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Expanding Measureable Student Learning about Congress through an In-Class, Effective Mock Congress
Unformatted Document Text:  8 leadership in each house. To simulate that influence, the classroom committees are selected by the Speaker of the House in the House, and by the Majority Leader in the Senate, with my assistance. I aim for a relatively equal number of students and party members on each committee group. Because there are two houses and six committees total, the size of each committee ends up being approximately 4-6 students with members from both parties. Committees are assigned the stack of student bills written on the corresponding committee topic. They are then instructed to narrow the choices of bills they will work on. Students are told that they must kill most of the bills because they only have about twenty minutes for “mark-up.” I let them know that in real life, this is a very lengthy process for most bills, but that because of political reasons, time and sheer volume; most bills are killed at the committee stage. Once committee groups have eliminated any bill that does not impress their committee, their job is to use their imaginations and add substance and detail to each bill they kept “alive;” in other words, “mark the bills up.” I instructed them to pretend that they have done research and held committee hearings. I also tell them to add details about whom, what and when. In addition, they must consider from where funding will come and who will benefit (nothing is free). In other words, if they introduce a bill that will cost money to implement, they must address from where those government funds will come. The House committees meet in one room and the Senate committees in the other. Students are free to visit other committees to work out differences or to argue on behalf of their own bills. Upon completion of the very brief mark-up, I ask for all the completed bills to be turned in to me. Floor votes are conducted by dividing the bills up according to their origination house. House members are organized in one room and Senate members in the other. The leaders of

Authors: Sabo, Joanna.
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leadership in each house. To simulate that influence, the classroom committees are selected by
the Speaker of the House in the House, and by the Majority Leader in the Senate, with my
assistance. I aim for a relatively equal number of students and party members on each
committee group. Because there are two houses and six committees total, the size of each
committee ends up being approximately 4-6 students with members from both parties.
Committees are assigned the stack of student bills written on the corresponding
committee topic. They are then instructed to narrow the choices of bills they will work on.
Students are told that they must kill most of the bills because they only have about twenty
minutes for “mark-up.” I let them know that in real life, this is a very lengthy process for most
bills, but that because of political reasons, time and sheer volume; most bills are killed at the
committee stage. Once committee groups have eliminated any bill that does not impress their
committee, their job is to use their imaginations and add substance and detail to each bill they
kept “alive;” in other words, “mark the bills up.” I instructed them to pretend that they have
done research and held committee hearings. I also tell them to add details about whom, what and
when. In addition, they must consider from where funding will come and who will benefit
(nothing is free). In other words, if they introduce a bill that will cost money to implement, they
must address from where those government funds will come.
The House committees meet in one room and the Senate committees in the other.
Students are free to visit other committees to work out differences or to argue on behalf of their
own bills. Upon completion of the very brief mark-up, I ask for all the completed bills to be
turned in to me.
Floor votes are conducted by dividing the bills up according to their origination house.
House members are organized in one room and Senate members in the other. The leaders of


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