This is a one semester course. One section will be offered first semester, Thursday 2–3 p.m. ET. One section will be offered second semester, Monday 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. ET.
Why should a high school student study US government? First, everyone in The United States will be thrust into the position of voter at the age of 18. Second, the growth of our national government has meant that the federal government reaches into more and more of our everyday decisions. Third, there are a variety of issues emanating from Washington, DC and the state capitals every day. In order to not be swayed by every passing fad, it is crucial that students understand why our political institutions exist. Lastly, an educated citizenry is necessary to carry on good public discourse and maintain our republic.
The course objective is to introduce students to the principles behind the United States’ government and political institutions and to enable students to interact with various viewpoints. Students will understand the historical development of our current political situation, analyze the political process, and describe how various political groups function today. The goal is for students to become familiar with public policies, our Constitutional underpinnings, and political behavior in our society. Each student should then be able to appropriately apply their understanding to evaluate how just and appropriate various political actions are. The course will include engaging group discussions in the weekly live session.
Some weekly course concepts include:
- What is legitimate government and how did the Founders envision it?
- What different types of federalism have been debated and utilized in American government?
- The three branches of national government (their functions, original design, and current practices)
- Political parties and their role in American government
- How does policy making occur?
- What is the role of the bureaucracy?
- The Constitution and the limits it places on government activities
- How does the media shape perceptions?
- America’s role in the world (past and present)
Students will have weekly homework assignments, which will reinforce and expand upon the classroom discussions. Regular assignments may include watching a video online, reading an article, or completing worksheets. Some examples of assignments include the following: playing a simulation game about the tasks of the president, writing an essay about the life of a founding father, comparing viewpoints about US foreign policy before WWII, evaluating media sources and their coverage of current events, and contrasting the platforms of various political parties. There is an estimated 3-4 hours of work per week outside of the live class. Every class is recorded and I post the recording for viewing after each class. Therefore, students can catch up if they happen to miss the live session. There is one quiz and assignment to be completed after the final live class session.
This course can be used to satisfy the prerequisite for my AP US Government and Politics course.
Who should enroll?
This course is for students in grades 9-12 and is designed to fulfill the typical requirements of a high school government course. The maximum class size is 16 students to encourage student engagement.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Web cam, sound card, and microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
Evaluation and Feedback
Students will receive comments and individualized feedback on their assignments via Canvas. Work will be graded, and student questions will be addressed in a timely manner.
Parents do not need to contact me before registering for this class. I will confirm registration and provide a welcome email to students. All parents should join Canvas as observers, and I will respond to all parental questions.
I enjoyed Mr. Gilbert’s class! The workload was reasonable and we got direct feedback on homework which was helpful. Sometimes his instructions were unclear which lead to some misunderstandings in grading/what he was looking for. I got this cleared up easily and he was very receptive to feedback working out any issue at hand. There were lots of opportunities for discussion which was much appreciated. On the occasion, I could see his personal political views becoming involved but on the whole, he did a really great job of being neutral and arguing both sides which I think is important when discussing government/politics. Assignments were enjoyable and all graded in a timely manner.
I had an awesome time in this class. I was a bit overwhelmed at the beginning, but I got the hang of it and I ended up really enjoying it. That’s saying something cause government has never been my strong suit, but the positive and constructive atmosphere, class discussion, and strong organization made the whole class really enjoyable. The weekly homework was always directly helpful, not just busywork, and designed well so I retained a lot of information that I normally find myself losing by the end of the semester.
I’m really excited to take Econ next semester 🙂
Julene Bartelmann (verified owner) –
Mr. Gilbert is an exceptional teacher. This class was quite challenging for my son, but it definitely helped him grow as a student. He was expected to think critically and explain his answers thoroughly – excellent! The class is very well-organized, the lectures informative and interactive, and the assignments are not just busy work. Mr. Gilbert also provides thoughtful, thorough, and timely feedback. I appreciate that participation and video are required. Both myself and my son highly recommend both this class and Mr. Gilbert as a teacher in general. Worth every penny.
