Tilting the Balance of Power

Amy Wong Mok from Annette Strauss Institute on Vimeo.

Read the transcript or watch the closed captioned video.

Read the transcript

Warm-Up (10-15 minutes)

  1. At the beginning of class, ask students: What are the three branches of the U.S. government? What are some of the responsibilities of each branch?
  2. Break students up into three groups and assign each group a branch of government (i.e. Executive, Legislative, and Judicial). You can have students do their own research on the responsibilities and functions of each branch using their own materials, or you can download our one-page summaries off of the Annette Strauss website. Ask each group to identify the responsibilities and functions of the branch of government assigned to them.
  3. Groups report back to class about what they have learned.

Application (30 minutes)

A detailed assembly sheet with pictures of the mobile and step-by-step instructions can be downloaded from the Annette Strauss website.

  1. Distribute materials and begin by asking students to write down the names of the three branches of government on three different colored strips of cardstock paper.
  2. Then ask students to write down the three main responsibilities of each branch of government. Mobiles look nice when the colors of the functions match the name of the branch. See photo for details.
  3. Ask students to present their balance of power mobile to this class. Students can report on something they learned while doing the activity, something they will always remember about the division of powers, or why they thought creating a mobile was helpful to their understanding about the three branches.


View American Trustees Videos (www.americantrusteesproject.org) to begin a discussion with students about the various ways that each of them can get involved in government…either as a public servant or as a civically engaged citizen.

  • State Representative Dan Gattis, a sixth generation Texan, serves the people of House District 20 (Georgetown area) and State Representative Patrick Rose, serves the people of House District 45 that includes Blanco, Caldwell, and Hays Counties.
  • Amy Wong Mok was born without a vote in her native, colonial Hong Kong. Amy has made her civic voice heard by establishing the Asian American Cultural Center. This video highlights her work advocating for legislation that ends the Marital Exemption for Rape in the state of Texas.


Special Education and ELL modifications:

  • Groups should be assigned purposefully to ensure that all students are able to engage with the reading/research material
  • Reading partner strategy may be used
  • The assessment component may be modified by either shortening the writing product or asking that students focus on only one aspect of branches of government for initial writing
  • If needed, students may also dictate responses to the teacher or classmate and/or use word processing equipment
  • Learning will be supported through group discussion