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Teaching American Political Institutions Using Role-playing Simulations
Unformatted Document Text:  41 Preparing For The Simulation Before coming to section, you will be expected to know your role and to have at least some rudimentary knowledge of the issue you will be debating. Here are some tips for how you might prepare: (1) Read the Almanac of American Politics profile that I placed in your drop box. Pay special attention to whether or not your senator has any military bases in his or her state, and think carefully about whether or not this might influence your decision. (2) Scan your senator’s official and campaign web sites for press releases and position statements on the war in Iraq. (3) Read newspaper articles from your senator’s home state to find out if they have made any public statements on the issue (see below). (4) Search the Congressional Record for statements by your senator on this issue (see below). You should especially search for statements during the Senate’s actual debate on this issue in June 2006. (5) Go to interest group web sites to find out what they think about the issue. (6) Go to http://www.opensecrets.org to find out how much campaign money your senator has received from different interest groups. (This may or may not influence your vote; it’s simply one factor among many to consider.) (7) Read or skim the Congressional Research Service report that I posted to bSpace, entitled ―Iraq: Post-Saddam Governance and Security.‖ Pages 40-44 are most directly relevant to our debate. (8) Read or skim the Foreign Affairs roundtable that I posted to bSpace on ―What to do in Iraq.‖ This will give you a more general introduction to the major arguments for and against troop withdrawal. (9) If you think you might want to offer your own amendment, you should come to class with your amendment already drafted (or in outline form). I don’t expect you to become experts on the war in Iraq or to know every last detail about the senator you are playing. In real life, senators rarely have time to become experts themselves, even on issues as important as Iraq. Instead, they are often called upon to make decisions about complex issues with little notice and often little understanding of the consequences of their actions. As in real life, I will leave it up to you to decide how knowledgeable you want to be about this issue, but I nonetheless expect you to have spent at least some time preparing for your role. (At a minimum, you should read the Almanac profile and search for prior statements by your senator on Iraq.) Post-Simulation Memorandum During the week following the simulation, everyone will be required to submit a 1-page memorandum summarizing what you learned about Congress during the simulation. I will provide you with questions to help focus your analysis. In return for requiring you to write this memo, you will not have to write discussion questions this week or next (in other words, you will get credit for the memo as if you had submitted discussion questions instead).

Authors: Gonzales, Angelo.
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41

Preparing For The Simulation

Before coming to section, you will be expected to know your role and to have at least some rudimentary
knowledge of the issue you will be debating. Here are some tips for how you might prepare:

(1) Read the Almanac of American Politics profile that I placed in your drop box. Pay special attention to
whether or not your senator has any military bases in his or her state, and think carefully about whether or
not this might influence your decision.

(2) Scan your senator’s official and campaign web sites for press releases and position statements on the
war in Iraq.

(3) Read newspaper articles from your senator’s home state to find out if they have made any public
statements on the issue (see below).

(4) Search the Congressional Record for statements by your senator on this issue (see below). You
should especially search for statements during the Senate’s actual debate on this issue in June 2006.

(5) Go to interest group web sites to find out what they think about the issue.

(6) Go to
to find out how much campaign money your senator has received
from different interest groups. (This may or may not influence your vote; it’s simply one factor among
many to consider.)

(7) Read or skim the Congressional Research Service report that I posted to bSpace, entitled ―Iraq: Post-
Saddam Governance and Security.‖ Pages 40-44 are most directly relevant to our debate.

(8) Read or skim the Foreign Affairs roundtable that I posted to bSpace on ―What to do in Iraq.‖ This
will give you a more general introduction to the major arguments for and against troop withdrawal.

(9) If you think you might want to offer your own amendment, you should come to class with your
amendment already drafted (or in outline form).

I don’t expect you to become experts on the war in Iraq or to know every last detail about the senator you
are playing. In real life, senators rarely have time to become experts themselves, even on issues as
important as Iraq. Instead, they are often called upon to make decisions about complex issues with little
notice and often little understanding of the consequences of their actions. As in real life, I will leave it up
to you to decide how knowledgeable you want to be about this issue, but I nonetheless expect you to have
spent at least some time preparing for your role. (At a minimum, you should read the Almanac profile
and search for prior statements by your senator on Iraq.)

Post-Simulation Memorandum

During the week following the simulation, everyone will be required to submit a 1-page memorandum
summarizing what you learned about Congress during the simulation. I will provide you with questions
to help focus your analysis. In return for requiring you to write this memo, you will not have to write
discussion questions this week or next (in other words, you will get credit for the memo as if you had
submitted discussion questions instead).



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