Keira Skiles (verified owner) –
I really enjoyed this class and would love to take another of Mr. Gilbert’s classes. It was a very straight forward and easy to understand course. Overall, I enjoyed learning about different concepts in government and I especially liked talking about current events. One thing that was difficult about this class is that there was a lot of reading comprehension and sometimes it was hard to find the right answer to a question in the article that was given.
Deborah Naspinsky (verified owner) –
So impressed with the quality of this US Government course. The class is challenging without being impossibly difficult. It requires all to participate because “no one can hide in Gilbert’s class” and genuinely think critically. Students learn to as a matter of routine defend their thinking/ arguments in a mature, educated manner. This course well prepares all who will soon be voters to understand what their personal responsibility is in a participatory, democratic government like ours in the US. Highly recommend both Mr Gilbert as an instructor and this course for US Government.
Andy T. –
This class with Mr. Gilbert was very informative, amenable, and I learned a lot on how the US government works. I would recommend this class. In fact, I am taking the AP class next year with a friend of mine.
Mr. Gilbert made the content very interesting and provided many different ways to look at things. The class is challenging without being overbearing and Mr. Gilbert was always more than happy to help if I had any trouble.
Lizzie A. –
Mr. Gilbert is an incredible teacher, and he does a great job of letting the students interact, and keeping them engaged in the material. His classes are very well thought out. I’m a freshman in high school and have taken both his World Geography and Government courses and have loved both of them. Mr. Gilbert fosters an amazing learning experience in all of his classes. Highly recommend.
Stephanie Himes (verified owner) –
This was a great course! The feedback from the instructor was detailed and specific and encouraged growth. The assignments were relevant and provided opportunities for students to show their learning in many ways. The pacing was fair and on par for what is expected from an upper level course. The online class was led in such a way to encourage participation in a safe and supported manner. I would highly recommend this class to any one looking for a government class. Mr. Gilbert is professional and timely in his responses to students. Well done!
Joelle Diggins –
Mr. Gilbert is a great teacher. He provides great materials and a thorough explanation of the topic. He speaks clearly in each class and makes sure we don’t miss anything before the class ends. He also includes fun activities in the homework that help with active learners.
Becca Nicolson –
Overall, very informative and helpful.
This class was really helpful in understanding how the US government operates on an understandable level, Mr. Gilbert was excellent at describing complex systems in everyday terms and using analogies to explain processes and relationships. Thanks to this class, I can visualize and reference how our government works and draw conclusions about patterns and trends in how it has changed over time. The work load was very light, as long as you analyze the resources well the assignments aren’t difficult, some of the questions were challenging in terms of deciding where you stand on issues.
While it did give me a great basic understanding, it wasn’t my favorite class because it was very informational and fact heavy. This type of class is generally easier than a class which emphasizes the development and contrast of opinions, but is also less engaging at times. Personally, I would have benefitted from some more challenging opinion assignments and examples of topics in context.
Sarah R –
Intro to US Government is an excellent class for any student looking to gain a fundamental understanding of the inner workings, principles, and structure of our government. The live lectures were informative and topics covered in class were reinforced and explored in deeper ways through the weekly assignments. The assignments encourage students to think critically and to synthesize the material that they read, further reinforcing information learned. Mr. Gilbert was an engaging lecturer, and his genuine enjoyment of the subject was clear in his teaching. He encouraged open discussions in the class between students, and created an open and fair environment where students felt comfortable to ask questions or exchange ideas. Having finished this class, I now have a strong foundation of knowledge about our government which I did not have before.
Ryan J. –
Intro to Economics and U.S. Government was an overall great set of classes. Assigned homework had just the right amount of challenge and critical thinking involved. The live lectures were presented in an informative way and the in-class discussions helped reinforce my understanding of the course material. These classes helped change my view on how the economy and government work.
This was a beneficial and informative class. Mr. Gilbert covered modern topics and explained them very well in his weekly lectures. It was an excellent class to take when you want to learn more about the U.S. government!
