This exploration is for 5th grade and up, as the colored smilies show. You can play the government match game with your kids from ten years old through high school together!
The government match game exploration is a history exploration from Layers of Learning Unit 4-9 about totalitarianism in the early 20th century. Layers of Learning has hands-on games in every unit of this family-friendly curriculum. Learn more about Layers of Learning.
There are three major types of government:
- Anarchy: no government
- Limited government: constrained by constitutional law and deriving its power from the people
- Totalitarian government: arbitrary and unconstrained, deriving its power by force
Within the three major types of government are subcategories of government. For example both a constitutional monarchy and a republic are types of limited governments while a dictatorship, monarchy, and theocracy are all types of totalitarian government.
There are two major types of economies:
- Free Market
Capitalism is the only true free market economy where individuals retain power over all economic choices. But there are several types of controlled economies including socialism, communism, and fascism. Mixed economies have elements of two or more economic systems.
Step 1: Library Research
Before you begin exploring, read a book or two about governments. Here are some suggestions, but if you can’t find these, look for books at your library about government, economics, totalitarianism, democracy, republics, communism, free markets, and socialism. The colored smilies above each book tell you what age level they’re recommended for.
Political Science For Kids
by Baby Professor
The Politics Book
Step 2: Government Match Game Exploration
To play the Government Match Game you will need the printable and some scissors to cut apart the pieces. We recommend printing on card stock so the cards are sturdier.
Cut apart the cards, remove the cards in ALL CAPS. Place these face up on the table above the other cards, which you will place face down on a table. Take turns turning over two cards at a time to find matches between definitions and names of government and economic types.
When you get a match, place it under the ALL CAPS heading you think it belongs with.
For beginners you may want to separate economic cards from government cards for simplification.
And here are the answers. First, the whole thing laid out:
Now, because you can’t see the tiny writing on half the cards, close ups of each section:
Step 3: Show What You Know
Use the government match game as a “quiz” after your kids have read books and discussed government with you. You can play it several times over the course of your family study of Layers of Learning Unit 4-9.
Additional Layers are extra activities you can do or tangents you can take off on. You will find them in the sidebars of each Layers of Learning unit. They are optional, so just choose what interests you.
With your kids, discuss your own religious/moral beliefs and how they tie to government. Do you believe people should have as much freedom as possible or do you believe people need to be controlled for their own good? Why? Which government and economic types fit with your beliefs most closely?
When most people use the word “democracy” they mean a government where people get to vote. But that is not what a democracy really is. (See the above definition.) Definitions matter because if people don’t understand the terms we’re using when we talk to one another, we will experience nothing but frustration and confusion. You can’t solve problems if you’re speaking different languages.
Study some of the countries that have the types of governments you’ve learned about.
China has a totalitarian government and a communist economic system.
But Hong Kong (part of China) was ruled by the British until 1997 and it has a republican form of government with a mixed economy of capitalism and socialism.
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