GRADE: High School
TECHNOLOGY: PowerPoint, Internet
BY: Bethany Tindall, Johnelle Hinkle, Jon Rogers
1. Target Grade/Subject
12th Grade (Senior) United States Government
In Virginia, high school seniors are required to take a course covering United States Government before graduation. While there is currently no Standard of Learning (SOL) assessment for this subject, there is little doubt that this course is an essential factor in preparing students for life after high school as they learn what it means to be an active citizen in today’s society. This lesson plan helps build on the idea of active and knowledgeable citizenship by focusing on the need for students to be aware and well informed about their Representatives and Senators in the United States Congress.
Students will have a framework of knowledge about the way the United States Congress operates and the differences that exist between the Senate and the House of Representatives. This information will be provided both through lecture and through textbook readings prior to the lesson plan. This framework will be a useful tool to students as they research information about Virginia’s Representatives and Senators and prepare to give a presentation to their peers about their assigned Congressperson. This exercise will help bring the legislative process to a more personal level for these seniors who are reaching a point in their lives when they are reaching voting age and are realizing the power that comes with that responsibility. Finally, the lesson will help stimulate interest in how the federal government works and the role students, as citizens, play in contributing to the process as they begin to recognize and become familiar with the people that represent their interests on Capitol Hill.
The lesson plan prepares students for the exam that will take place at the end of the unit on the legislative branch of the federal government. This exam will include information on the differences between the Senate and the House of Representatives as well as the representatives from Virginia that sit in each house. Working in pairs, students will research and collect requested information about their assigned Virginia representative to the United States Congress. Once the necessary information has been found, each will develop a presentation using Microsoft Power Point through which they will be expected to teach their classmates about their appropriate Congressperson. Students will be provided with an introduction and lesson in how to use the program as well as a list of required Power Point procedures/tools that must be utilized throughout their presentation. Assessment will be based on equal participation in the research process and presentation (to be determined through teacher observation), the extent to which students were able to produce the information that was requested of them and the inclusion of all required Power Point elements.
1. Computer lab with Microsoft Power Point, Internet access, and print capabilities
2. Classroom/lab with the ability to project Power Point images from a computer to a larger screen (either a television or projection screen)
4. Lesson Description
· Pair the students off by counting off by two and randomly assign one of the following to each group:
- Jo Ann Davis
- Edward L. Schrock
- Robert C. Scott
- Virgil H. Goode, Jr.
- Bob Goodlatte
- Eric Cantor
- James P. Moran
- Rick Boucher
- Frank R. Wolf
- Tom Davis
- Norman Sisisky (died March 29, 2001---use past information until vacancy is filled)
- John Warner
- George Allen
· Provide each group with a handout (see attached) which explains the relevant information they are required to find about their assigned person and useful websites that will help navigate their search
· Explain the importance of group work and the need for each member to contribute to the research and presentation process equally. Also stress the importance of appropriate behavior within the computer lab and the need for all students to respect lab equipment and maintain a calm, orderly, and quiet work environment.
· Direct students to the computer lab.
· Give a brief overview of Microsoft Power Point including instruction on all the aspects of the program that students are required to include in their presentation which includes:
- use of various slide layouts
- use of various backgrounds and design templates
- use of various fonts and color schemes
- use of graphics (both provided clip art and from the Internet)
- use of animations and sounds
· Have students actively follow along with the verbal instruction given using their assigned computers to ensure they are familiar with the various options.
· Allow students to work on their Internet research and Power Point presentation. Monitor progress within the lab and observe how students are working together so that assessment of equal contribution can be made. Both students should be actively involved in both the research and the development of the Power Point presentation to be given full points in this area. Also offer general assistance when needed and answer any questions regarding the assignment or the Power Point presentation.
(Depending on the time it takes to go over the assignment and the Power Point presentation and the type of bell schedule that is in place, the entire assignment---introduction through group presentation may take 2-3 class periods)
· Once presentations have been completed, student groups may begin presenting to the class the information they found on their assigned Congressman/woman
· Set up one computer to a television or projection screen so that all students are able to get a clear view of the slide show
· Instruct students who are viewing the presentation to take notes on the information as some of it will likely be useful in studying for the end of the unit exam
· Prior to the first presentation give an overview of what is expected and general helpful hints regarding presentations---equal participation from each group member, eye contact with the audience, clear and audible speaking voice and refraining from merely reading what is given on the screen
· Take notes on the extent to which each group followed instructions using the provided handout as a guide as well as their ability to share speaking time and follow the presentation guidelines given, this information will be valuable to the assessment process
Assessment of this project will be made using the following scale:
Requested information provided within presentation ------------------ 50 points Inclusion of Power Point tools requested -------------------------------- 25 points Equal contributions among group members:
During research (to be determined by teacher observation) --- 10 points
During presentation (determined by teacher observation) ----- 10 points
Overall quality of presentation (eye contact, audibility, etc.) ---------- 5 points
Power Point Project
Please include the following information in your Power Point presentation about your assigned Congressman/woman:
- Party Affiliation
- Committee Assignments
- Professional Biography (i.e. number of years in office, previous political experience, professional background prior to politics, interest areas, etc.)
- Personal Biography (i.e. family life, upbringing, etc.)
- Political interest areas (i.e. what issues is he/she most interested in working on)
Pick out and describe one piece of legislation that he/she has recently sponsored and explain why he/she may feel so strongly about it.
Also, pick one controversial piece of legislation that is facing the Senate or the House and explain how you think your representative will vote and why, given the information you have found.
Be sure to include, within your Power Point presentation, the following skills/tools:
- various slide layouts
- various colors/fonts
- various backgrounds/design templates
- graphics (clip art and from the Internet)