• Mr Murphy’s Government and Economics

    Manvel High School

    Course Syllabus


    United States Government



    Course Description


    In government, the focus is on the principles and beliefs upon which the United States was founded and on the structure, functions, and power of government at the national, state, and local levels.  This course is the culmination of the civic and governmental content and concepts studied from kindergarten through required secondary courses.  Students learn major political ideas and forms of government in history.  A significant focus is on the U.S. Constitution, its underlying principles and ideas, and the form of government that it created.  Students analyze major concepts of republicanism, federalism, checks and balances, separation of powers, popular sovereignty, and individual rights and compare the U.S. system of government with other political systems.  Students identify the role of government in the U.S. free enterprise system and examine the strategic importance of places to the United States.  Students analyze the impact of individuals, political parties, interest groups, and the media on the American political system, evaluate the importance of voluntary individual participation in a democratic society, and analyze the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.  Students examine the relationship between governmental policies and the culture of the United States.  Students identify examples of government policies that encourage scientific research and use critical-thinking skills to create a product on a contemporary government issue.


    Rationale for the Course


    To impress upon the student the need for government, the role it plays in daily life, and how the individual can have input into and impact upon the governmental and political process.


    Course Contents (units)


    1. Basic Concepts of Government

    2. Origins of the National Government

    3. The U.S. Constitution

    4. Fundamental Principles Which Underlie the American System of Government

    5. Political Participation: Political Parties, Voting, and Public Opinion

    6. The Federal Congress and Texas Legislature

    7. The American Presidency and Texas Executive

    8. The Federal Judiciary, Civil Liberties, Immigration, and Citizenship

    Methods for Accomplishing Objectives


    1. Lecture/notes (from ppt)

    2. Discussion/Brainstorming

    3. Questions/Answers (worksheets/quick writes/warm ups/ etc…)

    4. Political Cartoon Analysis

    5. Reading from the textbook and outside sources

    6. DVDs/ Educational Films

    7. Guest Speakers

    8. Critical Thinking Exercises

    9. Current Events

    10. S.O.A.P.S. and other Student-centered Activities

    11. Class Project(s)

    Student Evaluation


    A student’s nine weeks grade will be computed according to the following formula:

    1. Tests and Projects (at least three per 9 weeks)  20%

    2. Daily Work, Quizzes, & Homework (at least 2 per week) 70%


    No extra credit assignments will be given!


    Semester Notebook


    A semester notebook is a requirement of this course. The notebook is to be turned in to the teacher before the end of the semester. Notebooks are to contain the following:

    1. Objectives

    2. Class Notes

    3. Homework

    4. Daily Assignments

    5. Quizzes

    6. Tests

    7. Handouts

    8. Miscellaneous


    The notebook is due before you come to take the final exam or on the last day you attend class if you exempt the final exam.