Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Makers of the Law, The Legislative Branch

Sandi King
Bay District Schools

Description

Who makes the law? Students learn about the legislative branch of government, its structure, function, and basic responsibility, as well as whom their legislative representatives are. This lesson focuses on state and county legislatures.

Objectives

The student understands the functions of government under the framework of the Florida Constitution.

The student understands the structure, functions, and primary responsibilities of executive, legislative, and judicial branches of Florida government.

The student knows the names of his or her representatives at the local and state level (for example, mayor, governor, city council members, state legislative representatives).

The student knows basic things Florida government does in one's school, community, state, and nation.

Materials

- Giesecke, Ernestine. [National Government, Kidsí Guide]. Chicago. Heinemann Library, 2000.
- Giesecke, Ernestine. [State Government, Kidsí Guide]. Chicago. Heinemann Library, 2000.
- The Florida Constitution
- Any reference books you can locate on the legislative branch of government
- [School House Rock! America Rock]. Disney Corp. 1997.
- A VCR and television
- At least one computer with Internet access
- Student copies of the Legislative Branch of Florida Government Checklist from the associated files
- Legislative Information List, one per group, from the associated files
- One copy of the Legislative Information List, teacher key from the associated files
- Names of Elected Officials, Legislative Branch, one per group, from the associated files
- Student copies of the Florida Government, Function and Responsibility graphic organizer from the associated files
- One copy of the Florida Government, Function and Responsibility graphic organizer, teacher key from the associated files
- Student copies of the Florida Government, Elected Officials graphic organizer from the associated files
- One copy of the Florida Government, Elected Officials graphic organizer, teacher key from the associated files
- Student copies of the County Government, Elected Officials graphic organizer from the associated files
- One copy of the County Government, Elected Officials graphic organizer, teacher key from the associated files
- Formative Assessment Checklist for each student (used in previous lessons with this unit) available from the unitís associated files
- Overhead projector
- Overhead writing pens

Preparations

1. Locate and preview [National Government, Kidsí Guide] by Giesecke, Ernestine. Chicago. Heinemann Library, 2000.
2. Locate and preview [State Government, Kidsí Guide] by Giesecke, Ernestine. Chicago. Heinemann Library, 2000.
3. Locate the copy of The Florida Constitution used in yesterdayís lesson.
4. Locate any reference books you can containing information on the legislative branch of government.
5. Locate and preview the portion of the video called Iím Just a Bill from the video [School House Rock! America Rock]. Disney Corp. 1997.
6. Locate and set up a VCR and television for class viewing.
7. Locate at least one computer with Internet access. It would be great if this computer also was capable of displaying the image. Most media centers now have projectors that display computer screens. This will save the teacher from having to print maps and lists of officials ahead of time and also varies the media used to share information. Integrating computer use with the content increases student attentiveness.
8. Download, print and duplicate the Legislative Branch of Florida Government Checklist from the associated files for each student.
9. Download, print and duplicate the Legislative Information List from the associated files for each group.
10. Download and print one copy of the Legislative Information List, teacher key from the associated files.
11. Download, print and duplicate the Names of Elected Officials, Legislative Branch from the associated files for each group.
12. Download, print and duplicate the Florida Government, Function and Responsibility graphic organizer from the associated files for each student.
13. Download and print one copy of the Florida Government, Function and Responsibility graphic organizer, teacher key from the associated files
14. Download, print and duplicate the Florida Government, Elected Officials graphic organizer from the associated files for each student.
15. Download and print one copy of the Florida Government, Elected Officials graphic organizer, teacher key from the associated files.
16. Download, print and duplicate the County Government, Elected Officials graphic organizer from the associated files for each student.
17. Download and print one copy of the County Government, Elected Officials graphic organizer, teacher key from the associated files.
18. Locate the Formative Assessment Checklist for each student used in previous lessons with this unit. This checklist is available from the unitís associated files. See the Extensions section of this lesson plan.
19. Locate an overhead projector. Be sure it is in working order.
20. Locate a couple of overhead writing pens.

Procedures

Note: This is the sixth of nine lesson plans to the unit, We the People, and will be used on day six of the unit. Only social studies content is addressed in this lesson. Reading, math and writing standards are integrated with this unit and are addressed in the lesson plans Class President (reading), Buying and Budgets (math), and Getting to Know Our Elected Officials (writing). See the Unit Plan Overview from the unitís associated files for guidance in how to organize the teaching of the lesson plans.

