A CHEESY BILL (Grade Levels 6-8) Civics/U.S. Government

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1 Unit Title: Animals Lesson Title: A Cheesy Bill Theme: Animals Content: Social Studies-Civics/U.S. Government Topic: How A Bill Becomes A Law Language: English Grant: Best Grade: Middle School A Brief Lesson Description: This lesson teaches students how a bill becomes a law. They will learn how laws are made at the national level. Complete Lesson Plan: Karen Hambali BME 530 Introduction: A CHEESY BILL (Grade Levels 6-8) Civics/U.S. Government As emphasized in the Arizona State Standards for Social Studies, the students should understand how the United States government lawmaking process operates, including the role of leadership within Congress. This will be accomplished by reading to the students a mouse account of how a bill becomes a law to simplify the process and introduce them to the concept through listening, observing and questioning. They will further accomplish this goal through activities that involve developing interpersonal skills through group work, writing, speaking, and analyzing information. At the end of the lesson, the students should have a general understanding of how the lawmaking process operates at the national level. This is part of a thematic unit on animals that includes Spanish, Math, English and Writing. Behavioral Objectives: The students will listen and observe pictures in a fictional story about mice, which summarizes how federal laws are made. They will complete a series of questions while the story is being read to demonstrate their ability to identify and explain the steps in the law making process in chronological order and will be able to differentiate a bill from a law. The students will work cooperatively as partners or in groups to achieve given tasks. The objective will be met when the teacher can assess their mastery of identifying and explaining the steps of how a bill becomes a law in chronological order. Arizona State Standards:

2 Social Studies-2SS-P4. Analyze the structure, powers and roles of the legislative branch of the United States government, with emphasis on: PO 3. How the lawmaking process operates, including the role of leadership within Congress. Anticipatory Set: 1. The teacher hangs 10 pictures without text from the book House Mouse Senate Mouse around the classroom. 2. The teacher reads the instructions on the board to the students. With a partner, walkabout the room and look at the mice pictures on the walls. Stop at each picture and ask your partner What do you think this picture is about? After your partner answers, you ask your partner the same question. Continue this procedure for each picture until you have finished looking at all the pictures. 3. To give the students an example, the teacher models the procedure for a student by holding up a picture of the front cover of the book and asking a student, What do you think this picture is about? The student answers, It s about two mice meeting and shaking hands. The teacher tells the same student to ask her the same question. The student asks the teacher, What do you think this picture is about? The teacher answers, I see two well-dressed, happy male mice shaking hands in front of the Capitol Building. Maybe they agree on something. 4. Now the teacher asks the students if they understand what to do and they say yes. 5. The teacher tells the students to begin the walkabout activity with their assigned partners. 6. During this activity the teacher listens and observes the interaction between partners and makes sure that they stay on task. Teacher Input: The teacher will instruct the students to get into their assigned groups of four. Students may work collaboratively on the written responses related to the story being read and may converse with one another quietly. Next, the teacher will ask the students some questions prior to reading the story in order to introduce the topic of how a bill becomes a law so that the students understand the objectives and expectations of the lesson. The teacher will walk around the room while reading the story aloud and showing the pictures to the students while the students write their responses to questions related to the reading. The reading will be paced slow enough to allow the all of the students ample time to write responses to the questions. After finishing the story, the teacher will call on various students to answer questions that relate to the sequential steps of how a bill becomes a law and to explain the difference between a bill and a law. After the question session, the teacher will call on students to answer the questions from the overhead that will be collected at the end of the lesson. Script: Teacher: Today I am going to read you a story called House Mouse Senate Mouse. Student: What s the story about?

3 Teacher: It is about how a bill becomes a law because that is what we are going to study. Student: What s a bill? Teacher: We will find out the answer to that question during the reading of the book. Student: Okay. Teacher: While I am reading, I want you to pay close attention to the steps of how a bill becomes a law. Listen to what I read and look at the pictures to help you put the steps in order. Student: How will we know which steps are important to know? Teacher: You will be answering some questions from the overhead with your group while I read the story. This will help you learn the steps and keep them in the correct order. Student: Do we have to write the answers in complete sentences? Teacher: No. Just write a brief answer to each question. Now we will answer the first question together as an example. Q: On the cover of this book are two mice. Which houses of Congress do they represent? Student: The House and the Senate because it says so on the book cover. Teacher: That is correct, so everyone write the answer the House and the Senate. Does everyone understand this assignment? Students: Yes. Modeling the Behavior: Prior to beginning the lesson the teacher would have already covered the objectives of the lesson, answered some questions and students would be in their assigned groups. Before commencing the reading portion of the lesson, the teacher explained the directions for the written portion of the lesson that coincides with the reading portion. For example, the teacher poses the first question and calls on a student to answer it. The answer is correct, so each group of students writes the answer in short answer form on their paper. Meanwhile the teacher checks each group for comprehension to ensure that they understand the procedure. Once this is done, the teacher puts the list of questions on the overhead, begins reading and the students answer the questions in their groups. Once this activity is done, the teacher asks various students questions from the story about the lawmaking process, and they respond orally. After the students answer the questions correctly and demonstrate their comprehension, the teacher starts the next phase. The teacher calls on various groups to orally answer the written questions. The teacher allows ELL and special needs students to read their group responses if they choose to. Once the students have satisfactorily answered all the questions, the teacher s comprehension check has been met. Comprehension: The teacher will check for understanding by observing the students individual contributions during the walkabout, group work activity and individual responses to questions during the lesson. The teachers will demonstrate each activity by using an example and questioning to ensure that the students understand the task to be performed.

