Grade 3

How Laws are Made

Empowered Learner, Creative Communicator
law and books

Overview‚Äč

Students will be able to learn about how a bill becomes a law by watching instructional videos and reading articles in MeL (Michigan eLibrary). Finally, students will be able to create an infographic on the process of how a bill becomes a law.

Students will:

  • Understand the definition of a bill
  • Understand the importance of a bill becoming a law
  • Apply their knowledge in a unique infographic

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Bill: A bill is a form or draft of a proposed statute presented to a legislature, but not yet enacted or passed and made law.

  2. Law: A law is any written or positive rule or collection of rules prescribed under the authority of the state or nation, as by the people in its constitution.
     
  3. Congress: Congress is the national legislative body of the U.S., consisting of the Senate, or upper house, and the House of Representatives, or lower house, as a continuous institution.
     
  4. Veto: Veto is the power or right vested in one branch of a government to cancel or postpone the decisions, enactments, etc., of another branch, especially the right of a president, governor, or another chief executive to reject bills passed by the legislature.

To prepare for this lesson:
 

  • Watch the video, Schoolhouse Rock: America - I'm Just a Bill Music Video.
     
  • Be familiar with (Michigan eLibrary) MeL and make sure your students are able to get into MeL at school and at home. At school, your Tech Director at a Michigan school is able to send the school's IP addresses to MCLS using this form and the students will not need to log in with their library card or Michigan state ID. At home, the students may need their parent's driver's licenses or state ID to log in. 
     
  • Read: Congress | Article | World Book Kids (worldbookonline.com)
     
  • Go to the MeL library: eResources (mel.org); click on Britannica School Elementary Home (eb.com); go to “How Laws are Made” and explore topics within and photos, etc. You can increase the reading level to two, which takes you to Britannica Middle in the same topic.
     
  • Use this Quizlet quiz to practice how a law is made using flashcards.
     
  • Do a quiz on How a Law is Made.

Note: For an additional activity the students can create an infographic to show how laws are made. Canva may be one of the easiest applications to create an infographic. This is probably best for 5th graders. 

See Accommodations Page and Charts on the 21things4students.net site in the Teacher Resources. 

Directions for this activity:
 

  1. Introduction: Have students watch the video, Schoolhouse Rock: America - I'm Just a Bill Music Video.
     
  2. Then have them apply their knowledge by playing games, doing assessments, and writing.

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • Have students take a quiz on How a Law is Made.
  • Transfer knowledge to a school “government” situation and create a “bill” you want to be passed at the school. What would that process be?
  • Students can create an infographic is demonstrate how a law is made. 

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Empowered Learner
1c. Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

Creative Communicator
6c. Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.
6d.Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.

Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac, iPad

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

Apps. Extensions, Add-ons

Websites:

Canva

Ducksters

How a Law is Made Quizlet

I'm Just a Bill video

Know Your Phrase

MeL

CONTENT AREA RESOURCES
  • Students watch videos that combine words and songs/speech.
  • Write a “bill” that you would like to see passed in school. Imitate the lawyer-ease in which bills are written.  
  • What does it mean to have “pork” in a bill? Can you brainstorm and list any other words or phrases that are used in more than one way to describe something or have historical origins? See https://knowyourphrase.com/ for ideas for phrases and origins. (Etymology)

In a group, create a way to show others the process of a bill becoming a law: infographic, slideshow, or video.

  • How many congresspeople and senators are there? How are they assigned per state?
  • Find out how many bills were presented and passed in the past year. What percentage of bills presented actually became a law?
  • The process of a bill becoming a law is important. Do research on a specific plant or animal. What does it take for that plant or animal to live to maturity?
  • Not all animals in the wild make it to maturity. Investigate the survival rate of three animals (mammal, reptile, and amphibian) and compare them.
  • Ask an expert: Invite a local congressperson to come and speak about what topics are important to people and how they represent the voters.
  • Read or watch a documentary on specific laws and how they were made.
  • Research a current bill that is in the process of becoming law. Where did it originate and why?

Credits
This task card was created by Caryn Parker, Gull Lake Virtual Partnership, January 2021.