Create a stack of “How a bill becomes a law” cards;
1 set for each team that includes a card for each of
the following steps:
TO RULES COMMITTEE (House groups only)
TO FLOOR FOR DEBATE
IS VOTED ON
TO OTHER CHAMBER
1. Give each student a copy of: Government 101: How
a Bill Becomes a Law located at
Have students read the article.
Divide the class into two groups--House and Senate. Put
each group into teams of
9 for House Group and
8 for Senate Group; depending on the size
of your class, you may want to have an extra team. Give each team
a stack of cards
on “How a Bill becomes a law”
Teams will give one card to each student and then students
must arrange themselves in the
correct order of how a bill becomes a law.
One spokesperson from each group will tell the rest of
the class how a
bill becomes a law.
The class will help the teacher create a flowchart, “How
a bill becomes a law”. A student volunteer can
write the steps on the board or overhead as the class
names the steps.
1. What extra step occurs in the House? Why do you
think this step is needed?
Where does most of the work seem to take place? Why do
you think this is?
Why do you think less than 10% of bills which are introduced
actually become a law?
Hand out a bill - the first two pages of any bill dealing
with energy policy or the model bill from the website:
Discuss the parts of a bill that are shown on the first
a. Identify/define the bills sponsors
b. What does the number S.366 signify?
c. Possible sources of the bill: Stress that any citizen
or group may write a bill, however the bill must be introduced
by a senator
d. What does the subheading tell us about the bill?
Use the class created flowchart from Day 1 “How
a Bill Becomes a Law” to
trace the steps the bill will go through.
Introduce the lesson by lecturing on the types of congressional
committees and their role in the lawmaking process.
Also lecture on the power
and duties of the floor leaders in the house and
students explore the following websites to answer the
questions listed below:
What is the role of committees in the lawmaking process?
Which Senate committees would deal with energy policy
and its impact on the environment?
What are the major issues that these committees have
dealt with recently
that relate to energy
and the environment.
What committee hearings, if any, are scheduled for the
What committees are they?
List any topics dealing with energy or the environment
that are listed and the name
of the committees
that will be discussing
Identify the following floor leaders for the current
Identify your Senators and the committees that they serve:
is their party affiliation?
they a chair or co-chair of their committee or subcommittee?
Identify the jurisdiction of the committee:
is their party affiliation?
are the chair and ranking minority person?
Identify the ratio/proportion of Democrats to Republicans
on the committee.
Students will share their findings from their lab research and respond to
the following statements:
Do you agree or disagree?
The lawmaking process is too complex.
2. Committee chairs and floor leaders have
too much power over the bill process.
3. It takes too long for a bill to become a
must find 3-4 other students who feel the same
way on all three questions then sit
together and discuss reasons. They must defend
their positions to
find an article on energy policy and the lawmaking process.
Students will write a brief summary of the article and address
the following questions:
step of the lawmaking process is illustrated?
in addition to Congress members, is mentioned in the article?
is their interest or role with the issue?
any bias examples in the article (is the article slanted towards
the following of the article:
homework assignment is due at the end of Day 4.