Note: This lesson addresses only the legislative branch of Florida government. The executive and judicial branches will be taught in lessons seven and eight of the unit.

1. To gain studentsí attention and to remind them of previously taught content, ask students to turn to their neighbor and tell one thing that they did yesterday that shows good citizenship. Allow 30 seconds for this sharing.

2. Call on several individuals to share their display of citizenship with the class.

3. Remind students of the class citizenship project and note how it is progressing.

4. Tell students that one way to show citizenship is to be elected to serve in the government. As a review of the branches of government, ask which branch of Florida government makes the laws to help and protect the people.

5. Tell students that today they will be learning about the legislative branch of government and the people elected to represent us in this branch.

6. Review the Comparing Government bulletin board that is on display in the classroom. Draw studentsí attention to the Legislative row of the bulletin board. Specifically, discuss the first section of the legislative branch that has a reminder that the legislative branch makes laws. This will give purpose for viewing the video.

7. Show the video [School House Rock! America Rock], Iím Just a Bill.

8. Discuss the video and how laws are made. Stress that the legislative branch of government is the only branch that can make laws. The video introduces Congress, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. Be sure to discuss each of these parts of the legislative branch.

9. Ask students if they know anything about how Florida is divided into government districts. Remind students that there are two parts to Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives (often called the House). Explain that the state is divided into Senate districts and House districts in order to elect representatives from all the areas of Florida, not just from some areas. To find out who represents us, we must first find out our Senate district and our House district.

10. Show students a map of Florida divided into Senate districts from the Web resource, Senate Districts from the Weblinks section of this lesson plan. Determine the Senate district for your school. Write the Senate district on the board for future reference. If a computer is not available for the class discussion of Senate districts, print the map from this page at an earlier time and refer to the printed map. Note: Senate and House districts are not the same.


11. Show students a map of Florida divided into House of Representatives districts from the Web resource, Florida House of Representatives, District Information, from the Weblinks section of this lesson plan. Determine the House district for your school. Write the House district on the board for future reference. If a computer is not available for the class discussion of House districts, print the map from this page at an earlier time and refer to the printed map. Note: Senate and House districts are not the same.

12. The class will be divided into groups. The number of groups will depend on the resources available. If multiple computers connected to the Web are available, such as a computer lab, more groups can be created. If computer access is at a minimum, four groups can be used. All but one of the groups will be completing Legislative Information List. The final group (or two if computers are available) will be collecting names of legislatures and completing the Names of Elected Officials, Legislative Branch handout.

13. Reference materials are available for each group gathering information on the legislative branch and completing the Legislative Information List. Materials include [National Government, Kidsí Guide] plus any reference materials you have located from your library for one group. Another group will use [State Government, Kidsí Guide] plus any reference materials you have located from your library. A third group will use the printed copy of the Florida Constitution. Only one Legislative Information List is needed per group.

14. To be sure all information is gathered, assign different groups different parts of the list to complete.

15. The final group will need a computer or may use a printed copy of the names of your representatives that you have previously gathered from the Websites in the Weblinks section of this lesson plan. This group will need the Names of Legislators form.

16. Depending on the number of groups researching names, you may want to assign state officials to one group and county officials to another group.

17. Allow about twenty minutes for groups to locate and compile the information to complete their forms.

18. Using the Legislative Branch Information teacher key as a guide, circulate and assist students in locating appropriate information. Since the names of elected officials will vary depending of the location, each teacher must develop an answer key of this information reflecting the specific location. Formatively assess individualsí knowledge and mark the Formative Assessment Checklist as appropriate.

19. At this time, there are many groups, each group with part of the information that all students need. Groups will be sharing their information with the class. In the end, all students will have all information. This type of learning activity is a version of the jigsaw cooperative learning strategy. For more information on the jigsaw strategy, see the Weblinks section of this lesson plan.

20. Pass Florida Government, Function and Responsibility graphic organizers to each student.

21. Use the transparency for the Florida Government, Function and Responsibility graphic organizer as the sharing device. Place the transparency on the overhead. Begin at the top of graphic organizer and ask for information gathered. As information is shared, discuss the information to aid student understanding. It may be necessary to translate the information into student friendly language. Write the information on the transparency. A teacher key is available from the associated files with suggested answers.

22. In order for this lesson to relate to the math lesson for this unit, one of the responsibilities listed MUST be that responsibility for spending the stateís money, the budget (Florida Constitution, Article III, Section 19).

