This post originally appeared on the blog Mister Harms.
Do you ever spend time trying to figure out how to make Civics more enjoyable and engaging for middle schoolers or high schoolers? I know I do. Civics can easily be seen as a dry subject, but it doesn’t have to be. One of my favorite activities in my 8th grade Civics class is the Legislative Branch Simulation: How A Bill Becomes A Law. I was introduced to this concept and activity years ago by a respected co-teacher. Throughout the years, I have tweaked and added to this lesson concept to make it suitable for my 8th grade classes.
What I love about this simulation is that it makes learning about the Legislative Branch very real, engaging, and exciting. Students get to participate in writing bills for their school, community, or state while learning the various stages within the lawmaking process. In addition, all voices are heard and each student has a chance to contribute.
Every student gets to become a member of Congress, write their own bills, participate in committee discussions, debate on the house/senate floor, and eventually watch the President sign the bills that survive through the entire process. Not only will the students love this simulation, but they get a chance to change their school, and in the process, learn all the aspects of how a bill becomes a law.
This Legislative Branch Simulation has become one of the highlights in my civics class. Students love the opportunity to influence their school, community, or state through the bills they write. Each year, a small number of my students’ bills have actually changed school policy. Our wonderful school administrators have actively joined in on participation of this simulation. They have contributed by implementing the successful bills that are actually doable! Over the years our 8th grade bills have improved our school in a variety of ways. The installation of water fountains with bottle fillers, new locker room changes, and school course offerings, are just a few examples.
Learning about the Legislative Branch and lawmaking process is good, but actively being engaged in the process is great! I know you will enjoy this hands-on simulation! You can incorporate it within your Civics and Government classes of all ages. This activity has proven to be a fantastic way to experience the Legislative Branch coming to life! You are going to love it and your students will too! Get your own copy of the Legislative Branch Simulation here or by clicking the image below, and let me know how it goes! What other engaging activities and lessons have you incorporated into your civics classes?
Mister Harms loves teaching Social Studies to his Junior High and High School students. Living in a small-town rural setting of Minnesota, Mister Harms teaches in the same building where he went to school. Being a fourth generation teacher, He knows the value of building relationships with students and making learning enjoyable for everyone. When he’s not teaching, Mister Harms enjoys the outdoors, family road trips with his wife and two daughters, playing guitar, directing a Youth Camp during the summer months, and being cancer free for 10 years! You can learn more about @MisterHarms by following him on all social media platforms.