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Lesson Plan: The Judicial Branch

SS.7.C.3.8 Diagram the levels, functions, and powers of courts at the state and federal levels

SS.7.C.3.3. Illustrate the structure and function (three branches of government established in Articles I, II, and III with corresponding powers) of government in the United States as established in the Constitution.

SS.7.C.3.8 Analyze the structure, functions, and processes of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

Key Terms / Content:

The main job of the Judicial Branch | Interpret the Law | Article III of the US Constitution | “One Supreme Court” | “Congress shall Create… Inferior Courts” | Jury | Verdict | Criminal Trials | Civil Trials | Dual Court System | the role of Judges | Plaintiff | Defendant | Three levels of the Federal Courts | District Court | Court of Appeals | US Supreme Court | Appeal | Jurisdiction | Original Jurisdiction | Types of Federal Cases | Marbury v. Madison | Judicial Review | Unconstitutional | Overturn | Check of the Judicial Branch


Essential Questions:

What is the main job of the judicial branch of the US?

How is the judicial branch structured?

What does the US Constitution say about the judicial branch?

What is the difference between a criminal trial and a civil trial?

What is the role of judges on the various levels of the court system?

What are the three levels of federal courts?

What is the difference between the three levels of courts?

What is the “dual court” system?

What power was produced by Marbury v. Madison and what impact did this have on the federal government?



After: discussion, read aloud, note-taking, graphic organizer(s), smart-board, Q&A, call & response, quiz, thesis development, worksheet / video and review activities


  • Define the main duty / job of the judicial branch?

  • Describe the difference between a criminal trial and a civil trial and provide examples


  • List what the US Constitution states about the federal judicial branch

  • List the three levels of federal courts, and describe the different functions of these courts


  • Define the “dual court” system


  • Define judicial review and its establishment from the Marbury v. Madison case. Describe the effect this had on the federal government

  • Define and use content key terms

  • Answer EOC practice questions from these benchmarks

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