Unit and lesson plans prepared by teachers using CongressLink resources and features.
Compromise of 1850
This lesson employs the Compromise of 1850 to illustrate the process of compromise in the U.S. Congress. The Compromise was a series of five legislative enactments, passed by Congress during August and September 1850, designed to reconcile the differences then dividing the antislavery and proslavery factions of Congress and the nation.
Constitutional Convention: The Great Compromise
Students will be able to explain and compare the Virginia Plan, the New Jersey Plan, and the Great Compromise. Students will be able to describe the perspectives of both the smaller and larger states by reflecting on the activity in a journal entry.
Great Compromise: A House Divided
In this lesson, students create their own solution to the problem of representation at the Constitutional Convention and read primary sources to gain different perspectives on the compromise that was actually reached. The lesson concludes with students creating a cartoon depiction of the final compromise.
Obituary as Historical Evidence
Students will understand the purposes of a eulogy and an obituary and the differences between them, identify the essential elements of both, determine which is the more authentic historical record, and be able to associate an individual's life with important historical events. This lesson is based on the eulogy and obituary for Everett Dirksen.
of the Senate: Creating a Timeline of the Senate's History
In this lesson, students select facts and milestones of the Senate to create a timeline of the Senate's history. Students make judgments about which single event would be most important to know.
a Bill Becomes Law: The Civil Rights Act of 1964
How a Bill Becomes a Law: The Case of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a student guide through the legislative process. The general purpose of this unit is to demonstrate to students the step-by-step procedure of a bill becoming a law using the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a case study. Students will understand how Congress makes laws and the role of congressional committees in this process. This will help them understand key concepts associated with the legislative process such as filibuster, cloture, bipartisan, petition, and lobbying. Additionally, they will also see how controversial social issues, such as civil rights, greatly affect the process.
Civil Rights Documentation Project
The Civil Rights Documentation Project provides a fuller accounting of law-making based on the unique archival resources housed at The Dirksen Congressional Center, including the collection of then-Senate Minority Leader Everett McKinley Dirksen (R-IL), widely credited with securing the passage of the bills. The project takes the form of an interactive presentation with links to digitized historical materials and other Internet-based resources about civil rights legislation created by museums, historical societies, and government agencies. We hope to provide resources teachers can use to create lesson plans and materials to supplement their teaching of the legislative process, of recent American history, and of the civil rights movement, among other social studies topics.
the Roman Republic
In this lesson, students learn about the influences of the Roman Republic on our government today. Students create an advertisement persuading people that representative government is the best form of government.
of Congress in Formulating Policy
In the modern world, most people associate the policies that the United States pursues with the President and forget that Congress plays a major role in how those policies are formulated and carried out. Historically, there have been times when Congress has played a very strong role vis-à-vis the Executive Branch, and at other times, it has been willing to let the President carry the ball. In both situations, there have always been strong members of Congress who felt they had a constitutional duty to do more than 'rubber stamp' or just sit by idly. This may mean that they proposed legislation, tried to significantly change proposed or already enacted legislation, or in some cases, fought to prevent passage. Whatever their approach, they were instrumental in the formulation of foreign and domestic policy. In this lesson, students learn that Congress plays a major role in how policies are formulated and carried out.
After completing the lesson, students will (1) understand the controversy surrounding the passage of civil rights bills in the 1960s, (2) appreciate the arguments for and against civil rights legislation, and (3) experience what a debate in the Senate involves.