This collection has lesson plans, multimedia links, teacher's guides, supplementary materials, assessment ideas, and much more. The topics covered include an introduction to Congress, the structure and jobs of Congress, congressional representation, gerrymandering, and how a bill becomes a law. Teachers can pick and choose resources based on instructional goals and needs of the student population.

 
Suggested Unit Plan:
 
Recommended Enrichment Lessons to Support Core Content:
 
Recommended Lessons to Support English Language Development students and/or students with disabilities:
 
Recommended Resources for Flipped or Online Classes:
 
Beyond the above recommended lessons, there are additional videos to support the core content and resources that provide a more in-depth look at issues related to the legislative branch. 



 

Collection Contents

Congress and the Consititution

by Bill of Rights Institute EDUCATING INDIVIDUALS about THE CONSTITUTION

The First Branch: Congress and the Constitution guides students on a tour of the legislative branch of the government of the United States. Through primary source analysis and engaging activities, students will examine the purpose of a legislature, the design of the U.S Congress, its powers, its history and the reality of how Congress works today. This curriculum also includes an interactive model Congress project that puts students in the seats of legislators, helping them better appreciate the real challenge of making a bill become a law.
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Congress in the 20th and 21st Centuries

by Bill of Rights Institute EDUCATING INDIVIDUALS about THE CONSTITUTION

Following the Civil War, the United States would established itself as a world economic power. The promises of freedom and opportunity offered by the United States would attarct many immigrants to the country. These demographic and economic changes created social pressure which lead progressive reformers to advocate for changes to government. During this period, Congress would passed various reform laws, including Constitutional amendments which would fundamentally alter the functioning of Congress. Additonally, Congressional rules would change in such a way that would change the internal working of Congress. This lesson examns this period of congressional history and the impact of these reforms on the legislative process.
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Students learn the concepts of representation, separation of powers, and the constitutional role of Congress by assembling a visual model depicting 20 congressional actions, analyzing primary sources, and answering questions. These activities support a discussion about Congress\'s constitutional role.
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Structure of Congress

by Jenny Sitkin

A lesson plan that examines the structure of Congress and the legislative process.
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A video about the legislative branch.
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The Constitutional Powers of Congress

by Bill of Rights Institute EDUCATING INDIVIDUALS about THE CONSTITUTION

In the early republic, Congress was a colorful, exciting, unpredictable, and contentious branch of the United States government. The members constantly quarreled but often deliberated and compromised through persuasive oratory and rational conversation. Congress was divided by party and sectionalism, but was guided through these difficulties by legislative statesmen. The Congress continued to function as the undisputed law making body of the people of the United States. Even during some of its most tumultuous years, from 1789 until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1860, the Congress effectively governed the nation.
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A link to the Interactive Constitution that allows users to explore Article I of the U.S. Constitution to learn more about the legislative branch.
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Students will analyze documents created by Congress to identify steps in the legislative process.
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A short lesson plan that uses political cartoons to examine the legislative process.
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All Legislative Powers Herein Granted

by Bill of Rights Institute EDUCATING INDIVIDUALS about THE CONSTITUTION

This lesson provides the scaffolding for you to conduct a simulation of the United States House of Representatives with your class! They will draft and advocate for legislation, work in committees, and carry out duties of legislative officers, and consider and vote on legislation. Through this experience they will gain a better understanding of how the House of Representatives functions and better appreciate the challenges faced by legislators.
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Engaging Congress

by Jenny Sitkin

An interactive game that uses primary source documents to explore the basic tenets of representative government and the challenges they face in contemporary society.
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The Commerce Clause and the Expanding Powers of Congress

by Bill of Rights Institute EDUCATING INDIVIDUALS about THE CONSTITUTION

After the Civil War, Congress grew increasingly assertive and also became more concerned with how it organized itself as a legislative body. This period was marked by clashes over the powers of party bosses, the proper role of Speakers of the House, and the influence committees and committee chairs over the progress of legislation.
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The Redistricting Game

by Jenny Sitkin

The Redistricting Game is designed to educate, engage, and empower citizens around the issue of political redistricting.
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Congress in the Modern Era

by Bill of Rights Institute EDUCATING INDIVIDUALS about THE CONSTITUTION

Congress was designed to be a slow and deliberative body with the intention that it provide stability and place the public interest at the center of its decisions. Over time, however, Congress has changed and become a less deliberative body, focusing more on individual members' interests rather than the interests of the nation as a whole.
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A lesson plan that examines the basics behind the bicameral legislature.
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Students will learn about the dynamic process of federal lawmaking and how it relates to them.
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A series of videos from congress.gov that explain the legislative process.
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A twenty-minute video that provides students with a real example of the process and challenges of how federal laws are made.
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A four-minute video overview of the legislative branch.
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Covers the Legislative Branch of US Government. Teacher created video.
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Congress

by Jenny Sitkin

A comprehensive unit on the legislative branch from the Georgia Virtual Learning program.
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