23. Students copy the information from the transparency to their individual Florida Government, Function and Responsibility graphic organizers.

24. Continue this process until the legislative section of the graphic organizer is complete. These organizers should be placed in the studentsí We the People journals to be completed in future lessons and used as references and study guides.

25. Pass out the graphic organizers Florida Government, Elected Officials and County Government, Elected Officials to each student.

26. Repeat the sharing procedure using the transparencies for Florida Government, Elected Officials and County Government, Elected Officials. Be sure to confirm that the students found elected officials for the districts established earlier in the lesson. Only the legislative sections of these graphic organizers are to be completed today. Note: The Elected Officials teacher keys available with this lesson were developed for Bay County, Florida, Senate District 4, House District 6.

27. The graphic organizers are to remain in the journals, stapled to the back inside cover or placed in a pocket of the cover, as they will be completed in future lessons and then used as study guides while preparing for the summative assessment later in the unit.

28. Tell students that now is the time to show what they know about the legislative branch of government.

29. Pass out the Legislative Branch of Florida Government Checklist to each student. Discuss the requirements of todayís journal entry. Discuss how to self assess using the checklist. Students may use the graphic organizers from todayís lesson while writing in their journals. All criteria listed on the checklist should be included.

30. Remind students that their writing must be focused. Supporting details with sources should be included. Correct capitalization, punctuation, and indentation should be used.

31. Allow students time to write in their journals.

32. As students write, circulate and formatively assess their knowledge of selected standards. Mini conferences may be appropriate to gain an insight into the individualsí knowledge. Mark the Formative Assessment Checklists as appropriate.

33. Collect the journals. Using the checklist as a guide, formatively assess the writings for the standard related content, both social studies and writing. Feedback should be written in the journal and must address only the criteria for standards being assessed. Mark the Formative Assessment Checklists.

Assessments

Formative Assessment Ė Students write a journal entry to describe the legislative branch of the Florida government. Included in the journal entry will be information on the function of the legislative branch under the framework of the Florida government established by the constitution. The student must also include the main offices (structure), the main duties (functions), and responsibilities of the legislative branch. Names of state and local legislatures will be included, as well as what state legislatures do for the school, community, state, and nation.

A checklist of requirements is provided and explained to students prior to writing.

After reviewing these journal entries, the teacher will evaluate studentsí progress and reteach as necessary to insure complete understanding. Formative feedback will be written on the journal pages before they are returned to the students.

Additional informal formative assessments will be administered daily as the students are learning about the legislative branch of Floridaís government. These assessments are addressed when they occur within the procedures of the lesson.

Extensions

1. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: http://www.beaconlearningcenter.com/search/details.asp?item=5197. Once you select the unitís link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files.
2. Ask students to bring articles from the newspaper that mention Congress, the Senate, the House of Representatives, or dealing with passing a law.
3. A computer lab can be used while locating names of elected officials. This then becomes a whole class activity rather than part of the jigsaw.

Web Links

1. Link to your state or local government from this site.
State and Local Government on the Net

2. This resource contains a list of all elected officials including national, state, county, and city. Links to individual Web pages and email addresses are available for each official.
Elected Officials

3. This is a Bay County resource and is the search page to find your specific districts and the elected officials for the districts. Select Find Your Precinct from the buttons on the left. Type the school address in the search box and select the correct zip code. The search will provide precinct information, voting location, and the names and districts for all elected officials for your school area.
Supervisor of Elections, Bay County, FL

4. This map shows the Senate districts for the state of Florida.
Senate District Map

5. This resource gives links to each branch of government as well as to the House and Senate of the legislative branch.
MyFlorida, Government

6. To find your Senate district and senator, type your zip code plus the next four digits of the zip code in the search box. This page also has the link to the Senate district map.
MyFlorida, Senate

7. This map shows the House districts for the state of Florida.
Florida House of Representatives, District Information

8. To find your House district and representative, type your zip code plus the next four digits of the zip code in the search box.
Florida House of Representatives, Find Your Representative

9. This site is a teacher resource for the jigsaw cooperative learning strategy.
Jigsaw Strategy

10. This site has a really nice graphic of the framework of three branches of government emphasizing that the framework is a product of the Constitution. Links to more information about the individual branches are also available.
Benís Guide to US Government for Kids

11. Learn all about the U.S. Congress and how it operates. Other topics include how laws are made and bills that are vetoed.
The Legislative Branch

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