The Senate

The Legislative Branch

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The Legislative Branch

Students learn about the creation and functions of the Legislative Branch. They learn the requirements for becoming a member of Congress, the process by which a bill becomes a law, the structure of the House of Representatives and Senate, the role of committees, Speaker of the House, the Vice President, the powers of Congress and the interaction of the Legislative Branch with other branches of government.

Find out how Congress works and the differences between the House of Representatives and the Senate.

  1. Students will understand that the Congress is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
  2. Students will know the different roles of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
  3. Students will understand how bills are introduced and how they become laws.
  4. Students will be able to identify the bill of rights and some important bills that Congress has passed.
  5. Students will identify the types of checks and balances that assure that no one branch of government has too much power.

  1. Congress in the Classroom. Have your students role play being members of Congress. Assemble your students so that they face the front of the classroom (like Congress). Encourage students to write bills (ideas for classroom rules) to be submitted to Congress. Divide your class into Senate leaders and House Leaders. Role play using the ‘bills’, allowing students to discuss the merits of each one. Vote on each bill.
  2. Amendment diary. Have each student pick an amendment to the Constitution that interests them. Have the students pretend that they live in the United States during the time predating their amendment. Ask students to keep a short journal about what their life is like in history. What happens when the amendment passes? How do they feel about the amendment? What effect do they think it will have in our country and in their lives? (Remember all of these questions should be answered from the point of view of someone living in a specific time in history)