1. Briefly review rock, paper, scissors and play once altogether (to ensure no "extras" are used)
2. Have students pair off randomly and play rock, paper, scissors for 2 minutes, recording their results each round. They must tally which category wins each time in a triple t-chart.
3. After the time is up, have students total their tallies for each category. They then meet with two other pairs (creating groups of 6) and compare their totals. The new groups then combine their totals (making it easier to combine a class total).
4. Collect the group totals into a class total and create a quick bar graph on the board.
5. Have the class discuss results, guiding the discussion toward how no single category outshines the others; all are within a reasonable margin of the others.
6. Explain that this is how checks and balances work (no single branch of government is more powerful than the others--all branches have power over one but must succumb to the other i.e., rock can beat scissors, but not rock).
7. With titles of the three branches displayed, have the class brainstorm how each category of the game relates to the government. Guide them to agree to the following:
rock = executive branch "the buck stops here" (move hand down in a fist to bang on desk, saying "executive")
paper = legislative branch--writing and passing the laws (hold up one hand as if it were paper and act as if you were writing on it with the other hand)
scissors = judicial branch--cutting up anything unconstitutional (hold up one hand as if it were paper and act as if you were cutting it with the other hand)
Thanks to Kalli for sharing this idea. Students who struggle are lucky to have teachers, like Kalli, who develop creative ways to help comprehension and memory.