State and Local Governments

Students will explore the concept of federalism, from the powers held by the federal government to the powers reserved for the states. They will also learn about state government structures and functions, the state-level lawmaking process, and discover county, municipal, and tribal governments. 

State government resources were created with support from the State Government Affairs Council. Local government resources were created with support from the National Association of Counties.


State Power: Got a Reservation?

Students discover that states have their own governments and powers separate from the federal government. They learn what those powers are, how they’re different from the federal government’s powers, and that state governments also give power to smaller, local governments. Students critique a set of fictional state laws, create a story involving state powers, and look at some differences between state and local power. 


Power Play
Play Time: 15-30 mins
Coach a team vying for the balance of governmental powers.

The Great State

What do state governments do? In this overview lesson, students learn about state government structure, functions, lawmaking, and relationship with local government.

Updated 11/19/14. If you used this lesson before that date, please take a look at the new version.


The State Governor

In this lesson, students discover the roles and responsibilities of a governor. Through a reading and board game, the class will identify the source of a governor's power, as well as how that power is best used in a variety of situations. 


States Rule!
Every state is different… and every state is the same! How can that be? Follow this WebQuest to find out about your state, its government, and its relationship to the U.S. government!

Comparative Constitutions

If you’ve seen one constitution, have you seen them all?  Compare and contrast the provisions of the U.S. Constitution alongside the state constitutions of Florida and Virginia. Find common ways in which state constitutions differ from (and are similar to) the U.S. Constitution, and take a closer look at your own state constitution.  


The Capable County

Students explore the many roles filled by their county government and the role of county governments in a federalist system. After a close examination of the county, students create their own fictional county! Students are familiarized with fun facts about county government and analyze the transition of county development through the lense of westward expansion. 

This resource was created with support from the National Association of Counties.


County Basics

You probably know you live in a county (or the equivalent of a county), but do you know what county governments do? Find in this webquest! 


Counties Work
Play Time: 15-30 mins
Running a county is a lot of work! Manage things well, and try to get re-elected.

Who Represents Me?
Do you know who represents you in the federal, state and local government? Do you know how to get in touch with them? Follow this WebQuest to find answers to these questions and more!