Legislative Branch of Government
 

Roberto Jones, Grade 12

Entry Document:

Whose hopes?

The hopes of the home-renegade, 

Trapped in a binary cage, 

Labeled he

When she has chosen otherwise.                                             

Whose fears? 

The fears of the culturally-diverse, 

Stripped of their humanity, 

With a single word, 

"Illegal"

Whose values? 

The ambivalent values of American people,

 Home of the brave, 

Land of the free, 

But what is bravery and freedom, 

At the hands of violence?

Whose justice? 

Justice for a teen boy, 

Caught taking some stogs, 

Shot twice in the head, 

Bam! Bam! Now he is dead. 

What has become of the flag?

50 stars making constellations for the beautiful lives that have been lost at the hands of injustice.

Silver tongues blurring straight lines 

As politicians keep on interpreting information to benefit their arguments. 

Red 

Symbolizing the passion of successfully diminishing the arguments of the other

White a symbol for separation; 

The melting pot has been sitting out for too long, 

A coat of grime now floats on top. 

Blue 

Like the faces of all those people choking on their words while trying to incite the necessary change. 

The United States has become whitewashed by its own citizens. 

It is time to start grasping reality as crude as it may be. 

How can you make a change?

Unit Plan

CORE 21; UNIT PLANNING WORKSHEET

Name: Roberto Jones

 1. Unit topic: The Legislative Branch of the United States

2. Duration of Unit: 4 weeks (Grade level 12)

3. Topic ideas and Problem

●      Powers of Congress

●      Efficiency of Congress

●      Main Issues in Law

●      The Ideal Congress

 Problem:

The contemporary socio-political sphere of the United States is marked by social movements demanding a change in democracy and recognition by the government. While the public is clearly upset, the Legislative Branch demonstrates processes that are hindered by ideology, procedure, and systematic flaws that limit the way that they can represent the American constituents. To what extent is this true… how effective is Congress? Hence, examine the current issues of the legislative branch and design a plan to fix it. Include all the issues that you determined as problematic or controversial.

4. Standards: These will come either your own state standards or from the Common Core Standards. Include:

●     Twenty-first century skills:

○     Civic literacy

■     Participate effectively in civic life through knowing how to stay informed and understanding governmental processes.

■     Exercise the rights and obligations of citizenship at local, state, national, and global levels.

■     Understand the local and global implications of civic decisions.

○     Creative Thinking

■     Use a wide range of idea creation techniques.

■     Create new and worthwhile ideas (both incremental and radical concepts)

■     Elaborate, redefine, analyze, and evaluate their own ideas in order to improve and maximize creative efforts.

■     Work Creatively with Others
Develop, implement and communicate new ideas to others effectively

●     Be open and responsive to new and diverse perspectives; incorporate group input and feedback into the work.

●     Demonstrate originality and inventiveness in work and understand the real world limits to adopting new ideas.

●     View failure as an opportunity to learn; understand that creativity and innovation is a long-term, cyclical process of small successes and frequent mistakes.

■     Implement Innovations
            Act on creative ideas to make a tangible and useful contribution to the field in which the innovation will occur.

AERO: Social Studies (2012)

AERO: Grade 12/Government

Government

Standard 6: Students will understand why societies create and adopt systems of governance and how they address human needs, rights, responsibilities and citizenship.

6.12.f Analyze how and why political institutions distribute benefits and burdens.

6.12.h Examine the wide range of influences on policy makers.

6.12.i Evaluate various means of achieving specific political objectives.

6.12.j Discuss the significance of shared political and civic beliefs and values, and of economic prosperity, to the preservation of political organization.

6.12.k Examine the role of voluntary, community and non‐ governmental groups in society and their relationship to the functions of political organizations.

6.12.l Evaluate functions and responsibilities of, and challenges to, leadership.

