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Teaching American Political Institutions Using Role-playing Simulations
Unformatted Document Text:  16 1. Congress does not have to listen to interest groups at all 2. There is a very small likelihood that any congress member will change his or her mind as a result of hearing testimony. Among those who did not play senators, the following are typical responses: This simulation isn't quite as clear in my head. I think to me, it reminded me of one of our usual small-group discussions in which we would break into groups and discuss an issue. I suppose what I gathered from that experience is that governmental committees are simply small-group discussion much like we have in class. It sort of brought the whole political process on a more tangible level as something I could relate to. It is hard to come up with a consensus. Everybody has different ideas about what is right and different reasons for supporting issues. I learned the functions of a congressional committee and how members are selected. I remember that in what congressional committee you were on meant the power you had. Also, as a representative there are certain committees you want to be on to help you constituents. lots of different interest groups. decisions are mostly based on previous personal opinions and the abilities of the debater (not necessarily what is 'right') In conclusion, I believe the congressional committee simulation, with improvements, can be a highly effective means to teach students about the interaction between interest groups and Congress. Clearly, this simulation did not fully live up to the learning objectives I set for myself, but I was satisfied that students learned enough about the process through this simulation to have made it worthwhile. 2. U.S. Senate Floor Debate Simulation Learning Objectives The Senate floor debate simulation was taught during the week we covered the U.S. Congress. Prior to the simulation, students were expected to read the relevant U.S. Congress chapter in their textbook, in addition to attending the professor’s lecture on Congress. Because Congress is a vast topic, my learning objectives for the simulation were limited, but consistent

Authors: Gonzales, Angelo.
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1. Congress does not have to listen to interest groups at all 2. There is a very small
likelihood that any congress member will change his or her mind as a result of hearing
testimony.
Among those who did not play senators, the following are typical responses:
This simulation isn't quite as clear in my head. I think to me, it reminded me of one of our
usual small-group discussions in which we would break into groups and discuss an issue.
I suppose what I gathered from that experience is that governmental committees are
simply small-group discussion much like we have in class. It sort of brought the whole
political process on a more tangible level as something I could relate to.

It is hard to come up with a consensus. Everybody has different ideas about what is right
and different reasons for supporting issues.

I learned the functions of a congressional committee and how members are selected.

I remember that in what congressional committee you were on meant the power you had.
Also, as a representative there are certain committees you want to be on to help you
constituents.

lots of different interest groups. decisions are mostly based on previous personal opinions
and the abilities of the debater (not necessarily what is 'right')

In conclusion, I believe the congressional committee simulation, with improvements, can
be a highly effective means to teach students about the interaction between interest groups and
Congress. Clearly, this simulation did not fully live up to the learning objectives I set for myself,
but I was satisfied that students learned enough about the process through this simulation to have
made it worthwhile.
2. U.S. Senate Floor Debate Simulation
Learning Objectives
The Senate floor debate simulation was taught during the week we covered the U.S.
Congress. Prior to the simulation, students were expected to read the relevant U.S. Congress
chapter in their textbook, in addition to attending the professor’s lecture on Congress. Because
Congress is a vast topic, my learning objectives for the simulation were limited, but consistent


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