» Mr. Olson's Web Page

223-3120 ext. 701


AP U.S. Government & Politics
Government & Citizenship A1, A2, A4, B1, B4

I grew up on a ranch in the town of Salmon, Idaho. My Dad worked hard, taking care of our ranch and working at the local sawmill. My mom was a stay at home mom and also worked hard on the ranch.

I went to Ricks College and then onto BYU where I graduated with a B.A. in history and policitcal science with a minor in philosophy. My first teaching assignment was at Orem High School and then I moved on to Timpanogos when the school opened. Currently I live in Santaquin with my beautiful wife (Sandy) and three kids (Hailey, Taylor, and Cayden).

I love all kinds of activities including four-wheeling, wave runners, and street bikes. Timpanogos is great school and a great place to teach. I always look forward to helping students learn about government.




One of the greatest things about being a teacher is that I get to spend time studying, discussing, learning things that I am highly interested in. I hope this enthusiasm carries over to my classes. My sincere desire is that students coming out of my classroom with not only have a sound knowledge of the subject, but that they become life-long learners and, ultimately, great people.



AP Government News Resources (Click)


» Debate Resources: TBA

AP College Board Resources

» AP College Board US Government & Politics Web site
» US Government Course Description (2010)

Due: TBA

AP Government Simulation - Mock Congress
» Bill format (download as a Word Document)

Unit 1, The Foundations of Government

Exam Date: 9/8/14

Reading Assignment:

» Ch. 3 Fast Track to a 5

» Unit No. 1 Study Guide
» Enduring Questions of Democracy

PowerPoints: (be sure to view the notes section below each slide)
» Targets 1-2: The Study of Government
» Targets 3-4: Who Governs?
» Target 5: To What Ends?

Online Resources:
» Poll: Top threats to the U.S.
» How direct should democracy be? (CSM)
» The Decline of Marriage, James Q. Wilson
» Interview with James Q. Wilson (PBS)

» Internet is easy prey for governments (CNN)

Unit 2, The Constitution

Exam Date:
Tuesday, Sept 30

Wilson Chapter 2, Fast Track to a 5 Chapter 1

» Study Guide (PDF)
» Checks & Balances Assignment(PDF)

» Checks & Balances Practice (PowerPoint)
» Amendment Process (PDF)
» FRQ Practice

Federalist No. 10, graphic organizer:

Create a graphic organizer to outline the argument in Federalist No. 10. This can be done by hand, if done neatly.
Due date: TBA

Federalist No. 51, annotation
Due date =

» The Constitution
» Checks & Balances


» Republicans Pass Repeal of Obama Care (Huffington Post - December 2015) - Great example of Checks and Balances
» Cult of the Constitution (Time)
» Parties must find Common Ground (CNN Opinion)
A Flexible Document (CNN)
» One document under siege (Time)
» The public view of the Constitution (Time)
» Federalist No. 10
» Federalist No. 51

» What are High Crimes and Misdemeanors (Time)

Rex E. Lee Speech on the Constitution (Audio)
» Rex E. Lee, Print Version (PDF)
Ratification Process
» Ratification of the Constitution
» Impeachment of President Clinton (NPR)
» Justice Scalia on original ism (C-Span)

(Starting Sept. 30)

Exam Date: TBA

Fast Track Ch. 2, Wison Ch 3

» Constitutional Basics (In class)
Reading Guide - Wilson Text (PDF)
» Study Guide (PDF)

» Federalism
» Target 3.2 Constitutional Basics of Federalism (Graphic Organizer)

(These are to be printed off and used in conjunction with the reading packet handed out in class)
» Federalism, US v. The States (Annenberg) Watch Video
» Land mark cases: U.S. v Lopez
» Revolution of Devolution
» Court strikes down key provision (U.S. v. Morrison)

Debate Resources:
» Pelosi's official arguments for the constitutionality of mandated insurance
» Pelosi Asked about the constitutionality of health care, CNSNews article

» How well do you know the Constitution? (NPR)

» Gonzalez v. Raich (listen to the audio oral arguments, Petitioners = 0:00-26:17 / Respondents = 26:18-56:00)

Unit 4, Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
(Starting Oct. 22)

Exam Date: TBA

Chapter 5
(please note that we will return to ch. 4 in a latter unit)
» Bloc 1 p. 99-110.................Due: TBA
» Bloc 2 p. 110-121...............Due: TBA

Chapter 6
» Bloc 1 p. 125-139.................Due: TBA
» Bloc 2 p. 139-151.................Due: TBA

» Chapter 5 Reading Guide (PDF)
» Chapter 6 Reading Guide (PDF)l
» Study Guide (PDF)

» Civil Liberties
» Civil Rights

» Politics of the Civil Rights Act (NPR)
» Top Secret America after 911
Your bill of rights

» Full Speed Ahead (Newsweek)

