Social Program Priorities

Educator Toolkit: Peoples Guide to the Federal Budget

Activity Type: Group
Chapter: 6
Objective: Students will be able to describe and understand at least ten social programs funded by the federal budget. Students will work together in groups to prioritize funding for these programs.

  1. Break students into groups (groups of four or six work well).
  2. Each student will become an expert on two to four major social programs funded in the federal budget. (See the list of social programs funded through the federal budget at the back of Chapter 6 of A People's Guide to the Federal Budget.)
  3. Students will take notes from the book and/or spend time researching the program. (Note: students are strongly encouraged to use NPP’s Federal Priorities Database to explore the current funding level of the program they are researching.)
  4. “Experts” will report back to their group orally about each program while group members take notes. At end of process, all thirteen programs listed in Chapter 6 of A People's Guide to the Federal Budget should be summarized. 
  5. Groups will prioritize funding by ranking what they believe should be funded the most to the least. Within groups, students should discuss the reasons behind their rankings and try to work out solutions if or when students disagree.
  6. Each group will write their priorities from 1 (most) to 13 (least) on large paper and put up on wall next to other groups.
  7. Students will walk around the class and look at other group's priorities.
  8. Class will discuss similarities and differences and where disagreements within groups arose and why.

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