Government Assistance Programs

Grades: 
6, 7, 8

Students will learn about federal social service programs over time and SNAP, the food assistance program.

Lesson Rating 
0
Duration 
Print2 hours
Objectives 

Students will:

  • summarize basic timeline of social services and nutrition assistance programs.
  • examine cases of real people impacted by welfare assistance and reform.
Materials 
  • "US Welfare System." US Welfare System - Help for US Citizens. N.p., n.d. Web. (http://www.welfareinfo.org/)
  • "Food Benefits Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed)." Government of Oregon, n.d. Web. (http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-education-snap-ed)
Vocabulary 
  • social services
  • food assistance programs (SNAP)
  • Welfare Reform of 1996
  • Affordable Care Act of 2013
Reflection 

After researching Social Programs in the U.S. students reflect in journals on the following questions:

  1. What does the term ‘social services’ mean?
  2. Who gets government aid?
  3. Does full time employment at the minimum wage guarantee that families won’t go hungry?
Bibliography 
  • "US Welfare System." US Welfare System - Help for US Citizens. N.p., n.d. Web.
  • "Food Benefits Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed)." Government of Oregon, n.d. Web.
  • "Social Programs in the United States." Wikipedia. Web. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_programs_in_the_United_States

Instructions

Print
  1. Define the word ‘social services" as a set of government programs designed to help people feed, care for, and house their families. Tell the students that they will read about its history and goals. Students may have positive and negative reactions to the concept of "welfare," which you may address directly with a discussion and a request they keep an open mind to read the facts and decide its benefits and inefficiencies for themselves.

  2. Students examine various articles that review the government aid programs, especially related to food and hunger. Then as a group ask them to summarize the major changes in the social services system over time. Write a summary on a timeline as a class. Wikipedia has a thorough chart with this history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_programs_in_the_United_States

  3. Assign students different articles to read about welfare reform (1996) and its impact. Ask them to list one benefit and one liability of the reform. Discuss their findings as a whole class.

Assessment 

Students are able to summarize the changes in social services and also answer the reflection questions.