Model Congress 2016Overview
The 7th Grade Model Congress Project is a long-term assignment designed to give students a first hand experience participating in the Legislative Process. Students will apply their understanding of several units of study to draft, propose, advocate and vote on student-generated bills. These bills will focus on a variety of current federal and state issues that are relevant to the national debate. Students will be encourage to examine the impact of these issues on national, state, local and personal perspectives.FormatThe Model Congress Project is organized to closely resemble the Legislative Process of our national government. Students will assume the role of a Representative or a Senator and will work in small groups (caucuses) to research a current problem or issue concerning their constituents. Students will research all elements of the issue including: relevant background information, data identifying the problem, the connection with the US Constitution, similar legislation, judicial precedents, and the impact of proposed Congressional action (monetary, environmental, etc).Ultimately, the student groups will draft a new bill to address the problem or concern. This bill will then proceed through the legislative process. The student legislation will need to survive the committee review process, be placed on the legislative calendar and head to the House or the Senate for a floor vote.Steps of the ProjectBills "in-committee"
Each teacher will be responsible for finding 5 Bills from their 5 classes. The selected bills will be determined through the strength of the group’s final drafted legislation as well as the group's presentation of the Bill to the class. This presentation will act like the “report of the committee” and must include: 1) research demonstrating need, constitutional support of legislation, analysis of economic impact and appropriations, Supreme Court precedents and possible arguments against. All members of the group must participate in the presentation of the Bill and must be available to answer questions posed by students. Teachers, along with students, will rate each Bill and its supporting presentation. This rating will determine which bill will rise out of the committee and be placed on the legislative calendar.
Bills "On the Calendar”
The five rising bills from each teacher will be posted online. This posting will include the drafted Bill (complete with official HR/SR number and title) and a modified “report of the committee” materials. Every student will have time to research a bill drafted by another teacher's class. Students will then prepare speeches which support or oppose the proposed legislation. This speech may be delivered by the student on Model Congress Day (March 24th.) The student group responsible for a rising bill will use this time to review, revise and prepare to present their bill on the floor on Congress. The presentation of the Bill will consist of a 4-minute speech while those groups rising in support or opposition will have 2-minutes to present their arguments.
Bills “On the Floor" - Model Congress Day, March 24, 2016
The 7th Grade Teams will be divided to allowed a higher percentage of students to actively participate in the finished presentation. The 7th Grade House of Representatives and Senate will convene to consider the drafted legislation. The teachers will act as the “Speakers of the House” or "President of the Senate" by introducing the students presenting, supporting and opposing the legislation.Each of the ten proposed bills (five from each teacher) will be presented before the assembled houses of Congress. After a Bill is presented, the “Speaker” will then “open the floor” to debate on the proposed legislation. Three oppositional and two supporting speeches will be presented. These speeches will alternate, with opposition first followed by the supporting Representatives. After the last speech, student Representatives will have an opportunity to summarize their notes of the debate and voting on each bill will be opened. Bills receiving more than 51% of "yeas" will be sent to the Executive Branch.