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By Mrsbenalayat
On July 15, 2020

Lesson Plan: How A Bill Becomes A Law

Senator Boxer Explains How a Bill Becomes a Law

Senator Barbara Boxer (D), from California explains in simple terms how a bill becomes a law.

Description

The Legislative Branches powers are enumerated in Article I of the United States Constitution. But their main power is to make laws as identified in Sections One and Seven. How do they do this? How does the Senate and the House of Representatives pass laws for the entire nation? Using the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and C-SPAN videos as an example, students will identify and analyze the process of how a bill becomes a law. Students will be able to explain and order seven basic steps for how a bill becomes a law.

Procedures

  • Background Information:

    Have the students review the following background information about how a bill becomes a law.

    Students should be able to explain the following steps. Student can use the graphic linked below to review this.

    Graphic: 7 Steps: How A Bill Becomes A Law (Google Slide)

    • 1) Introduction of bill in either the House or Senate

    • 2) Work on bill is done in committees

    • 3) Debate on bill on the House or Senate floor

    • 4) Vote on the bill

    • 5) Send bill to other chamber

    • 6) Repeat process (steps 1-4)

    • 7) If bill has passed both houses, send to President to sign or veto
  • Vocabulary Preview:

    After reviewing the background information, have students test their understanding of the following vocabulary words. You may print this out or you may assign it to each student individually using Google Classroom or Schoology or another classroom platform. This activity is divided into two pages.

    Activity: Vocabulary Drag and Drop (Google Slide)

    • Bill

    • Veto

    • Hearing

    • Committee

    • Chambers of the U.S. Congress

    • House of Representatives

    • Senate

    • Floor Debate

    • Roll Call Vote
  • INTRODUCTION:

    Depending on the students' comfort level with this topic, choose one of the following two video clips to provide an explanation of the lawmaking process:

    Video Clip 1: Senator Boxer Explains How a Bill Becomes a Law (0:36)

    Video Clip 2: How a Bill Becomes a Law (9:55)

    After viewing the clips, review the 7 basic steps for how a bill becomes a law.

    Graphic: 7 Steps: How A Bill Becomes A Law (Google Slide)

    Then, have students complete the sorting activity linked below. Remember to make a copy of the sorting activity before assigning to each student. You will be able to post this assignment in Google Classroom, Schoology, or other platforms.

    Activity: Sorting the Steps in the Lawmaking process (Google Slide)

    Before moving on to the next step, have students pair up and tell each other the 7 steps in the correct order.

  • Assign students to complete the How A Bill Becomes A Law H.R. 6201 Assignment linked below. Students will independently work through the Google Slides presentation, viewing video clips and accessing sites to answer questions within the presentation.

    Assignment: How A Bill Becomes A Law H.R. 6201 (Google Slides)

    Remember to make a copy of the document before assigning to each student. You will be able to post this assignment in Google Classroom, Schoology, or other platforms.

    Teachers can find the answer key to this assignment here.

  • Video Clips and Links:

  • WRAP UP:

    Students will use C-SPAN’s Congressional Chronicle Site to research a current bill in Congress identifying the stages the case has gone through in the lawmaking process and present to the class. Students will complete the Current Bill Graphic Organizer.

  • EXTENSION ACTIVITY:

    Students can create an infographic or comic of the process of How a Bill Becomes a Law, illustrating the 7 steps.

Vocabulary

  • Bill
  • Chamber Of Congress
  • Committee
  • Floor Debate
  • Hearing
  • House Of Representatives
  • Roll Call Vote
  • Senate
  • Veto

Topics

Legislative Branch

Grades

Middle School