The History of Immigration Law in the United States

This lesson provides a background on the history of immigration policy in the United States, that is the philosophical origins, legal debates, and legal history from the Founding of the nation to the late 1900s. Students will come to understand how American lawmakers viewed immigrants and the reasoning behind the evolving nature of immigration policy.

No Vehicles in the Park

In this lesson, students will apply a general law – “no vehicles in the park” – to specific circumstances in considering the language of the law and its intended objective. The task will require that they interpret the law to allow for certain circumstances – an ambulance carrying a dying patient, for example. The lesson ends with students rewriting the law to more clearly reflect the intent of the lawmakers.

The Tired King

In this lesson, students are introduced to the three functions of government (legislative, judicial, and executive) through a story about an overworked king who must handle all the tasks of government. Next, students are given descriptions of the three functions of government and asked to match tasks to departments (lawmakers, executives, and judges). Finally, students create job descriptions for lawmakers, executives, and judges.

Grades 4, 5
Executive Branch/Presidency
Lesson Plans

How Your State Gets Its Seats – Congressional Apportionment

The United States Senate consists of how many members? The answer is fairly simple: with two members apiece representing each of the fifty states, the total is one hundred. How about the House of Representatives? The answer is much more complicated. There are currently 435 voting members of the House of Representatives. How did this number come about and how is the number of Representatives per state determined?

Starter Kit: Legislative Branch Podcast

There are 535 people who meet in the hallowed halls of Capitol Hill. They go in, legislation comes out. You can watch the machinations of the House and Senate chambers on C-SPAN, you can read their bills online. But what are the rules of engagement? Where does your Senator go every day, and what do they do? What does it mean to represent the American people?
This short episode includes a one-page Graphic Organizer for students to take notes on while listening, as well as discussion questions on the back side.