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Q46: Which is not a part of the executive branch? 

A. The President 
B. The Cabinet 
C. Federal departments and agencies 
D. The Chief Justice

Q47: What does the President’s Cabinet do? 

A. Appoints local police
B. Appoints federal judges 
C. Appoints replacement members of Congress 
D. Advises the President

Q48: What are two Cabinet-level positions? 

A. Attorney General and Secretary of State
B. Supreme Court Justice and Head of the CIA 
C. Lead Teacher and Official Service Person 
D. the Secret Service and the CIA

Question Background Information


Not only did the Founders think in terms of checks and balances of power, but they also thought in terms of support for those in power. How would one person manage being the President of the United States, with the many roles Article II gives the president? It was, they knew, simply asking too much from one human being.

But while the president is ultimately responsible for decisions made in the executive branch, the President has help in coordinating and managing it, especially from members of the Cabinet. The Vice President is a member of this advisory Cabinet, but most of its members are the heads of the various departments, and whose job titles are the “Secretary of (each Department).” Thus, the cabinet includes the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of the Treasury, as well as the Attorney General (who oversees the Department of Justice), among others.

The primary role of this high-ranking group of federal officers is to advise the President. Or, as Article II, Section I says, “The President... may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices.” In their capacity as “principal officer of each of the executive departments,” they oversee the federal agencies that help the president execute the law.

Today, the president’s Cabinet consists of 16 men and women: the vice president and 15 heads of federal departments. In addition to the department heads, there are other Cabinet rank advisors, such as the White House Chief of Staff, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of Office Management and Budget. But it wasn’t always quite so large a group. In the beginning, under President Washington, it was just the Secretaries of State, of War, and of the Treasury, the Attorney General, and the vice president.

Between the Constitution and the precedent that Washington set by working with his Cabinet, the executive branch has developed into one where it is the norm for the President to meet with and work with his Cabinet on a regular basis.

Additional Content

Offline Activity


The President’s Cabinet is an important part of the executive branch in that it provides significant support to the President on a regular basis. In this activity, students will have the chance to put their more creative side to work as they find images that represent the various branches of the President’s Cabinet for a collage.


  • A rubric is available if this is a graded activity. 
  • Make sure that you have the necessary materials: 8 x 14 paper (or larger), colored pencils/markers,  old magazines and newspapers, glue, etc.

Required files

The Teaching Materials for this exercise includes a rubric.

Teaching Materials.


  1. Divide the class into groups of 3-4 based on the students’ individual levels. Group A is the group that needs some extra support. Group B is the core group that has the core knowledge to complete the activity. Group C is the enrichment group that has mastered the material; Group C students are prepared to extend their knowledge. Each group should have at least one student from Group A, one from Group B, and one from Group C.
    • If students are in pairs rather than groups, divide them based on ability as well, pairing those who need support (Group A) with those who have core knowledge and/or have mastered the material (Groups B and C).
  2. Explain that the students will create a collage to illustrate the 16 offices of the President’s Cabinet. The images that they include in the collage will represent the functions of the various agencies.
  3. Provide the students with the necessary handouts and materials to create the collages.
    • The students should read the handout and familiarize themselves with the various agencies. They should then look for images (and words) that represent the various agencies. 
      • For example, the Dept. of Agriculture could be represented by farms or crops, but at the same time, it could also be represented by steak with a “USDA” stamp on it.
      • Encourage the students to be creative with the images, but to 
        also make sure that the connection between the images and the agencies are clear.
    • Tell the students to make sure that each agency is clearly represented at least once.
  4. Circulate throughout the room as the groups complete the collages to check for understanding.
  5. Upon completion, invite the groups to present their work to the class. You can use this as an opportunity to have a discussion on each agency’s role and responsibilities.
  6. You may also wish to have the students write a descriptive paragraph to accompany their collage.

Note:​ An alternative approach would be to have the students create a collage based on a single agency. To do this, divide the class into 16 groups or pairs (or allow some students to work independently) and assign each group a single agency. 

Discussion Prompts

Below are two discussion prompts that can be used by teachers in a classroom setting. 

  • The first discussion prompt will be one that is designed to support students that are not really understanding the content in a way that would help them to answer the test question.
  • The second discussion prompt will be one that is designed to further student understanding of the content by making real-world connections, including connections to current events, and historical events.


The executive branch has many parts: it is led by the president and includes the president’s cabinet and the executive agencies that help the president execute the laws of the United States. The President’s Cabinet is a collection of men and women who head various federal agencies and offices. They meet with the President on a regular basis, with the frequency being determined by the President and the needs of the nation. It is the job of Cabinet members to help the President make decisions relating to the needs of the nation. 

Prompt 1

Strong leaders know that they cannot do everything, nor could someone tasked with executing all the laws of the United States do it alone. Thus, we have the President’s Cabinet. But, just what does the President’s Cabinet do? What are two Cabinet-level positions and what role do their agencies play?

Prompt 2

We know that the Cabinet advises the President, but why do we need the Senate to approve them, considering they work for the president as part of the executive branch? How does Senate approval fit into the idea of checks and balances, and how do you think that this particular balance keeps the needs of the people in the forefront?