EmmaGrace Porter –
This was a great class! It covered a lot of useful information. The work load was not too bad and all the lectures were super helpful/informative. Mr Gilbert always responds to emails super quick and answered all my questions. I would definetely recommend!
Sam Thompson –
I was really impressed by this class and by Mr. Gilbert. I feel like government can easily become boring and repetitive but the material we covered was always interesting and enjoyable. Mr. Gilbert’s teaching style is very interactive which I found helped me learn faster and he always seemed to be an expert on any question we asked him. This class wasn’t easy but it was extremely rewarding, I would even go as far as to say it was fun!
Josh Blair –
This class was a little challenging at times, but it was also a very fun class for me. Seeing new people and having a class with them was really Great, it always put a smile on my face. Even though this class was difficult for me I still learned a lot, and Mr. Gilbert was able to explain it in a way that made since. Overall I really enjoyed this class and would highly recommend it.
Luca Crampe –
Government has never been my strong suit or an interesting subject to me but Mr. Gilbert made it very interesting. A lot of the concepts were hard to grasp for me but he broke them down into well structured, informative sections that made the subject a whole lot easier. Overall would highly recommend this class.
Gillian Pieper –
It is a great course that is very beneficial to the student. The assignments are influential to the students understanding of the government, and the classes are full of helpful information. Nate Gilbert is and amazing teacher who is easy to communicate with, and breaks down the basics of U.S government. It is a great course for students of all levels, challenging perspective and influencing our decisions.
This class was very challenging but it was also a very fun class for me. Seeing new people and having a class with them was really awesome. Even though this class was hard for me I still learned a lot most of the stuff you taught me was stuff I probably have not heard about. Overall thank you for teaching me and taking your time to teach this class I really enjoyed it.
Skylar Combs –
This course was a fantastic introduction to government. The course content was interesting and Mr. Gilbert provided engaging live classes that allow for the student to be part of the discussion and develop his or her own thoughts and opinions. As someone who will be able to vote for the first time in the next election, I feel well prepared and knowledgeable after taking this course!
Eddie Kasper –
Mr. Gilbert was an excellent teacher and even better at breaking down ideas. I learned so much overall and greatly enjoyed the class discussions. If you are debating wether to take this class or not, I would say don’t think twice and just do it!
Jessy Roberts –
I have really enjoyed this class. The teacher always makes or breaks the learning experience and you have made government and economics my favorite subjects. You are an amazing teacher and I was glad to be under your guidance.
Your class was one of my daughter’s favorites. She found it very interesting and loved your teaching style. She will be graduating so she won’t be able to take Econ with you. We definitely would have taken it with you had we found you sooner.
Tammie Martin (verified owner) –
My son took two of Mr. Gilbert’s classes —Intro to Government and Intro to Economics. He was challenged and grew as a student and thinker in both classes. The format and layout of these classes is excellent —students are required to do assignments that demonstrate mastery and application of the material taught. Mr. Gilbert also grades homework quickly, gives great feedback, and positively engages the students in class discussions. 5 stars!!
Tracy J. (verified owner) –
I was very impressed with the material and content of the course. It was not busy work, but a carefully designed and well thought out curriculum. My middle school daughter was a bit overwhelmed at the start of the class. But, Mr Gilbert was very patient and fair. By the end of the class, my daughter had gained confidence and started to excel. I would definitely recommend this course and others taught by Mr Gilbert.
Mr. Gilbert is an enjoyable teacher to take classes with. He is calm, relaxed, and knowledgeable. He covers a good amount of content, and he asks lots of questions to keep the students involved and thoughtfully interacting with what they’re learning.
I was very impressed with Mr. Gilbert! My 12 year old dd wrote a review “I really like this teacher because, he is very thorough and makes sure that you know the subject before you move on. He is very nice, and he explains the topic simply so you understand. He taught me this class even though I was the only one there. He is a good teacher and I believe that I will be taking some future classes with him.” If he offers more classes She will definitely attend!
Jon Adler –
Mr. Gilbert was one my favorite high school teachers. He had a great knowledge and love for what he taught. He challenged me to see and understand the larger picture beyond just memorizing facts.