» Oyez.org (Summaries of Supreme Court Cases. Multimedia resources as well.)
» Landmark Cases (StreeLaw)
The Supreme Court, Landmark cases (PBS)
» WikiLeaks releases classified documents (Democracy Now)
» Civil Rights Act 64 (CongressLink)
» NYPD Intelligence pushing the Limits (NPR)

» Your bill of rights (Time)

Inside the FISA Court rulings (NPR)

Unit 5, Political Culture, Public Opinion & Ideology
(Starting Nov. 18)

Exam Date: TBA


Fast Track - Chapter 4 - 5
Wilson - Ch 4 & 7


» Unit Study Guide

» Political Culture, Targets 5.1 - 5.6
» Public Opinion & Ideology, Targets 5.7 - 5.10
» Political Culture Charts & Graphs
» Public Opinion Charts & Graphs
» Political Ideology Issues Grid

5.7 IN - DEPTH (Study Guide):

Complete this In depth Assignment from the Unit Study Guide, by using CNN Exit Polls
» 2012 Presidential Exit Polls (CNN) - Once at the site, click on the "Exit Poll" tab
» 2014 Mid term exit polls (CNN) - Once at the web site, scroll down below the map, then choose the "Exit Poll" tab
» 2016 Presidential Exit polls (CNN)

Example: View of Federal Health Law (Obamacare) – 2014 exit polls
"Conservatives are much more likely to oppose Obamacare at 84%, whereas liberals are much more likely to favor at 74%." In your answer, use the phrases “more likely” & “less likely” to record the trend. 

Other Polls to look at (Note that some categories are not included) :
» 2012 Exit Polls (Wash. Post) Compares 2012 & 2008 Elections
» 2012 Exit Polls (NY Times)

In Depth Look at how Polls work
How do Exit polls  Work? (Vox)

» Extremism of the Republican Party (NPR)
» Republic Lost (Diane Rehm)
Arguments over cultural diversity (Diane Rehm)

» Spiritual Warfare (NPR)

» Religion & Politics (NPR)
» American Theocracy (NY Times)
» Religion and the 2010 Election (Brookings Institute)
» World's smallest political quiz
» Political Compass
» Go to Quiz
» Applebee's America (NPR story ... listen to the audio)
» Fall of Conservatism (New Yorker Mag.)
» Decline of American Conservatism
» Right Wing Watch

»Charting Public Opinion

Unit 6: Political Participation, Political Parties, & Elections
(Starting Dec. 2)

Exam Date: TBA


» Unit Study Guide (Participation, Parties, & Elections)
» Election Timeline
» The Two Party System (handout)
» US compared to Europe (handout)

» Political Parties - PowerPoint (download)
» Election Timeline Part 1- ScreenCast (Watch)

» Election Timeline Part 2- ScreenCast (Watch)

Online Resources:
» Why the Poor still dont vote (CNN Money, April 2016)
» Tea Party Decline for 2014 (NBC)
» Blacks turn out in 2012 (NPR)
» Higher Voter Turnout, but for whom? (CSM)
» Voter turnout for 2008 (U.S. Census Bureau)
» Rise in Independent Voters (NPR)

Why third parties fail (CNN)
» Voters are White and Dying off (CNN)
Why third parties fail (CNN)

» What's Wrong with Politics (CNN - Gergen)
» Pick a president (America Elects)

» Obama fights for the Middle Class (NPR)


Unit 7: Congress
(Starting Dec. )

Discussion Board:
Edmodo.com, Code =

» Study Guide
» How a bill becomes Law

» 7.1 - 7.6 Basics of Congress
» 7.7 Organization of Congress
» 7.8 Politics of Lawmaking

» Don't Ask Don't Tell (U.S. News)
» Homeland Security Whodunit (Wash. Post)
» Senate Partisanship (Wash. Post)

» Republicans have no reason to deal (Politico)
» Army says no, but Congress insists
Reforming Congress (CNN)
» Senate Tea Party Holds 1st Caucus
The American Filibuster (NPR)
» Wave of Job swaps in new congress (NPR)

» Pelosi power move (The Hill)
» Midterm Elections and redistricting (NPR)
» Texas Redistrictiong Constroversy (NPR)
» Conflict is a feature of democracy (CNN)

Unit 8: The Presidency

Exam Date: TBA

Herzog Ch. 11, Outside Readings if assigned

Assignments / Handouts:

» Study Guide
» Constitutional Powers
» Organization of the Executive Branch
» EOP - Fact sheet
» Electoral College - Fact Sheet

Multimedia / PowerPoints:
» 8.1-8.3 Presidential Power, Constitutional Design

» 8.4 Constitutional Duties & Powers
» 8.5 Organization
» 8.6-7 Perception, Character, Crises


» Obama's War Presidency
(Daily Beast)

