DSSEP Home Page Civics Benchmark Terms and Definitions
Grades 4-5 Cluster

Civics 1


Government - a political group that is responsible for the direction and supervision of public affairs.

Structure - the way that something (e.g. government) is arranged or organized.

Constitution - the basic principles and laws of a nation, state, or social group that determine the powers and duties of the government and guarantee certain rights to the people.

Executive - that branch of the government that is responsible for carrying out the laws.

Legislative - that branch of government that makes the laws.

Judicial - that branch of government that interprets the laws.

Civics 2


Politics - the art or science of government.

Principle - a fundamental rule, law, doctrine, or assumption.

Due Process - the requirement that government act fairly in accordance with fair laws.

Ideal - a standard of perfection, beauty, or excellence. An ultimate object or aim of endeavor.

Liberty - the quality or state of being free.

Civic responsibility - something that a citizen ought to do or not do.

Personal civility - acting or expressing one's self politely or in a manner that is respectful of others.

Civics 3


Citizenship - status of being a member of a state; one who owes allegiance to the government and is entitled to its protection to political rights.

Right - something that a person has a just claim to.

Enumerated - to list in a numbered fashion.

Bill of Rights - the first ten Amendments to the Constitution that list the fundamental rights of United States citizens.

Protections - things that shield or cover someone or something from injury or destruction.

Fundamental - Something that is basic, essential, or of major significance.

Civics 4


Participation - taking part in something.

Formal methods - those that follow established rules, laws, or customs.

Informal methods - those that are done casually or not according to established rules, laws, or customs.

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