Lesson Plan: Choice Board - Researching Your Members in the US House of Representatives

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Representative King discussed Article I, Section I of the U.S. Constitution.

Description

The U.S. Constitution established the two bodies that comprise the U.S. Congress: The House of Representatives and the Senate. With candidates competing for seats in each chamber every election cycle, this lesson provides students with the opportunity to explore their members in the House of Representatives and how they represent their constituents as a fundamental part of civic literacy.

Procedures

  • SET-UP:

    This lesson offers several options for you to use with your students whether you are teaching in class, using a hybrid model, or engaging through distance learning. It can be completed in steps as a class or students can move at their own pace and complete the activities independently.

    You can post links to the videos in the lesson along with the related handouts and engage in discussion to share responses on a discussion board or learning management system.

    You can also save and share the following Google resources that provide choices for students to research their members of Congress.

    U.S. Representative's Résumé (Google Docs)

    Researching Members in the U.S. House of Representatives (Google Docs)

    Choice Board: Researching Members of Congress (Google Slides)

    In Google, choose "File" then "Make a Copy" to get your own copy. You can make any needed adjustments in the instructions such as which activities students need to complete, when it is due, etc. and then make it available to them via Google.

  • WARM-UP::

    Select vocabulary terms from the list that you will need to review with your students. Have students look up the definitions and discuss the meanings as a class.

    Ask students share their thoughts in class discussion either in person or through a chat feature on the following questions:

    What two chambers comprise the legislative body?

    How many years are in a term for a member in the House of Representative?

    Why does the U.S. House of Representatives have more members than the U.S. Senate?

    What is the role of the legislative body?

    Explain that through these activities, they will be discovering who their members of Congress are and how they serve their constituents.

  • INTRODUCTION:

    Have students view the video clips below and the answer the questions that follow.

    VIDEO CLIPS 1 &2: Congressional Powers and the Constitution

    Explain the founders' intent on establishing a Congress as Rep. King discusses.

    Where in the Constitution does it provide for a Congress?

    Explain Rep. Barr's statements on the powers of the legislative branch.

  • EXPLORATION:

    Student should view the following video clips and respond to the accompanying questions.

    VIDEO CLIPS 3 & 4: Characteristics of the House of Representatives

    How many years are in a representative’s term?

    According to Rep. Hoyer, which virtues comprise a republic?

    How do these virtues impact our country and its leaders?

    How does Rep. Emmer describe the role of a member in the House of Representatives?

  • Who Is Your Member in the U.S. House of Representatives?

    Have students find the name of their member in the House of Representatives through this link: Find Your U.S. Representative

    Then, to learn about their state’s member(s) in the House of Representatives, students can click here: C-SPAN's Congressional Chronicle - House of Representatives

    From the drop-down arrow, they can select their state to view their state’s representative(s) and respond to the following questions:

    How many total members are in your state?

    Provide the number for each political party that is represented.

    Consider the political party representation in your state, how could that impact policy decisions that are made in your community?

    Next, students choose the person who represents their district from the list and click on the name. Then click the “Official Bio” link under the photo and provide the information below:

    Name

    State

    District

    Title (if indicated)

    Party

    Years in Congress

    Work Experience: Company, Dates of Employment, Job, Title (if indicated)

    Education: School, Year Graduated, Degree

    Any additional Information about the person

  • Evaluate Twitter Feed:

    Students can click on the Twitter link beneath the person's photo if it is available, then provide the following information:

    Number of People Following

    Number of Followers

    Have them evaluate tweets in this person’s feed. Some ideas to consider are: what is this person doing in the state or DC, which issues are being discussed, what position does this person take, explain why they agree/disagree with the content, how would they respond

  • On Which Committees Does Your Representative Serve?

    On your representative’s page, scroll down to the “Committees” section. Respond to the questions below:

    Students choose one committee to explore. Click here: House of Representatives Committees to learn about that committee, then go to the “About” page and read about it.

    What is the purpose of this committee?

    Explain how these committees relate to the representative’s experience or background.

  • Votes:

    On their representative’s page, students scroll down to the “Votes” section and provide the following information:

    Voting Record

    Recorded Votes

    Missed Votes

    Votes Against the Majority

    Party Line Votes

    Featured Votes

    Based on the data, students should explain their representative's voting record as it relates to their political party.

  • Floor Appearances and Bills:

    On their representative’s page, students scroll down to the related sections below and provide the following information.

    Days on the Floor

    One-Minute Speeches

    Total Time Speaking

    Bills Sponsored

    Bills Passed

    Bills Failed

    Amendments

    Co-Sponsored Bills

    Students should click on several of the blue text links in the “Bills” section on the page to view the bills their representative has supported and explain some of the issues that are reflected in the bills.

  • EVALUATION:

    Students should review the data they have collected and respond to the following question:

    Is there a relationship among the various committees on which the individual serves, the voting record, bills and person’s experience and background? Explain your reasoning.

    Have students compare their research on different members with their classmates.

  • ACTIVITY:

    It’s Election Day! Would you vote for your representative? Explain your position based on your research. When you have completed all elements in this lesson, save your work and submit it to your teacher.

Additional Resource

Vocabulary

  • Checks And Balances
  • Congressional Bill
  • Constituent
  • Majority
  • Political Party
  • Ratify
  • Republic
  • Virtues

Topics

Constitutional FoundationLegislative Branch

Grades

Middle SchoolHigh SchoolUniversity