Obama mirrors Bush on national security (NY Times)
» Presidential Greatness (CNN)
Shift in executive power
Rules for the 21st century Presidency (CNN)
» Presidents & Economies (NPR)
» Uneasy Allies in War (CSM)
Impeachment of President Clinton
» Obama Presidency debate (CNN's Arena)
» Obama Budget (CNN Feb 2012)


» Case Study (PDF)
» Click here for Cheney's Law

Unit 9: The Bureaucracy
(Starting March 6)

Exam Date: TBA


» Study Guide
» Reading Analysis
» Democracracy In America - The Bureaucracy (Video)

The Bureaucracy
(be sure to study the notes at the bottom of each slide)

NASA's Missed Opportunity (CNN Opinion - Newt Gingrich)
» SEC, Outgunned, on a roll (NPR)
EPA Orders Utah to cut Haze in parks (AP)
» The Wolf Debate (PBS, see video)
Hunting the Wolf (NPR)
See a good example of whistle blowing controversy at the CIA. Click Here for Spytalk Article.

» Original Article from Ilana Greenstein

Projects: TBA


Unit 10: The Supreme Court

Exam Date: TBA

Herzog Ch 13

» Study Guide
Democracracy In America - The Courts (Video)

» The Supreme Court

» Court's non decision helps gay marriage (CNN Oct 2014)
» 21 Landmark Court Rulings (Political - Photo Gallery)
» Who's on the Supreme Court (Politico)
» Supreme Court Cases the Changed America (CNN Article)
» Supreme Court Cases that changed the World (CNN Slides)
» Example of Class action Lawsuit (LCD Monitors)
» Supreme Court & Politics

» Court's reputation at Risk (CNN)
» Health Care Mandate Before the Court
Supreme Power of U.S. Justices

» Next President May Pick Supreme Court (CNN)
» How the Supreme Court Works
» Justice Scalia on original ism (C-Span)
» The Supreme Court (PBS)
» Potentially explosive 2011-2012 term


Unit 11-12: Interest Groups & the Media
(Starting April 7)

Exam Date:TBA

Reading: TBA


» Ch. 11 Interest Group Summary
Ch. 12 The Media Summary
» Interest Groups Worksheet
» The Media Worksheet
» Democracy in America - Interest Groups (Video)
Democracy in America - The Media (Video)

» Open Secrets, Academic Glossary
» Rising power of SuperPAC's (CBS News)
Money demonized in US Poltics
(NY Times)
Lobbyists gone wild (ABC News)
» The Money Trail (The Blotter)
» Atacking Super PAC's (NPR)
» Secret Donors multiply (Bloomberg)

» State interest group files lawsuit
» Opposing Viewpoints (NPR, Jan 2010)
» A Century of Campaign Finance (NPR Timeline)
A History of Campaign Finance

» A Brief History of Campaign Finance (WYNC)
» The Billionaire's Party (New Yorker Mag.)
» Follow the money, Koch bros v. G. Soras (Open Secrets)
» Tracking the Money (Nov. 1 2010, NPR)
» Democratic shadow groups (CNN Video)
» Karl Rove sets up Shadow Republican party (NY Times)

Unit 13: Elections & Campaign Finance (Starting April 21)

Campaign Finance Research (There are many sources that will help you define the terms on the handout. Use goggle or other search engines. Also, open secrets.org is good place to get info about campaign finance)

GOP Super PAC at a Crossroads (Politico)
TeaParty PAC's (Washington Post)
» Citizens United Critics (NPR)
» 2012 Election could reach $ 6 billion
Extremeism of the Republican Party (NPR)
» Issue Ad against Big Oil (Wash Post)
» Democrats push for transparency (Wash. Post)
» Campaign donations during Watergate (NPR)

» The Danger of Super Pacs (CNN)
» Who's Backing the Candidates? (CNN)
» Super Pacs dominating politics (CNN Video)

Unit 14: Budgets & Economic Policy

» Tax policy and Ineqaulity (NPR)
» Keynes' Consuming Ideas (NPR)
Taxing the Rich (NY Times)

» Stop Coddling the Rich (NY Times Magazine)
» After America (New Yorker Mag)
» What is a bitcoin? (NPR)
» Medicare & Medicaid must be changed (NPR)


Unit : Year End Review

Exam Date: NA

Required Readings:
» No incentive to Compromise (Politico
» Why Presidential Leadership wont end Gridlock (Vox Story and Video, April 2014
» Senate GOP Blocks Minimum Wage Bill (CNN story and video, May 2014)
» Unmarried Female Voters (NPR May 2014)

Year End Terminology Rvw (PDF)

Resources - Practice Tests:
» 2009 AP Released Exam Key & Breakdown

» 2002 AP Released Exam Key
» 2002 AP Released Exam Breakdown 1
» 2002 AP Released Exam Breakdown 2

» 1989 AP Released Exam Key

» 1999 AP Released Exam Key



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