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This lesson looks at how a Bill Becomes Law

Subject:

Social Studies  

Grades:

7, 8  

 

Title – How a Bill Becomes a Law-Creative Dramatics
By – Christine Berrong
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects - 
Grade Level – 7-8
How a Bill Becomes a Law-Creative Dramatics

Objective: After completing this activity, students will be able to explain the process of how a bill becomes a law.

Background: Students should be familiar with the basic structure of Congress and its function.

Materials:
Prepare large cards that say the following:
          President
          House of Representatives
          Senate
          committee (two)
          joint committee
          veto
and Post-It Notes that say:
          bill
          law

Procedure:
1. Choose one student to be the President and separate him/her from the group (pull a desk to the side or sit him/her at your desk). Give that student the sign that says “President”. Choose another student to be the bill and stick the Post-It note that says “bill” on him/her. Divide the remainder of the students into two groups, one larger group (give that group the “House” sign) and a proportionately smaller group (give that group the “Senate” sign). You will also be creating subgroups for the committees, either up front or after the bill is introduced.

2. Walk (literally make “the bill” student walk) through the process of becoming a law. It may be helpful to use a current real-life example, such as the tax-cut bill of 2001. Demonstrate the process of the bill being introduced, going through a committee, passing one house, going to the next house, committee, and then to the President. Explain the actions the President can take.
          
3. Redo the process, but this time change the bill in the first house (i.e. take off a shoe or something) and explain how a joint committee works. In this scenario, have students from both the House and the Senate gather for a few moments to emphasize the joint committee.

Reinforcement:
After the dramatization, have the students in pairs draw a flow chart that explains how a bill becomes a law (can draw by hand or use Inspiration, if available).

Extension:
For more advanced students, pick a real-life bill for them to research, then act out the bill with the committee really discussing it and coming to a decision. You could also introduce the concept of lobbyists.

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