Video Session: Use an appropriate taped CT-N session
of the Connecticut House of Representatives or Senate discussing a bill
with clearly defined party arguments. Check our
Hot Topics page for ideas.
Common Core State Standards:
R3: Identify key steps
in a text’s description of a process related to history/social studies
(e.g., how a bill becomes a law, how interest rates are raised or
R7: Integrate visual information (e.g. in charts, graphs,
photographs, videos or maps) with other information in print and digital
Content: Students learn about the
three branches of government and find out how the three
branches interact with each another. Students will role-play each
branch’s responsibility in the law-making process.
Additional Materials Needed:
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES (SEARCH SITES)
Class Time: Three class periods.
Objectives: Students will: model the roles of each of the three branches
of government, identify the main role and function of each of the three
branches, read and understand a bill and explain how it became a law.
- Prior to class, students should engage in learning activities
where they identify the roles and responsibilities of each branch of
government and also understand the system of checks and balances.
- (Day One) For homework the night before the lesson, students
should read the poster/handout “How a Bill Becomes a Law” and bring
it with them to class. Begin the class the next day by reviewing the
process of how a bill becomes a law.
- Divide the class into three groups and assign each group a
branch of government. Have students briefly review their roles and
responsibilities as a branch.
- Introduce topic of your choice to class by showing a selected
clip of legislative debate. Have the class take notes on what
is happening and being discussed during the debate.
- After viewing the debates, initiate a discussion about the
topic. Discuss the arguments for and against this bill becoming a
- (Day Two) In a computer lab, have students log on to
http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php. Instruct students to
research the topic they viewed in class the day before and find a
comparable bill. Students should refer to the CRS Summary in order
to get the general idea of the particular bill. Students should
print this summary and return to their branch of government group.
- In their branch of government groups, student should select one
bill they will focus on (each student will bring back a bill, they
should only choose one). Using the bill, students will create a
poster explaining how their branch of government will deal with this
bill in the process of it becoming a law.
- (Day Three) In their branch of government groups, students in
each group will explain the bill that they chose and use their
poster to explain how their branch of government would deal with
this bill in the process of it becoming a law. They will cite
specific roles and responsibilities of their branch of government in
Teacher Note: If time is available, students
can choose to present their information in a different format besides a
poster, i.e. Prezi, Glogster, PowerPoint, etc.
Debrief/Closure: Bring the class together as a whole and
discuss the following key issues/ questions:
- Based on the research and work you have completed, is one branch
more powerful than any other?
- Why is it important to have a system of checks and balances?
- Why can the law-making process take such a long time?
If you have any comments or suggestions about this activity
or would like to submit your own activity, please
contact me and share your ideas.