PYP: Social Studies (2008)

PYP

Strands

Social studies strands

Human systems and economic activities

Social organization and culture

Skills

Social Studies Skills

d. Identify roles, rights and responsibilities in society

Overall Expectations

Overall expectations in social studies: 9–12 years

Students will recognize different aspects of human society, focusing on themselves and others within their own community as well as groups of people that are distant in time and place.

They will extend their understanding of how and why groups are organized within communities, and how participation within groups involves both rights and responsibilities

They will understand the interdependency of systems and their function within local and national communities.

PYP

Thinking Skills

Skills

Acquisition of Knowledge: gain specific facts, ideas vocabulary; remember in a similar form

Application: making use of previously acquired knowledge in practical or new ways

Analysis: taking knowledge or ideas apart; separating into component parts; seeing relationships; finding unique characteristics

Synthesis: combining parts to create wholes; creating, designing, developing, and innovating

Dialectical thinking: thinking about two or more points of view at the same time; understanding both points of view; being able to construct an argument; for either point of view based on the knowledge of the other; realizing that others can also take one's own point of view

Social Skills

Skills

Accepting responsibility: taking on and completing tasks in an appropriate manner; being willing to assume a share of the responsibility.

Cooperating: working cooperatively in a group; being courteous to others sharing materials; taking turns.

Group decision making: listening to others; discussing ideas; asking questions; working towards and obtaining consensus

Adopting a variety of group roles: understanding what behavior is appropriate in a given situation and acting accordingly; being a leader in some circumstances, a follower in others

Communication Skills

Skills

Speaking: speaking clearly; giving oral reports to small and large groups; expressing ideas clearly and logically; stating opinions

Viewing: Interpreting and analysing visuals and multimedia; understanding the ways in which images and language interact to convey ideas, values and beliefs; making informed choices about personal viewing experiences.

Presenting: Constructing visuals and multimedia for a range of purposes and audiences; communicating information and ideas through a variety of visual media; using appropriate technology for effective presentation and representation.

Non-verbal communication: recognizing the meaning of visual and kinesthetic communication

Self-management Skills

Skills

Organization: planning and carrying out activities effectively

Time management: using time effectively and appropriately

Research Skills

Skills

Observing: using all the senses to notice relevant details

Collecting data: gathering information from a variety of sources, such as measuring, maps, polls, surveys, direct observation, resource books, films, people and exhibitions

Interpreting data: drawing conclusions from relationships and patterns which emerge from organized data

Presenting research findings: effectively communicating what has been learned; choosing appropriate media

5. Objectives: 

●     Students will be able to participate effectively in civic life through an in-depth understanding of the powers of Congress, its structure, and systemic processes.

●     Students will analyze and create a visualization of the process of a bill becoming a law.

●     Students will be able to understand the implications of this process and the role of the actors involved.

●     Students will be able to identify and analyze the issues of and that are dealt with in Congress through a debate.

●     Students will develop a presentation that evaluates the effectiveness of Congress and provides a solution to any issues that are presented.

6. Student Intake

“The overall unit is very well planned, there is a clear plan and goals to be met, with a very descriptive section per each goal describing how the students will reach the goal and contribute to the class. However, the overall content seems to be very in depth perhaps to much for an overview class. This means that the unit as a whole could be briefer and instead of looking at the minute detail we should look at the how and why of the legislative branch. This will be a good way to see how each element studied applies to the real world.” - Students

7. How will you assess your students?

            I will assess them through visualizations and a quiz for a formative understanding of the basic concepts that surround the Legislative Branch of the United States. The students will also have a discussion addressing the main issues that are addressed in Congress today and why they are controversial. The summative assessment will be two-fold: the development of a bill for school that addresses an issue within the school system and a presentation that evaluates the effectiveness of Congress today. 

8. Design all assessments prior to beginning instruction—this is the heart of backward design. 

●     Quiz to check for understanding of the basic facts.

