14. Explain which department or agency is the most underfunded.

  15. Explain which department or agency is the most overfunded.

  16. If you could change the budgetary spending in on way, what would you change?

  17. Who decides on the budget?

  18. How is the budgetary process an example of checks and balances?

Visual Extension *

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Learning Extension

Learn about the U.S. government’s budgetary process.

Action Extension

Remix the U.S. budget as you see fit. Share your new budget in class or online.

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Lov Gov

AP U.S. Government and Politics

What federal government agency or department is viewed most favorably by the U.S. public?

Pew Research Center    AP U.S. Government and Politics

Pew Research Center

AP U.S. Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big story the data tell about American opinion on the federal government?

  3. Why do you think Americans have those views?

  4. What is one consequence of Americans having such favorable opinions of these departments and agencies?

  5. Is this good news?

  6. Are you surprised?

  7. Why do you think the Post Office won the most favorable rating of any agency or department?

  8. Which of the agencies and departments listed above do you have daily contact with?

  9. How would you answer the same questionnaire?

  10. What do you think would be the agency or department that the public views least favorably?

  11. What are three things Congress can do to control these agencies and departments?

  12. What can are three things the POTUS can do to control these agencies and departments?

  13. Why do you think that 42% of people have an unfavorable opinion of the department of education?

  14. How different do you think Democrats and Republicans view these agencies and departments?*

  15. Democrats and Republicans have exactly the same opinion of the Federal Reserve, yet they have very different opinions of the FBI. Why do you think that is?

  16. Do you think that most Americans even know what the Federal Reserve does?

  17. Do you even know what the Federal Reserve does?

  18. If you asked most Americans if they trust the government, only 18% say, yes. However, these same Americans have a very favorable view of much of the actual government. How do you explain this dissonance?

  19. Do you think the Trump administration is having an impact on Americans' views of the federal government?

  20. How different were Americans' views of these same agencies in 2013* (See below) compared to now?

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

This cool new Pew report on American attitudes towards the government is about to be made into a movie by Disney. Check it out now!!!!!

Action Extension

Next time you have contact with the federal government (it could be your mail carrier bringing you mail or an F.B.I. agent arresting you) thank them for their work for the federal government and ask them what people's attitudes are towards them. Share your thoughts about this interaction in class or online. Or, ask ten of your schoolmates their attitudes towards these agencies and departments and compare those results with the views expressed in the data.

T-Rextension

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Our World In Data Extension

Animal in Clothes Extension

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Gov Lov

What U.S. Federal agency is the most popular?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this information?

  3. Why do you think so many people have a positive opinion of the US Postal Service?

  4. What was the least popular federal agency in this list?

  5. Why do you think that is?

  6. Overall, would you say that Americans have a favorable view of federal agencies?

  7. What is one political consequence of this data?

  8. Is this good news? Do you even know what each of these agencies does? If not, educate yourself.

  9. What is your absolute favorite federal agency? Write a rap about it and submit it in the comments section below!

  10. We are about to enter into a period of divided government (whoot! whoot!). What impact will that have on the federal bureaucracy?

  11. The loss of which of these agencies would be the most damaging to the United States?

  12. According to this data, Americans seem to like most federal agencies. At the same time, most people hold negative opinions about the president, the congress, and the US government in general. Explain those seemingly contradictory positions.

  13. Why isn't NASA at the top of the list?

  14. Donald Trump has already announced a hiring freeze on almost all federal agencies. How do you think that will effect their ability to operate?

  15. No one enjoys paying taxes, yet 58% of Americans approve of the IRS. Explain this apparent contradiction.

  16. Over the 8 years of the Obama administration, the public's favorable opinion of these federal agencies generally increased. What effect do you imagine the Trump administration will have on the public's opinion of federal agencies?

  17. How do you think partisanship affects opinions of the federal agencies?*

  18. How different do you imagine these numbers would be in a one-party country like Cuba, China or Russia?


Learning Extension

Read the Pew report on Americans' opinions of federal agencies


Action Extension

Show 10 people a list of these ten agencies. How many of them can even tell you what each agency does? Ask them to evaluate each agency as favorable or unfavorable. Compile your data to show the aggregate opinion of each agency and compare your score to the American public's. Share your results online or in class.


Visual Extension*

Therapy Animal Extravaganza 2018

We’ll share photographs of our favorite therapy animals over the next few class starters. Enjoy!

Baby You Can Regulate My Car

AP US Government and Politics

What has happened to the number of deaths per 100 million vehicle miles driven in the US over the past 70 years?

AP US Government and Politics

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the biggest surprise in this data?

  3. What is the big story this chart tells?

  4. Why do you think the death rate has been reduced so significantly over the past 70 years?

  5. Do you think we have regulated car safety enough or do you think we should continue to improve safety measures?

  6. If someone came from another country and asked you for your opinion on the government regulating cars what would you say?

  7. What impact did the introduction of the seat belt have on car safety?

  8. Based on this data, What would you say to someone who says that regulations don't work?

  9. Did you know that people actually argued against the government regulating car safety?

  10. Before 1968 there were no federal safety standards for cars. When I look back on this I think, that's crazy!!!! What do you think people in 70 years will think about the lack of regulations on guns in American today?

  11. Some people say that gun regulations don't work. Does this information make you feel like the U.S. should do more to regulate guns in America?

  12. The Second Amendment reads, A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Do you read the Second Amendment to outlaw regulations on guns?

  13. Of course, what you think about the Second Amendment doesn't have the effect of law. What group's opinion on the Second Amendment would have the effect of law? And what part of government would carry out any rulings, laws, or executive orders regarding guns?

  14. What are some things other than cars that the federal government regulates?

  15. Let's say you wanted the Congress to make a law regulating guns the way we regulate cars. What are the most effective steps you could take to try to influence Congress?

Learning Extension

Read this article on US government regulations.

Action Extension

A well regulated militia has the right to keep and bear arms. But you also have a right to life. Some Florida high school students have gotten fed up with feeling unsafe at school and have taken to the streets to protest. Do something about how you feel about regulating guns and share your action in class or online.

Visual Extension

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T-Rextension

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ICE ICE BABY

AP U.S. Government and Politics

What happened to the number of ICE immigration arrests in 2017?

AP U.S. Government and Politics

AP U.S. Government and Politics

Critical Questions

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big story of ICE immigration arrests in 2017?

  3. Why do you think that happened?

  4. What is one consequence of this?

  5. Is this good news?

  6. Some U.S. cities have said that they will not assist ICE with immigration arrests. What does this have to do with federalism?

  7. Do you agree that cities should not help ICE with federal immigration enforcement?

  8. What is the overall trend in ICE immigration arrests over the past 8 years?

  9. Were average annual ICE immigration arrests higher under Obama or Trump? Seriously?!?!?

  10. What are the best two words that rhyme with ICE?

  11. How would the typical U.S. Democrat and the typical U.S. Republican respond to this data?

  12. What power does the POTUS have to control ICE?

  13. What power does Congress have to control ICE?

  14. What does this have to do with DACA?

  15. In what parts of the country did ICE arrests increase the most?*

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Read the article about ICE arrests from PEW.

Action Extension

Contact the President and tell him what you think about rising ICE immigration arrests.

T-Rextension

AP U.S. Government and Politics

AP U.S. Government and Politics