This Model Congress / Mock Congress is an extended simulation designed to reinforce how a bill becomes a law. It’s very student-centered and student-driven. I use it as a project that takes up the final couple weeks of school, and it really makes for a nice end of the year. The students do much of the work in class, and their grade is based on participation and completion. This makes the grade load for the teacher lighter and it means that students on the border of hitting the grade they want have an opportunity to boost their scores. It’s one of the assignments that students will remember and talk to me about years later when we bump into each other, so that helps make it worth the class time spent on it! With some adjustments, you could likely do the simulation in a week or extend it up to 3+ weeks.
As an overview, one class will be a House of Representatives, and another will be a Senate. Within each class, students will work as Democrats and Republicans and must research, draft bills, work in committees and as a full chamber to pass bills. As in Congress, once a bill passes through one chamber (class), it will go to the other and the process begins all over there.
The teacher serves as the President (and in case of impeachment by students thinking they’re clever, also serves as the Vice-President, and the new Vice-President after that, and after that...). If bills make it through both houses of Congress, it’ll be up to you to either sign it or veto it (or pocket veto if you do the activity at the end of the school year).
This is a very student-driven activity. Your job is largely to eavesdrop on students as they work to assign participation points and offer guidance when needed. I have documents formatted to be used as paper handouts as well as documents formatted for use on Google Classroom.
The project highly flexible and adaptable to suit your needs. You can spend more or less time on it as you see fit.
KEYWORDS: Congress; How a bill becomes a law; Mock Congress; Model Congress; Legislation; Political Parties; Government; Civics; Legislative Branch; Project Based Learning; PBL; Student-centered; American Government; Govt; Simulation; Debate