●     Visualization/Exposition of Congress in Action

○     You will be divided into four groups. Each group will be assigned a topic: Organization in the House, Organization in the Senate, and How a Bill Becomes a LawStarting in the House, and How a Bill Becomes a Law Starting in the Senate.

○     You will create a visual and/or auditory presentation for the topic. You can choose from the following: an art piece, a presentation, or a video performance. 

○     For organization presentations make sure you cover the leadership in both parties, main committees and their leaders, etc.  If you have a question be sure to ask.  It needs to be current information! 

○     For the process legislation goes through (How a Bill Becomes a Law) you will explain the step-by-step process that a bill will go through to become a law. You can use a hypothetical bill or use a real one that has gone through the process.  You need to explain to the class what that process is though step-by-step.

○     Be sure to use visual elements and design thinking.

●     Discussion about the legal changes or processes that need to be done 

○     Prep Research: Please fill out this worksheet in order to prep for your debate. 

○     You will be split into Republicans and Democrats

○     The objective of this debate is to pinpoint and evaluate why these issues are the most important in Congress today.

●     Craft a law to pass it in Congress. 

○     Students functioned as the legislative branch, meeting with constituents (students in other classes) and writing the proposed legislation. 

○     Principal was the executive branch, and had to sign the legislation into law. 

○     The teachers were the judicial branch, enforcing the laws once approved.

●     Summative: Presentation

○     How efficient is the Legislative Branch? What would you improve it? How should it deal with the issues that are relevant today?

 9. Design rubrics for your assessments for all of the concepts and standards you will be working on. 

●     Rubric for Summative Presentation

10. Clearly work out and share your unit’s essential questions.

●     Is Congress effective?

●     Factual

○     What is the purpose and powers of Congress?

○     What is the process of passing a bill?

○     What are the primary topics that are dealt by Congress today?

●     Analytical

○     What are the implications of Judicial Powers?

○     What are the limitations of the Judicial Branch?

○     How are constituents represented in Congress?

○     What is the role of Congress in amending the Constitution?

●     Conceptual

○     What is the purpose of having the House and the Senate debate the same bill?

○     To what extent are lobbyists part of an issue within Congress?

○     To what extent is the procedure within Congress detrimental to its function?

○     To what extent do political parties play a role in law-making?

○     What would be an ideal Congress based on the veil of ignorance?

11. If you are working on a problem or project based unit (both are known as PBL)design out your entry

activity

12. If you are working on a PBL, clearly work out your statements of the problem to be solved.

            The contemporary socio-political sphere of the United States is marked by social movements demanding a change in democracy and recognition by the government. While the public is clearly upset, the Legislative Branch demonstrates processes that are hindered by ideology, procedure, and systematic flaws that limit the way that they can represent the American constituents. To what extent is this true… how effective is Congress? Hence, examine the current issues of the legislative branch and design a plan to fix itt. Include all the issues that you determined as problematic or controversial.

13. Plan your anticipated sequence of instruction for the unit.

●     Legislative Branch Current Event

○     Find a current (past month) news article from a reputable news source about the Legislative Branch of government.  Read the article, summarize it, and be prepared to share.

●     General explanation about the legislative branch.

○     Review Questions

○     The Powers of Congress

■     Presentation

■     Questions

○     The Implied Powers of Congress

■     Presentation

■     Questions

○     The Non-legislative Powers

■     Presentation

■     Questions

○     Differentiated Powers Worksheet

●     Get acquainted with the Congress website

○     On PSL Discussions post what you found most interesting.

●     Quiz to check for understanding of the basic facts.

●     Visualization/Exposition of Congress in Action

○     You will be divided into four groups. Each group will be assigned a topic: Organization in the House, Organization in the Senate, and How a Bill Becomes a LawStarting in the House, and How a Bill Becomes a Law Starting in the Senate.

○     You will create a visual and/or auditory presentation for the topic. You can choose from the following: an art piece, a presentation, or a video performance. 

