Check and balance

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Station 1

TQ: To what extent does the “check and balance” system check and balance the power?


Students will be able to determine which Branch has the power and which Branch is being checked.

Students will be able to explain how the “check and balance” system checks and balances power.


U.S. Constitution (Pocket Size – 3)

Checks and Balances System Worksheet (1 per student)

Checks and Balances Flow Chart (1 per student)

Scenarios (1 per student)

Station Participation:

1. Working as a team, determine:

- Which Branch has the Power

- Which Branch is being checked

- Where does it say that (or imply) in the Constitution? (Article and Section)

- Prior to moving to the next step have the teacher approve your work

2. Working as a team

- Read the scenarios

- Determine “who has the power”

The Checks and Balances System Worksheet

Name: _________________________________

Various governmental powers are listed below. Identify the branch doing the checking and the branch being checked. More than one answer may be possible per section.


Which Branch Has the Power?

Which Branch’s Power is being checked?

Where does it say that (or imply it) in the Constitution?

Create and pass legislation

Veto bills

Ratify treaties

Appoint federal judges

Impeachment of federal officials

Confirm the appointments of Presidential appointments

Declare laws unconstitutional

Judges are appointed for life

Controls appropriations of money

Override Presidential vetoes

Checks and Balances Flow Chart

checks and balances flow chart 


For each situation:

  1. Decide which branch of the government has the power to perform this action

  2. Decide which of branch of the government has the power to “check” the branch with power

  3. Explain how the branch will “check” the power of the branch with the power

  4. What did you need to know to determine the answer?

Scenario #1: Homeland security officials have been ordered to open suspicious packages they believe might be from terrorists.

Scenario #2: The President does not believe a law passed by Congress to increase funding for education is fair to all children.

Scenario #3: A law, recently passed in a state legislature banning gay marriage, is being challenged as unconstitutional.

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