Course Principles of GPA

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1 Course Principles of GPA Unit III Implementation of the Three Branches of Government Essential Question What is the role of the legislative branch of government? TEKS (c) (10)(A) Prior Student Learning None Estimated Time 3 hours Structure and Functions of the Legislative Branch Rationale Introduces students to the foundations of governmental functions and career opportunities within the United States. Objectives The student will be able to: 1. Analyze the structure and functions of the legislative branch of government, such as the bicameral structure of Congress, the role of committees, and the procedure for enacting laws. Engage Prior to class, do an Internet search for the following: outdated laws. Select two humorous and appropriate laws to discuss with the class. Introduce the class to the two laws you selected. The following the script may be used: As times change, it is often necessary to enact new laws. For example, the invention of the automobile eventually led to the need for traffic laws. The threat against national security has led to many travel regulations. And, as public sentiment changed as to whether or not alcohol should be available for sale in the United States, our laws changed to prohibition and then to the repeal of prohibition. So, some laws may become outdated or simply prove to be ill-advised. A closer look at these laws may present a clearer understanding. But what if these laws or others need to be changed or completely done away with? Who would do that and how would it be done? Divide the class in half and have each half research one of the laws. After a short amount of research time (15 to 20 minutes), ask for the pros and cons of the law, and whether they think the law should remain, be changed, or done away with. Lead the class in discussion. Ask, If these or any law needs to be created, changed or done away with, who would do it? Wait for answers. Use the Discussion Rubric for assessment. Key Points I. Congress A. The nation s lawmaking body B. The legislative branch of the national government C. Charged with translating public will into public policy in the form of law D. Bicameral structure 1. Senate each state is equally represented; known as the upper house 1

2 2. House of Representatives states are represented based on population 3. Each house acts as a check on the other so that neither has controlling power, and Congress does not overwhelm the executive or judicial branch of government 4. Historically, the framers of the Constitution were familiar with the British bicameral system 5. Smaller states wanted an equal voice; larger states wanted a bigger voice. Both were appeased with two houses E. Terms and sessions of Congress 1. Term lasts for two years 2. Session when Congress assembles and conducts business; two sessions each term 3. Neither house may end a session without the other s consent 4. Special sessions the President only can call Congress or either of its houses into special session. Only 27 special sessions with both houses have ever been held II. House of Representatives A. Number of members members today 2. Size is set by Congress, not by the Constitution 3. Apportioned on the basis of the states populations 4. Reapportioned every 10 years after a census 5. Members of the House represent a congressional district B. Terms 1. Elected to two-year terms 2. Their reelection hopes keep them focused on their voters 3. There is no constitutional limit to the number of terms House members can serve C. Qualifications for office 1. Members of the House must be at least 25 years old 2. They must have been a U.S. citizen for at least 7 years 3. They must be inhabitants of the state from which they are elected III. Senate A. Size two Senators from each state; 100 members today B. Election is from the states at large C. Term 1. Six-year terms; there is no limit on number of terms 2. Staggered terms a third of the Senators terms expire every two years, making the Senate a continuous body D. Qualifications for office 1. At least 30 years old 2. A citizen of the U.S. for at least 9 years 3. An inhabitant of the state from which the Senator is elected 2

3 IV. Roles of Congress A. Legislators B. Representatives of their constituents C. Committee members 1. Screen bills each session 2. Determine which bills will be considered and acted upon 3. Oversight function making sure the executive branch carries out the policies Congress has set by law D. Servants of their constituents E. Politicians V. Making law A. Much of the work of Congress is done through committees B. Committees play a pivotal role in the lawmaking process C. The fate of most bills is decided in the various standing committees which are divided into subcommittees 1. Standing committees play an essential role in the lawmaking process 2. They sift through the many bills referred to Congress, rejecting most, reporting only on those they deem worthy D. Bills are introduced to Congress from 1. The Executive branch 2. Special interest groups 3. Private citizens E. According to the Constitution Tax bills must first be acted upon by the House F. Steps a successful bill follows in the House of Representatives 1. The bill is introduced 2. Clerk assigns the bill a number and title 3. First reading the Bill is entered in the House Journal and Congressional Record 4. The Speaker refers the bill to the appropriate standing committee 5. The subcommittee holds hearings or seeks additional information 6. The committee reports the bill 7. The rules committee grants rule to permit floor consideration 8. The bill is placed on the appropriate calendar (out of five in the House) 9. The bill receives a second reading; it may be debated and amended 10. The House votes on amendments, motions, and the full bill 11. The approved bill is engrossed 12. The bill receives a third reading by title only 13. A final vote is taken G. Differences in the bill process in the Senate 1. Much the same as in the House; however, the Senate s proceedings are less formal and its rules less strict than those in 3

