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Fantasy Congress: It’s for Real
Unformatted Document Text:  the professor. Upon walking in the room as early as ten minutes before the start of class it was not unusual to find student engaged in discussion about the new point totals on “Fantasy Congress” and how team members were scoring points and why they were scoring points. Evaluation of Congress Members’ Contributions Playing “Fantasy Congress” as part of the course encouraged students to evaluate Congress members’ contributions and compare how points are assigned in the game to real life contributions to the institution (see Appendix C for a list of point allocations). Without instructor prompting, the “Fantasy Congress” point system integrated critical analysis skills throughout the entire semester. For instance, in the game members score points for each piece of legislation introduced, even if that legislation is never actually debated in committee (in other words, it has no chance of becoming law, and quite often the member introducing it knows that before drafting and submitting the legislation). The assignment of points in this manner caused repeated examination of what it means to be a “good” Congress member by students. How can introducing a meaningless bill score points? How come the majority leader does not receive any points for “Meet the Press” appearances? The minority leader is in the New York Times every week while the non- voting member from a U.S. protectorate scores more points; how can this be? Rather than accept the point system as it was designed or grumble about unfair scoring, students routinely engaged in “redesigning” the point system in a manner which would more accurately reflect power, importance, and contributions of members. Oftentimes, students engaged in this critical analysis outside of class time and with or without 10

Authors: Hora, Jennifer.
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the professor. Upon walking in the room as early as ten minutes before the start of class
it was not unusual to find student engaged in discussion about the new point totals on
“Fantasy Congress” and how team members were scoring points and why they were
scoring points.
Evaluation of Congress Members’ Contributions
Playing “Fantasy Congress” as part of the course encouraged students to evaluate
Congress members’ contributions and compare how points are assigned in the game to
real life contributions to the institution (see Appendix C for a list of point allocations).
Without instructor prompting, the “Fantasy Congress” point system integrated critical
analysis skills throughout the entire semester. For instance, in the game members score
points for each piece of legislation introduced, even if that legislation is never actually
debated in committee (in other words, it has no chance of becoming law, and quite often
the member introducing it knows that before drafting and submitting the legislation). The
assignment of points in this manner caused repeated examination of what it means to be a
“good” Congress member by students. How can introducing a meaningless bill score
points? How come the majority leader does not receive any points for “Meet the Press”
appearances? The minority leader is in the New York Times every week while the non-
voting member from a U.S. protectorate scores more points; how can this be? Rather
than accept the point system as it was designed or grumble about unfair scoring, students
routinely engaged in “redesigning” the point system in a manner which would more
accurately reflect power, importance, and contributions of members. Oftentimes,
students engaged in this critical analysis outside of class time and with or without
10


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