Resources to help teach about Congress, including lesson plans, WebQuests, links to related Web sites, Bloom’s taxonomy, and a glossary and historical notes linked to other site features.
Lesson Plans on CongressLink
Lesson Plans on the Web
Web Sites about Congress
Student Assessment Rubric
Communicator [A Web-based newsletter providing educators with news and ideas to improve the understanding of Congress.]
Editorial Cartoon Project
Civil Rights Documentation Project
The 1960s: A Multi-Media View of Capitol Hill
The Voices of Your Classroom are the Voices of Our Future
"It is essential that we provide children with an environment conducive to the learning about, practicing of, and valuing of good citizenship and responsible involvement in national life," Everett Dirksen wrote in The Instructor (March 1967) reproduced here.
What Do Students See When They Look at Congress?
This video reports on a research project completed by Jeffrey L. Bernstein, Department of Political Science, Eastern Michigan University, using a think-aloud methodology to explore what students see when they look at Congress. In the think-aloud, students are presented with a series of articles or videos about a particular issue (in this case, the Employee Free Choice Act of 2007) and about a particular legislative procedure (the filibuster). Students read source material and “think aloud” as they do so; enabling thoughts to be seen as they develop (rather than after they fully form, such as would be the case if a formal written paper is read). Bernstein’s research revealed the importance of understanding (1) the tension between majority rule and majority rights and (2) the essentially conflictual nature of legislative activity. When students have a low comfort level with these ideas, their ability to understand the work of the legislative branch suffers dramatically. This lecture concludes by discussing how Bernstein’s findings can inform our practice inside the classroom.
Every Student Should Know about Congress
Suppose you had fifteen minutes to describe the ten most important features of the U.S. Congress - could you do it? What would appear on your list? Judging by most opinion polls and survey results, few Americans could pull it off. So The Dirksen Congressional Center asked leading American political scientist Charles O. Jones to identify the ten most important points that a high school student should know about Congress.
High School Government Teachers Should Know about Congressional Elections
Political scientist Jeff Bernstein explains why incumbents win re-election at such an astounding rate and offers suggestions about how to teach the subject to high school and college students.
I Wish Political Scientists Would Teach about Congress
Lee Hamilton, former member of the House of Representatives and director of the Woodrow Wilson Center, explains ten lessons every political scientist should teach his or her students about Congress.
Congress: The Role of the Media
Stephanie Larson, political scientist specializing in media coverage of politics, presents a brief overview of reporting on Congress. She explains why a teacher might tackle the subject, suggests how to approach the teaching of this information, and summarizes recent scholarship on the role of media in covering Congress. The selection includes a bibliography of major books on Congress and the media, 1980-2005.
The Ten Most Important Things to Know About the U.S. Senate
Among the myriad topics related to understanding the U.S. Senate, Betty K. Koed, Associate Historian, United States Senate Historical Office, offers her version of the ten most important facts or observations about the "upper house." Serving as the Senate's institutional memory, the Historical Office collects and provides information on important events, precendents, dates, statistics, and historical comparisons of current and past Senate activities.
Ray Smock, the director of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies at Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, WV, served as Historian of the U. S. House of Representatives, 1983-95. His list identifies the distinguishing characteristics of the House.