The Legislative Branch

Students will learn about the structure, function, and powers of the legislative branch of government. They will explore the legislative process, as well as the influence of citizens and political parties.

Check out this quick video about the Legislative Branch on YouTube!  http://youtu.be/mfEwakoSJ68


Branches of Power
Play Time: 30+ mins
See the bigger picture and control all three branches of government!

Mini-lesson: Filibusters (HS)

This Media Moment Mini-Lesson first teaches students about filibusters and how and why senators use them. Next, students take a look at how news coverage of a filibuster can be transformed through neutral, positive, or negative framing. In the closing news literacy activity, students are challenged to identify framing in news stories of their choice.


Voting In Congress

How do members of Congress decide whether to vote yea or nay on a bill? In this lesson, students learn what factors members of Congress consider when deciding whether to vote for a bill, including the powers given to Congress by the Constitution, what a member's constituents want, his or her political party's position, and the member's personal views. Students simulate the decision making process using hypothetical bills based on real-life issues.


LawCraft Extension Pack

Make your students’ game play more meaningful by using our activity and assessment set designed specifically for LawCraft. This easy-to-use Extension Pack helps you give context and purpose to the game, as well as reinforce and assess the game concepts. That means deeper learning for students, and best practices around game-centered learning for you!  

Extension Packs require PowerPoint and are designed for use with projectors or interactive whiteboards. 


LawCraft
Play Time: 15-30 mins
Choose a state to represent and jump into the law making process of Congress.

Congress in a Flash!

Need to teach the legislative branch in a hurry? This lesson is designed to cover the basics in a single class period. Students learn what Congress is, what the Constitution says about the legislative branch, and how a bill becomes law. They analyze some actual language from the Constitution, compare the House and the Senate, and simulate the lawmaking process by reconciling two versions of the same fictional bill.

Got a 1:1 classroom? Download fillable PDF versions of this lesson's materials below!


Making Laws

Do you ever wish you could make the rules? Well, there are people whose job it is to make the rules for this country. These rules are called laws, and the people who make them are members of Congress. In this WebQuest, you'll get an introduction to your members of Congress and what they do. Maybe someday this will be you! 


Mini-lesson: Midterm Elections (HS)

Students will learn about midterm elections, their role as a referendum on the presidency, and how a shift in party control impacts the legislative and executive branches. Page two of this Media Moment Mini-lesson covers horse race journalism, common during election season, and the limitations of this type of coverage. In the activity, students consider an article about a West Virginia Senate primary candidate and practice distinguishing substantive information about a candidate from horse race coverage.


Who Represents Me?

Do you know who represents you in the federal, state and local government?  Do you know how to get in touch with them?

This WebQuest will help you find the people who represent YOU in government. Use the Who Represents Me? Contact Sheet to write down all the deets about how to tell your government officials what's on your mind. Keep the contact sheet handy -- it will help you be an informed and active citizen! 


Branches of Power
Play Time: 30+ mins
See the bigger picture and control all three branches of government!

Mini-lesson: The Incumbent Advantage (HS)

Students will learn about the electoral advantage that favors incumbents and the benefits and drawbacks of reelecting members of Congress. On page two of this Media Moment Mini-lesson, students will learn what distinguishes an opinion piece, op-ed, or commentary from traditional news. Students then practice identifying opinion and news headlines.


Represent Me!
Play Time: 0-15 mins
Balance the diverse needs of your constituents as you plan bills to sponsor in Congress.

Mini-lesson: Congressional Committees (HS)

Students discover the different types of congressional committees and their responsibilities in this Media Moment Mini-lesson. Students are introduced to the concept of bias and the tools reporters use to strive for balance.  In the closing activity, students put their news literacy skills to work by evaluating an article of choice for the inclusion of varied and balanced perspectives.  


Why Do We Have A House And Senate, Anyway?

Students learn why there are two houses of Congress and discover how a bicameral legislature ensures that all states have a voice in bills. Together, the class creates a school cell phone policy and experiments with different voting groups that demonstrate why the bicameral compromise was necessary. Students also examine how things might be different today if there were just a House or a Senate. 


LawCraft Extension Pack

Make your students’ game play more meaningful by using our activity and assessment set designed specifically for LawCraft. This easy-to-use Extension Pack helps you give context and purpose to the game, as well as reinforce and assess the game concepts. That means deeper learning for students, and best practices around game-centered learning for you!  

Extension Packs require PowerPoint and are designed for use with projectors or interactive whiteboards. 


LawCraft
Play Time: 15-30 mins
Choose a state to represent and jump into the law making process of Congress.

Who Represents Me?

Do you know who represents you in the federal, state and local government?  Do you know how to get in touch with them?

This WebQuest will help you find the people who represent YOU in government. Use the Who Represents Me? Contact Sheet to write down all the deets about how to tell your government officials what's on your mind. Keep the contact sheet handy -- it will help you be an informed and active citizen! 


Making Laws

Do you ever wish you could make the rules? Well, there are people whose job it is to make the rules for this country. These rules are called laws, and the people who make them are members of Congress. In this WebQuest, you'll get an introduction to your members of Congress and what they do. Maybe someday this will be you! 


Mini-lesson: Gerrymandering (HS)

In this Media Moment Mini-lesson, students have the opportunity to try their hand at a simplified districting exercise and learn about the common gerrymandering practices of packing and cracking districts. Students then explore the media’s traditional roles as gatekeeper, agenda setter, and watchdog. By summarizing topline stories from a newspaper, news website, or television news broadcast, students evaluate if a news organization appears to be keeping watch or setting an agenda.


Represent Me!
Play Time: 0-15 mins
Balance the diverse needs of your constituents as you plan bills to sponsor in Congress.