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Powerful Explorations - Government Lessons

Big Idea
Going Beyond the Flow Chart; the role of legislators, committees and floor leaders in the lawmaking process.
Essential Question
How does a bill become a law and who are the major players in the process?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage

“It’s All About Power”
Introduce how public policy& legislation is made

1. Identify and list the groups that create energy policy

2. Explain the role of citizens in influencing the creation of policy

Week 1,
1 period

Explore/Explain

“Stepping Inside the Flow Chart: How Does a Bill Become a Law?”

The steps in the lawmaking process and the role of committees and floor leaders

1. List the steps of how a bill becomes a law.

2. Explain why most bills never get passed.

3. Identify the individuals who participate in the lawmaking process.

4. Identify the main components of a bill
Week 1,
5 periods
Apply

“How to Write a Bill”
Students will write their own bill and participate in a committee mark-up session

1. Identify the key components of a bill.

2. Write a bill dealing with energy policy

3. Compare the debate process in the House and Senate.

4. Identify the major obstacles in getting a bill passed by the house or senate chamber.
Week 2-3,
7 periods
Project
     

 

Big Idea
Interest groups have a huge impact on the legislative process through lobbying strategies
Essential Question
How do interest groups use lobbying and media to impact legislation?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage

“Power of Persuasion”
What are interest groups and what do they do?

1. Define and identify a type of interest group.

2. Describe some strategies used by interest groups.

3. Identify the positive and negative aspects of interest groups

2-3 periods-
week 3-4

Explore

“Who has the Biggest Voice”
What interest groups represent the environment and how do they conflict with the coal and nuclear Industry

1. Identify at least two different interest groups that represent their assigned point of view.

2. Describe various lobbying techniques used by interest groups.

3. Describe the wide range of issues that interest groups address.

2 periods-
week 4
Explain

“Can I be Swayed?”
Students will read and analyze articles on energy policy from different points of view

1. Identify loaded words and examples of bias in print media.

2. Describe how media can be used to manipulate public opinion.

3. Identify examples of interest groups that use media to sway public opinion in order impact policymaking.
1-2 periods
week 4
Apply
“Is Congress for Sale?”
Students will research web sites to measure the level of influence campaign donations and Political Action Committees have on their representatives and senators. They will also discover opportunities for private citizens to lobby elected officials and compare their efforts to those of paid lobbyists.
1. Evaluate the level of influence Political Action Committees and campaign donations have on their elected representatives.

2. Compare the effectiveness of grassroots and corporate lobbying on political officials.
5 periods-
week 5
Project
   

 

Big Idea
How the Executive Branch implements and enforces public policy
Essential Question
How effective is the Executive branch in influencing public policy?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage

"What makes the nation go round?"
Students will explore the structure of the executive branch in order to understand the departments and agencies that implement and enforce policy (specifically energy policy).

1. List the departments and agencies that deal with energy and environmental policy.

2. Discuss issues that the executive branch is currently dealing with.

4 periods-
week 6

Explore/Explain

“The Power Grab”
What are the major concerns of the Executive Branch regarding energy policy and its impact on the environment?

1. Identify the departments and agencies within the executive branch that enforce energy policy.

2. Describe potential concerns that the executive branch must address when developing energy policy.
3 class periods-
weeks 6-7
Apply

“Money Power”
Students will participate in a cabinet meeting

1. Explain the priorities of the energy department for the next fiscal year.

2. Discuss the budget process and the role the executive departments have in the process.
2 class periods-
week 7

 

Big Idea
Who’s Got the Power? The role of the Iron Triangle in public policy
Essential Question
Who really has the greatest impact on making energy and environmental policies?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage

“What is an Iron Triangle?”
Students will discuss and understand how interest groups, congress and the executive branch play a role in policy making to make up the Iron Triangle

1. List the three points of the Iron Triangle and explain the role they have on public policy

2. Discuss the role that private citizens can have on the process.

1 class period-
week 7

Explore/Explain

“Energy Task Force”
Students will simulate a meeting of the President’s energy task force in order to observe how energy policy may be developed with the input of various groups.

1. List the major demands facing the nation regarding energy supply.

2. Write persuasive arguments that address solutions to the growing energy demands of this country.

3. Describe the policy objectives of a group that has an interest in energy policy

4. Students will prepare a persuasive speech regarding their energy proposal for the committee hearing

5. Students are assigned various roles and participate in a Energy Department hearing to try to persuade the Energy Secretary to adopt their policy
7 class periods-
weeks 8

 

 

 

 

 


PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:


an
NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award

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Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694


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Last update: November 10, 2009
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