4 the House 2. Debate in the House is limited, but it is almost unrestrained in the Senate 3. Only one calendar instead of five H. Steps a bill takes after passing both houses of Congress 1. Submitted to the President 2. The President can a) Sign the bill b) Veto the bill c) Allow the bill to become law without signing and by not acting on it within 10 days Activities 1. Divide the class proportionately to the current Congress and propose they pass a bill about several topics. Divide them as both the House and the Senate. Role play the steps required to pass a bill and how each bill winds its way through the process. Use the Role Play Rubric for assessment. 2. In a journal, have the students clip out articles concerning bills and legislation during their time in class. Have them write out their understanding of the pros and cons of the legislation and be prepared to talk about it in class. This is a good daily grade that helps to engage students. Be sure to allow them the opportunity to keep these journals after the class is concluded. Use the Individual Work Rubric for assessment. 3. Political cartoons have always played an important role in politics. Have the students collect cartoons concerning legislation or congress from the newspapers or through the internet, for their journals. Make sure they find cartoons from both sides of the issue and have them determine which cartoon is the most effective. Use the Individual Work Rubric for assessment. Assessments Structure and Functions of the Legislative Branch Quiz and Key Discussion Rubric Individual Work Rubric Presentation Rubric Research Rubric Materials Structure and Functions of the Legislative Branch computer-based presentation Structure and Functions of the Legislative Branch Key Terms Legislative Branch Research Questions Resources , Macgruder s American Government, McClenaghan, W., 4

5 Pearson, Prentice Hall, Accommodations for Learning Differences For reinforcement, have students create a visual of their choice (poster, computer-based presentation, model, etc.) that communicates the steps a bill goes through to become a law. Use the Individual Work Rubric for assessment. For enrichment, divide the class into nine groups and assign each group one of the Legislative Branch Research Questions (see handout). Each group will research the question and present its findings to the class. Use the Presentation Rubric and the Research Rubric for assessment. State Education Standards Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Career and Technical Education Principles of Government and Public Administration (One-Half to One Credit). (10) The student will select an appropriate method of communication to facilitate the flow of ideas and information among government, public administration, the business community, and the general public. The student is expected to: (A) analyze the structure and functions of the legislative branch of government such as the bicameral structure of Congress, the role of committees, and the procedure for enacting laws; College and Career Readiness Standards Social Studies Standards V. Effective Communication A. Clear and coherent oral and written communication 1. Use appropriate oral communication techniques depending on the context or nature of the interaction. 2. Use conventions of standard written English. 5

6 Structure and Functions of the Legislative Branch Key Terms 1. Legislature an officially elected or otherwise selected body of people vested with the responsibility and power to make laws for a political unit, such as a state or nation 2. Bicameral the legislature made up of two houses. In the U.S., these are the Senate and the House of Representatives 3. Adjourn when Congress ends its regular session 4. Recess when Congress temporarily suspends business for a short period during a session 5. Off-year elections congressional elections that occur between presidential elections 6. Continuous body describes the Senate, whose positions are never all up for election at the same time 7. Constituents the residents of a district or member(s) of a group represented by an elected official 8. Bills proposed laws 9. Engrossed when a bill is printed in its final form, after is has been approved at a second reading 10. Filibuster a stalling tactic used in the Senate to talk a bill to death, preventing or delaying Senate action on a proposed bill 6

7 Legislative Branch Research Questions 1. What checks does the Legislative Branch have on the other two branches of Government? How effectively are these checks used today? 2. What checks do the other two branches of government have on the legislative powers of the Congress? 3. What are the differences in the rules of debate and passing legislation between the House and Senate? 4. How has the power of Congress been strengthened or diminished over the past 220 years? 5. Why was the Legislative Branch the very first article in the Constitution? 6. What were the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation in regards to the Congress from 1777 to 1787? What changes occurred between the two documents? 7. Why were the requirements in the Constitution to be a Senator and a Congressman different in respect to age and length of residency? 8. What compromises among the Founders were needed to create the Congress as we know it now? 7

