BC Social Studies Lesson Plans

Comparing Governments

Grade 6


Comparing Governments

Big Idea

Systems of government vary in their respect for human rights and freedoms.

Essential Question

How do the Canadian and American Systems of Government compare?

Learning Standards Content

Students are expected to know the following:

  • different systems of government

Curricular Competencies

Students are expected to be able to do the following:

  • Use Social Studies inquiry processes and skills to — ask questions; gather, interpret, and analyze ideas; and communicate findings and decisions

Core Competencies

I can explain how Canada’s system of government differs from the United States’.

I can analyze the benefits and problems of different systems of government.

I can interact in a group and achieve consensus on an issue.

First People's Principles of Learning

Learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential, and relational (focused on connectedness, on reciprocal relationships, and a sense of place).
  • Show the video USA vs Canada (4:04)
  • Explain that the United States has a great influence on Canada. We share a border. We have similar culture. Our economies are closely connected. Our systems of government have similarities too. However, there are some significant differences between the American and Canadian systems of government.
  • Encourage student discussion by using a Think Pair Share strategy to ask:
    • What do you already know about Canada’s government?
    • What do you already know about the United States’ government?
  • Provide each student with a copy of the graphic organizer “Comparing Canadian and American Systems of Government”.
  • Have students use the interactive How do the Canadian and American systems of government compare? to complete the graphic organizer.
  • Afterwards, go over the graphic organizer using “Answer Key: Comparing Canadian and American Systems of Government”.
  • Divide students into seven groups and assign each group one area of difference between Canadian and American systems of government.
  • Challenge each group to create one or two sentences explaining their assigned difference.
  • Each group should come to consensus about whether their difference is more positive or negative for Canada. Encourage groups to have reasons to support their decision.
  • Once groups have reached consensus, they should add their sentences to the board under either a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” symbol.
  • Have students write a reflection to consider the following questions:
    • What is the most interesting thing you learned about Canada’s system of government?
    • When comparing systems of government in Canada and the United States, are the similarities or the differences more significant?

Canada. “How Government Works.” 2019. https://www.canada.ca/en/government/system/how-government-works.html


Canada. Parliament of Canada. “Learn About Canada.” [2020?]


Canada. Parliament of Canada. “Our Country, Our Parliament: An Introduction to How Canada’s Parliament Works.” [2020?] https://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.894819/publication.html


Forsey, E. A. “How Canadians Govern Themselves. Chapter 4. Canadian and American Government.”. 10th edition. 2020. Library of Parliament. 



“Government and Democracy.” 2015. YouTube.



Gow, J.I. and P. Bishop. “Government.” 2016. The Canadian Encyclopedia.


Download Complete Lesson Plan

.pdf .docx

Rate this Curriculum

Last Reviewed

February 01, 2023

Produced by JES

curriculum developers