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Meet the Clerk
Learn About Congress
How Laws are Made
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Parents and Teachers

How a Bill Becomes a Law
Target Age Group: 6-8th grade students

Project Duration: 1-2 days

Objectives: Help students gain an understanding of how a bill becomes a law

Vocabulary/Concepts: Bill, sponsor/co-sponsor, hopper, clerk, committee, report a bill, consider a bill, amendment, vote, enrollment of a bill, veto, override

Materials: (1) Access to the following Web pages: How Laws Are Made, Hot Bills, THOMAS, (2) Legislation worksheet (provided in lesson plan)

Notes: As an enrichment activity, encourage students research the legislative process for their home state

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1. Obtain a General Understanding of the Legislative Process
For a general overview of how a bill becomes a law, direct students to the How Laws are Made section of this website.

2. Distribute and Complete Part I of Legislation Worksheet
Download and distribute the following worksheet for student completion.

Legislation Worksheet (PDF)

In Part I of the worksheet, students will answer general questions about how a bill becomes a law. The questions were created from information contained in the How Laws are Made section of this website.

3. Create a Simulated Bill
Either individually or in groups, direct students to create a bill of their own. You may also wish to have students present their bills to the class. Students should address the question, "Why is this bill important?"

4. Visit the THOMAS website and Complete Part II of Worksheet
Students should then visit THOMAS to compare their simulated bills with real legislation. In Part II of the worksheet, students should record the simiarities and differences between their self-created bills and actual bills proposed in Congress.

5. Visit the Hot Bills website and Select a Bill to Research
Direct students to select and research a bill of interest to them. You may wish to refer students to the Hot Bills website, a depository of topics listed by subject or popular title. Make sure students record the H.R./H.J./H.AMDT. number associated with their chosen bill.

6. Conduct Research Using THOMAS and Complete Part III of Worksheet

Once students have selected their bill and recorded the proper bill number, direct students back to THOMAS for further research. Students should type their bill number in the Bill Number search field to retrieve information about their bill. Then, have students complete Part III of the worksheet.

Parents & Teachers
Tools for Learning

Did You Know?
A Little Known Fact
The Clerk is in charge of the display of fine arts in the House and House wing of the Capitol! Learn more in Time Warp: Art.

Check This Out!
Take a Trip!
Find your state statue! Go on a Field Trip to Statuary Hall.

Glossary Terms
Key Words
Use the glossary to learn key terms.

Joint Resolution
Roll Call

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