8 Name: Date: Structure and Functions of the Legislative Branch Quiz 1. Congress is bicameral because a. That was a familiar format to the framers of the Constitution based on England s bicameralism b. The framers wanted each house to act as a check on the other so that neither has controlling power c. Smaller states wanted an equal voice; larger states wanted a bigger voice. Both were appeased with two houses d. All of the above 2. Congress is mainly concerned with a. Making laws b. Establishing new court systems c. Ensuring the President s physical safety d. None of the above 3. The House of Representatives a. Has more members than the Senate b. Has less members than the Senate c. Represents the populations of each state, and its size is set by Congress d. Both a and c 4. Members of the Senate a. Serve 6-year terms b. Must be at least 30 and an inhabitant of the state they represent c. Are considered the upper house d. All of the above 5. Which of the following is true of Congress? a. Most of its work is done through committees b. Most of the bills presented there become laws c. Both of its houses are a continuous body d. None of the above 8

9 6. Compared to the bill process in the House, the Senate has a. A more formal process b. A less formal process c. The exact same process d. None of the above 7. Members of Congress balance different roles, which include a. Legislators, the law-making body of the United States b. Representatives of their districts c. Committee members who screen bills d. All of the above 8. The term engrossed as it applies to a bill means a. The opposite of adjourning b. When a bill is printed in its final form, after is has been approved at second reading c. A stalling tactic used in the Senate to talk a bill to death, preventing or delaying Senate action on a proposed bill d. None of the above 9. An officially elected or otherwise selected body of people vested with the responsibility and power to make laws for a political unit, such as a state or nation, is known as a a. Cabinet b. Subcommittee c. Legislature d. Speaker of the House 10. Residents of a district or members of a group represented by an elected official are called a. A neighborhood b. An incorporated city c. Constituents d. None of the above 9

10 Structure and Functions of the Legislative Branch Quiz Key 1. D 2. A 3. D 4. D 5. A 6. B 7. D 8. B 9. C 10. C * 10

11 Name Date Discussion Rubric Objectives 4 pts. Excellent 3 pts. Good 2 pts. Needs Some Improvement 1 pt. Needs Much Improvement N/A Pts. Participates in group discussion Encourages others to join the conversation Keeps the discussion progressing to achieve goals Shares thoughts actively while offering helpful recommendations to others Gives credit to others for their ideas Respects the opinions of others Involves others by asking questions or requesting input Expresses thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively Total Points (32 pts.) Comments: 11

12 Name Date Individual Work Rubric Objectives 4 pts. Excellent 3 pts. Good 2 pts. Needs Some Improvement 1 pt. Needs Much Improvement N/A Pts. Follows directions Student completed the work as directed, following the directions given, in order and to the level of quality indicated Time management Student used time wisely and remained on task 100% of the time Organization Student kept notes and materials in a neat, legible, and organized manner. Information was readily retrieved Evidence of learning Student documented information in his or her own words and can accurately answer questions related to the information retrieved *Research/Gathering information (if relevant) Student used a variety of methods and sources to gather information. Student took notes while gathering information Total Points (20 pts.) Comments: 12

13 Name: Date: Presentation Rubric Objectives Topic/Content Topic discussed completely and in-depth Includes properly cited sources (if used) Creativity/Neatness Integrates a variety of multimedia effects to create a professional presentation (transition and graphics) or appropriate visual aid used Title slide, table of contents, bibliography are included, using acceptable format Mechanics Grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization are correct Image and font size are legible to the entire audience Oral Presentation Communicates with enthusiasm and eye contact Voice delivery and projection are dynamic and audible Audience Interaction Presentation holds audience s attention and relates a clear message Clearly and effectively communicates the content throughout the presentation 4 pts. Excellent 3 pts. Good 2 pts. Needs Some Improvement 1 pt. Needs Much Improvement N/A Pts. Total Points (20 pts.) Comments: 13

14 Name Date Objectives Question/goal Student identified and communicated a question or goal of the research 4 pts. Excellent Research Rubric 3 pts. Good 2 pts. Needs Some Improvement 1 pt. Needs Much Improvement N/A Pts. Research/Gathering information (if relevant) Student used a variety of methods and sources to gather information. Student took notes while gathering information Conclusion/Summary Student drew insightful conclusions and observations from the information gathered. Information is organized in a logical manner Communication Student communicated the information gathered and summary or conclusions persuasively. Student demonstrated skill in the use of media used to communicate the results of research Reflection Student reflected on the importance of the research and its potential application Total Points (20 pts.) Comments: 14

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