Weekly Reader Connections

Teacher Guide: Lesson 12.7

The Weekly Reader Connections feature on Kids' Place Houghton Mifflin Math provides your students with additional information about the topics that appear in the Curriculum Connection feature in their student books.

The article “Checks and Balances” introduces students to the structure of the three branches of the federal government. To prepare students for the reading, you may need to explain that the U.S. Constitution, written in 1787, established this structure and set forth the rules by which it would function. Either before or after having students read the article, you may wish to read the following parts of the Constitution aloud.

Article. I.

Section. 1.

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section. 2.

Clause 1: The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States,...

Section. 3.

Clause 1: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature* thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

*In 1913 the seventeenth amendment changed these words to "elected by the people."

The Word Wise activity gives students a list of words, and has them use a dictionary to determine whether each word is:

A. Always capitalized
B. Never capitalized
C. Sometimes capitalized

  • governor: C (capitalized only when part of a title, e.g., Governor Smith)
  • government: B
  • congress: C (capitalized only when referring to the United States Congress)
  • citizen: B
  • president: C (capitalized only when part of a title, e.g., President Jefferson)
In the Data Hunt activity, students multiply with fractions in order to answer these questons.
  1. Suppose the House and the Senate have already approved an amendment to the Constitution. How many states would it take to approve the amendment? 3/4 x 50 = 37 1/2, or 38 states
  2. Whenever there is a senatorial election, how many Senate seats are up for election? (Hint: This one is a little tricky!) 1/3 x 100 = 33 1/3

    (In order to round the mixed number, in two of every three senatorial elections, 33 senators are chosen; in the third election, 34 senators are chosen.)

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 5