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Expanding Measureable Student Learning about Congress through an In-Class, Effective Mock Congress
Unformatted Document Text:  4 • Instruct students to meet in the reserved conference rooms. • Define various terms and vocabulary. 5. Conduct mock congress activities. 6. Discuss review questions. 7. Write and administer exam questions (imbedded in a broader midterm exam). Student Team Selection When dividing the students into two houses I take some liberties with mathematics. I explain to the students that although “in real life” the house has a much larger membership than the senate, we will be dividing students into relatively equal groups to represent two houses, or chambers. I then ask students to stand along opposite walls of the classroom according to whether or not they feel they are more liberal or conservative. (We have already covered basic American ideologies.) If there is a substantially higher number of liberals, or a higher number of conservatives, I ask for some “actors” to help me out and switch sides. I indicate that they will need to behave and think like the group with which they are aligned. I then discuss how although not all democrats are liberal and not all republican conservative, we are going to play them along those ideological lines; therefore, the side of the room that is liberal will play Democrats, and the side of the room which is conservative will play Republicans. Independents or third parties will not be represented in our simulation. After the students are divided into lines along the walls according to ideology, I assign half of each group to the house and half to the senate. The result is four groups of approximately 6-8 students representing Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans, House Democrats, and House Republicans. Following the team division I give a brief overview of the exercise including a short discussion of what motivates members of congress to pass bills. My classroom has a

Authors: Sabo, Joanna.
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4
Instruct students to meet in the reserved conference rooms.
Define various terms and vocabulary.
5. Conduct mock congress activities.
6. Discuss review questions.

7. Write and administer exam questions (imbedded in a broader midterm exam).


Student Team Selection
When dividing the students into two houses I take some liberties with mathematics. I
explain to the students that although “in real life” the house has a much larger membership than
the senate, we will be dividing students into relatively equal groups to represent two houses, or
chambers. I then ask students to stand along opposite walls of the classroom according to
whether or not they feel they are more liberal or conservative. (We have already covered basic
American ideologies.) If there is a substantially higher number of liberals, or a higher number of
conservatives, I ask for some “actors” to help me out and switch sides. I indicate that they will
need to behave and think like the group with which they are aligned. I then discuss how
although not all democrats are liberal and not all republican conservative, we are going to play
them along those ideological lines; therefore, the side of the room that is liberal will play
Democrats, and the side of the room which is conservative will play Republicans. Independents
or third parties will not be represented in our simulation.
After the students are divided into lines along the walls according to ideology, I assign
half of each group to the house and half to the senate. The result is four groups of approximately
6-8 students representing Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans, House Democrats, and House
Republicans. Following the team division I give a brief overview of the exercise including a
short discussion of what motivates members of congress to pass bills. My classroom has a


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