4 During the lesson the teacher will move about the room to offer assistance to the students, especially those with special needs (e.g.: Special Ed and ELL). Guided Practice: The teacher will guide the students through the walkabout activity and in answering any verbal or written questions from the story. The students will demonstrate their knowledge by answering verbal and written questions related to the story aloud. Closure: The students will select a partner of their choice and tell them what they have learned today about the process of how a bill becomes a law while the teacher roams the room to ensure that the students stay on task. Teacher: Today you were introduced to a new concept, how laws are made at the national level, and we will be studying this process for one week. For homework, you are to read the handout that I am passing out now called How Laws Are Made. This will give you more in-depth knowledge about the lawmaking process and the role of Congress. Read it and look at the pictures to help you understand the nine steps of how a bill becomes a law. Bring the handout back tomorrow because we are going to use it to do another activity in class. Does anyone have any questions? Thank you for your interest in today s lesson. Independent practice: For homework, the students will read the handout, How Laws are Made (for grades 6-8). To accommodate students with special needs, they will do the same assignment using the handout How Laws are Made for grades (3-5) which contains the same content, but the vocabulary and pictures makes it easier to read and understand. Assessment: Preassessment will be by informal observation of the students and their individual contributions. Formal assessment will be by informally assessing the students during class discussion, activities, daily work, homework, and a test at the end of the week on the nine steps of how a bill becomes a law. The objective will be met when the teacher can assess their mastery of identifying and explaining all the steps in chronological order of how a bill becomes a law. Materials: House Mouse and Senate Mouse book by Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes One photocopy of the front cover of the book to use as an example for the anticipatory set

5 Photocopy 10 pictures from the book to hang on the walls (pg. 1, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, and 22) Handouts How Laws Are Made are available at At this website, select 6-8 from the kite (the yellow block) and then select How Laws Are Made from the chalkboard. For handouts for ELL or special needs students select 3-5 and follow the same procedures. Whiteboard, marker, paper, pencils, overhead transparency with questions, answer key transparency, overhead projector, and tape for pictures Modifications for students with disabilities: The modifications for students with special needs include pictures (visuals) that can be seen at kid eye level during the walkabout or a book with pictures that they can read or view if they need more time to review the story and answer the questions. They will also be assigned to groups that include at least one strong academic student to assist the other students in the group. ELL students will sit next to, and be assigned a partner that is a strong academic student and bilingual. This person will work with the same ELL student during group activities. Photocopies of the question transparency will be available for any student that is visually impaired and unable to see the board clearly. Since most of the lesson relies on auditory learning, a blind person could be accommodated and give oral responses to written questions. If the student was unable to move about the room, the teacher would provide photocopies of the pictures on the wall for the student to view. The teacher is prepared to offer one-on-one assistance as needed. Technology integration: The teacher will use an overhead projector to display 10 teacher prepared questions from the story for the students to answer as the teacher is reading the story to them. Use of this technology is recommended for this purpose, because everyone in the room can see it and it saves photocopying handouts on paper. The homework handouts How Laws Are Made can be downloaded from Ben s Guide to U.S. Government at

6 Short Answer Questions from the Book House Mouse Senate Mouse Example: On the front cover of this book are two mice. Which houses of Congress do they represent? the House and the Senate 1. To whom did the mouse children write a letter? 2. What did they ask for in their letter? 3. The letter was delivered to Longworth McMouse. What is his job? 4. Russell received the letter next. What is his job? 5. To make a new law, what does Congress start with? 6. Where is the bill considered, discussed and changed? 7. Where does each Senator or Congressman vote on the bill? 8. Why did the mice in the House disagree on the National Cheese Bill? 9. How did they solve this problem?

7 10. The bill was signed in the House and the Senate. Who signed it the next day to make it an official law? Answer Key for Questions for House Mouse and Senate Mouse 1. Congress 2. a law to establish a national cheese 3. the Squeaker of the House 4. to the Mouse-jority Leader of the Senate 5. a bill 6. in a committee 7. the floor of the Senate and floor of the House 8. could not decide what kind of cheese should be the national cheese 9. A compromise was reached. American was chosen as the national cheese. 10. the president

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