U.S. Government, Civics, U.S. History
This lesson will provide students with an opportunity to research a particular senator and write a bill. They also will select party leaders and learn to strategize in a party caucus. Students will work in a committee, practice reciprocity, and conduct mark-up negotiations. They will learn the basics of parliamentary procedure and special Senate rules. Legislative lingo will also be introduced. Students will participate in a mock Senate activity where they will assume the identity of their researched senator and use persuasive skills to pass their bill. They will also formally oppose one bill during floor debate. Finally, they will participate in one filibuster, invoke cloture, and attempt a discharge petition.
Step 1: Students will select and research a senator of their choice.
Step 2:Students will create a senator nametag with a photo that will be on their desks for all sessions.
Step 3: Students should complete a report about their particular senator using the Senator Report as a guide.
Step 4: Students will select an area of interest or topic as the first step in writing their bill.
Step 5: Students will pick one problem or issue from their general area of interest on which they want their legislation to focus.
Step 6: Students will use the checklist listed on the Writing the Bill handout to see if their issue qualifies.
Step 7: Students will evaluate their issue and decide if the problem really exists. They should consider possible solutions to achieve their goal.
Step 8: Students will determine the type of legislation and begin drafting their bill using the guidelines provided on the Writing the Bill handout. All bills will be titled, numbered, and published in an official docket. Marked-up dockets will be turned in at the end of the session.
Step 9: Students will follow the rules of parliamentary procedure and special Senate rules. They will study and learn the legislative lingo.
Step 10: Student will assume the identity of their researched senator while participating in a mock Senate activity and use persuasive skills to pass their bill. They will draft and deliver a formal sponsoring speech.
Step 11: Students will formally oppose one bill during floor debate. They will draft and deliver a formal opposition speech.
Students will be evaluated in the following areas:
Senator name tag with photo.
Ability to follow the rules of the senate and parliamentary procedure and how well they use the legislative lingo.
Formal sponsoring speech (written and delivered)
Formal opposition speech (written and delivered)
Daily participation (& subsequent speeches)
The Almanac of American Politics (registration required)
Senator Report handout
Writing the Bill handout
Dana Hills High School
Dana Point, California