○     For organization presentations make sure you cover the leadership in both parties, main committees and their leaders, etc.  If you have a question be sure to ask.  It needs to be current information! 

○     For the process legislation goes through (How a Bill Becomes a Law) you will explain the step-by-step process that a bill will go through to become a law. You can use a hypothetical bill or use a real one that has gone through the process.  You need to explain to the class what that process is though step-by-step.

○     Be sure to use visual elements and design thinking.

●     Play iCivics: Law Craft

○     You need to craft and get passed/signed into law 2 separate bills one starting on the House with a party, and one started in the Senate with the other party. You need to post evidence of your two bills being passed on PowerSchool Learning. 

●     Discussion about the legal changes or processes that need to be done 

○     Prep Research: Please fill out this worksheet in order to prep for your debate. 

○     You will be split into Republicans and Democrats

○     The objective of this debate is to pinpoint and evaluate why these issues are the most important in Congress today.

●     Craft a law to pass it in Congress. 

○     Students functioned as the legislative branch, meeting with constituents (students in other classes) and writing the proposed legislation. 

○     Principal was the executive branch, and had to sign the legislation into law. 

○     The teachers were the judicial branch, enforcing the laws once approved.

●     Summative: Presentation

○     How efficient is the Legislative Branch? What would you improve it? How should it deal with the issues that are relevant today?

○     You will be creating a Google Slides answering these questions and synthesizing the content that we have seen in class thus far. 

○     You will have to develop criteria to analyse the effectiveness of the Legislative Branch, evaluate your criteria and evaluate the branch against it. 

○     You will also have to develop a conclusion that showcases an ideal Congress.

○     Design an ideal Congress based on the veil of ignorance. 

14. What will you have to differentiate?

            This unit will be differentiated by process and: how students take in and make sense of the content and how students showcase their understanding respectively. Some of the formative assessments are based on the students’ abilities to develop a any given product to demonstrate competency and understanding of the concept required by the unit. On the other hand, the students will be able to explore a wide variety of techniques to be able to understand the powers, processes, and evaluate the effectiveness of Congress. 

15. What needs have to be addressed?

There are no students with special needs in the classroom and differentiation will cover the skills and abilities of each student disregarding their level. 

16. Anticipate potential problems.

 Senioritis, having students turn assignments in on time. Bad responses from the school about project with passing a bill. Misjudgement in time required per assignment. 

17. Check the level of rigor.    

Throughout this unit students are going to be able to develop different levels of understanding of the Legislative Branch. The first level is strictly factual; the students will be memorizing the basic information about Congress. Then they will have to be able understand such information, analyze it, and apply it by creating a bill to pass to Congress. The summative assignment will be able to showcase authenticity and true learning.

In this way the unit will involve a progression from level 1 of Bloom’s to level 6.

1. Remember, Recall

2. Understand (Interpreting, Exemplifying, Inferring, Comparing, Explaining)

3. Apply (Executing, Implementing)

4. Analyze (Differentiating, Organizing)

5. Evaluate (Checking, Critiquing)

6. Create (Generating, Planning, Producing)

18. What instructional tools do you need?

I will be using a projector and Google Slides which I have access to in my classroom. Furthermore, I will be using craft materials for the visualizations, however, those are easily available at school as well. No other instructional tools are needed. 

19.  What vocabulary do you have to teach?

●     Congress

●     House of Representatives

●     The Senate

●     Democrat

●     Republican

●     Bill

●     Gerrymandering

●     Lobbyist

●     Power

●     Implied Powers

●     Explicit Powers

●     Filibuster

●     Cloture

●     Executive Veto

20.  If you are working on a PBL students will have to make a final presentation. Plan your audience.

I will be inviting admin and other teachers to the presentation, however, the focus of it is for students to understand how each group analyzed and evaluated the effectiveness of Congress and the multiple solutions that they could find. 

 

 
 

 

Legislative Branches of the American Government