Tennessee State Capitol High School Government Lesson Plans

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1 Tennessee State Capitol High School Government Lesson Plans 1

2 For more information on other programs at the museum contact: Public Programs Department (615) (800) or online at: Tennessee State Museum, April 2003, 1,000 copies. Publication authorization #316532, This public document was promulgated at a cost of $.67 a copy. 2

3 High School Government Lesson Plans Curriculum Framework Objectives: 4.1 at Level One, Level Two 4.6 at Level One Vocabulary ØHave students identify or define each of the following terms related to the State Capitol or government in general. Definitions are provided in the appendix. judicial branch capitol Andrew Johnson majority bill 14 th amendment capital election Andrew Jackson Nashville veto 19 th amendment assembly citizen James K. Polk speaker vote impeachment senator governor representative committee aye quorum vote lobbyist law legislative branch executive branch Tennessee Government and Civics ØThree Branches Lead students in a discussion of the roles of the three branches of government. Be sure to cover the following chart which addresses those branches of government which work or have worked in the State Capitol. (You may decide to cover only the basic functions and information ÙHave students create acrostics for five of the vocabulary words. Each line of the acrostic includes terms or phrases which describe the vocabulary word. Example: A ffirmative Y es E ndorsement L egislation A way to help society W ritings ÚHave students complete the crossword puzzle which is provided in the appendix. 3

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5 regarding each branch.) ÙHave students complete The Tennessee Three activity found in the appendix. ÚMock Session A. Pass out copies of How a Bill Becomes a Law found in the appendix. Lead students in a discussion of the legislative process. B. Next have students develop their own bills or ideas for laws and put them in writing. C. Divide class into two groups, the House of Representatives and the Senate. D. Have both groups send five members to The Committee. This group will review each of the bills and pick ten to place on the appropriate Calendars. Those legislators whose bills have been chosen should be given the opportunity to prepare for debate. E. Assign the roles of speaker and chief clerk in each house. The speakers will preside over the debates and keep order in their respective chambers. The chief clerks will be responsible for tallying the official votes. F. Have students participate in debates concerning each of the bills. G. Once the debates are closed, the speakers instruct their fellow members to vote on the bills. The speakers then sign the bills which have passed with a majority vote and send them to the governor. (This can be the teacher or another student.) H. Have the governor make his decision then explain why. 5

6 Û Rights and Responsibilities Explain to students that every U.S. citizen has rights and responsibilities. Lead students in a discussion about the difference between the two. Rights can be defined as something due to one by the law or Constitution. Responsibilities can be defined simply as duties. (A good reference and example is the Bill of Rights.) Next, have students complete the R & R activity found in the appendix. Discuss the correct answers when completed. Ü Don t Just Sit There Get Involved! Now that you have discussed rights and responsibilities with your students, discuss ways in which they can get involved. Yes, even school kids can get involved with public policy and/or government issues. Discuss several possibilities that will encourage your class to participate in your community (or state). *One activity is having students write letters or send to their local or state legislators. As a class, discuss what are some of their major concerns regarding education, conservation, family issues, etc. Students can express their opinions and concerns as they write their lawmakers. For state legislators contact information consult the General Assembly s web site at **Another activity is to choose a class project that will help improve society. Examples are organizing a clean-up day at school, volunteering to help out at a community center, volunteering at the local animal shelter. The possibilities are endless and the kids (and you) will have fun doing it! 6

7 Appendix 7

8 Vocabulary defined 1. Capitol the building in which the state legislature meets. The state capitol is located on Charlotte Avenue. 2. Capital a city that is the official seat of government in a state. Nashville is the capital of Tennessee. 3. Assembly refers to the two houses of the Tennessee legislature, the House of Representatives and the Senate. 4. Representative a member of a legislative body selected by popular vote. A Tennessee state representative must at least be 21 years old, serves a two-year term, and represents approximately 50,000 citizens. 5. Senator a member who is elected by popular vote to the upper house in a legislature. A Tennessee senator must at least be 30 years old, serves a four-year term, and represents approximately 150,000 citizens. 6. Legislative branch the branch of government which makes the laws of the state. Tennessee s legislative branch of government consists of the House of Representative and the Senate. 7. Executive branch the branch of government which enforces the laws of the state or makes sure they are carried out. The chief executive officer of Tennessee is the governor. 8. Judicial branch refers to the branch of government which interprets the laws of the state. The State Supreme Court is the highest or most powerful judicial body in Tennessee. 9. Election an organized activity in which one is chosen for an office by a vote. 10. Citizen a person who is entitled, by birth or naturalization, to the rights and privileges of the city, state, or country where he resides. 11. Majority the number of votes above the total number of all other cast votes. 12. Governor the chief executive of a state. The governor of Tennessee is Phil Bredesen. 13. Vote the way someone officially makes his choice of a candidate for an office or the way a legislator expresses his decision about a proposed bill. 14. Aye an old English word meaning yes, and by tradition used by legislators in voting yes. 15. Andrew Johnson the 17 th president of the United States. Johnson is best remembered for being the country s first impeached president although he was acquitted by one vote. 16. Andrew Jackson the 7 th president of the United States. Jackson was known as Old Hickory because he was as tough as a hickory tree. He became the hero of the Battle of New Orleans during the War of His celebrity status helped him become president in James Knox Polk the 11th president of the United States. Polk was the first dark horse candidate for president meaning that he was not expected to win the nomination. He was also referred to as Young Hickory because he was a Jacksonian Democrat who remained loyal to Jackson. 18. Bill an idea for a law or a proposed law presented to a legislative body for approval. 19. Nashville the capital of Tennessee. It became the permanent capital in

9 Vocabulary defined (Cont.) 20. Speaker the presiding officer of a legislative assembly. 21. Law a rule established by authority, society, or the Tennessee General Assembly th amendment granted citizenship and due process to African Americans. Tennessee was the first former Confederate state to ratify this amendment in 1866, making the state the first of the Confederacy to be readmitted into the Union th amendment granted women the right to vote. In August of 1920, Tennessee became the 36 th state or the majority state to ratify this amendment giving all women across the country the right to vote. 24. Impeachment the process of officially charging or accusing someone in office of misconduct. 25. Quorum vote the minimum number of votes cast by the officers or members of a constituted body who must be present for a piece of legislation to pass or to be approved. 26. Veto the vested power or constitutional right of one branch or department of government, especially a chief executive, to reject a bill that a legislative body has passed, thus preventing or delaying its enactment into law. 27. Committee a small group of legislators delegated to discuss particular functions, tasks, or legislation. 28. Lobbyist one who tries to influence legislators to take a desired action or to pass legislation in favor of a special interest. 9

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14 *Courtesy of the Senate Activity Book 14

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