Subject: U.S. Government, Social Studies
Grade Level: 9-12
Introduction for Teachers
This WebQuest was developed by The Dirksen Congressional Center to introduce students to the duties of a leader in the House of Representatives. What jobs do these people, elected by their colleagues, fulfill? What are their qualifications? The lesson asks students, as individuals, to take on the role of a newly-elected U.S. Representative from the district in which they reside (students could, of course, represent other districts as well, using the Internet to gain information about those remote districts) who must decide what kind of person she or he would support as leader.
For information about WebQuests, visit http://webquest.sdsu.edu/materials.htm.
The Task for Learners
After a long but successful campaign, you have been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the district in which you reside. One of your first actions will be to vote for the leader of your political party in the House. If you are a member of the majority, this person will be the Speaker of the House. If you are in the minority, this person will be the Minority Leader. Your task is to decide what qualifications a person would need to be a leader so that you can explain your position to your constituents.
You have the following tasks ahead of you:
Finding out who your Congressman is and to which political
party he belongs.
Identifying high-quality Internet sites with information about congressional leadership positions and the people who occupy them.
Researching these positions.
Writing a report to your constituents explaining what the leader of your party in the House does.
Comparing what House leaders do with Senate leaders.
1. Identify your own Congressman. Visit CongressLink (http://www.congresslink.org) and find the section labeled “Today’s Congress.” Click on “Guide to Today’s Congress” and follow the directions to find your members of Congress.
2. Visit her or his Web site and determine if they are a member of the Republican or Democratic Party. If they are an Independent, find out with which party they vote in that party's caucus or conference.
3. Determine which political party is in the majority in the House (see http://artandhistory.house.gov/house_history/partydiv.aspx).
4. Locate a description of the duties of either the Speaker of the House if you are a member of his party) or the Minority Leader (if you are a member of his party). There are several references to congressional leadership on CongressLink, too.
5. Find other Internet sites that provide the following information: the name of the current leader, information about him, and information about his leadership position (congressional leaders sometimes have separate Web sites about themselves and about their leadership office).
6. Write a report to your constituents explaining what your leader does and what qualities you believe are necessary for the leader to be successful.
7. Find an example of news coverage of your leader's actions (see AboutGovernment, using the navigation bar at the top of this page).
8. OPTIONS. Compare and contrast the duties of House and Senate leaders. Compare and contrast the duties of the Speaker and Minority Leader.
AboutGovernment (http://www.aboutgovernment.org). This site provides links to more than 50 Web sites about the federal government, including many about the U.S. Congress.
Speaker of the House (http://www.speaker.gov/)
House Majority Leader (http://majorityleader.gov/House Minority Leader (http://www.democraticleader.gov/)