Students learn what factors members of Congress consider when deciding whether to vote for a bill. These include the powers given to Congress by the Constitution, members’ personal opinions, political party support, and what voters think. During the first day of the lesson, students find out about each of these factors. During the second day, students get to try their hand at weighing the factors by considering hypothetical bills. (If you’re short on time, it’s OK to teach just the first day’s lesson.)

Note: this lesson includes a PowerPoint presentation (see Lesson Prep below), but there is a paper-only option that can be used as an alternative.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to…

  • Identify the constitutional powers of Congress.
  • Describe the factors members of Congress weigh when voting on bills.
  • Demonstrate how members of Congress weigh factors by voting on hypothetical bills.
  • Evaluate information in order to apply each factor to real-life issues in the hypothetical bills.
  • Weigh the importance of the factors by deciding whether to vote “yea” or “nay” on each bill.