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?
House and Senate: What’s the Difference?
The United States Congress consists of two legislative bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are many similarities between these institutions. Representatives and Senators are directly elected by the public (see Capitol Visitor Center essay “Who Elects Our Senators?”). Passing legislation requires the agreement of both the House and Senate. There are chambers for both in the U.S. Capitol. Given these commonalities, are there really differences between the House and Senate?
How House and Senate Committees Work
Committees improve the organization of the Senate and House of Representatives. Members of Congress can’t be experts on all issues. For this reason, the Senate and House of Representatives developed committees that focus on particular subjects. Committees look at the way that government functions; identify issues that require review; gather and evaluate information; and make legislative
recommendations to the full House or Senate.
Article I: The Legislative Branch
The power to make laws in our country falls in the hands of the Legislative Branch. The branch is outlined in Article I of the Constitution. The Legislative Branch is divided into two houses of Congress. The House of Representatives is made up of representatives proportionate to their state’s population while each state maintains equal representation in the Senate. Learn all about Article I in the National Constitution Center’s learning module.
Lesson Plan: Choice Board – Researching Your Members in the U.S. House of Representatives
This lesson provides students with the opportunity to explore their members in the House of Representatives and how they represent their constituents as a fundamental part of civic literacy.
Congress by the Numbers
Together, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S Senate are called Congress, the legislative branch of the federal government. Congress has many powers including writing the nation’s laws, approving treaties, and declaring war.
Compromise at the Constitutional Convention
This activity is designed to help students understand the debates at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 that shaped America’s legislative branch of government. The primary goal is for students to discover how a compromise balanced the needs of large states and small states and how this led to the
creation of the current House of Representatives and Senate. In contrast to the real convention, this activity is simplified and focused to come to a conclusion in a class period.
Conflict and Compromise – Virtual Exhibit
For more than two hundred years, the Capitol has been the place where representatives of the American people have debated how best to achieve the nation’s ideals. This exhibit displays some of our most important documents, drawn primarily from the collections of the Library of Congress and the National Archives, to illustrate the role of Congress in defining and helping to realize national goals and aspirations.
Congress and the Constitution
Use this information graphic to easily understand the House of Representatives and Senate and the articles and amendments in the Constitution.
How a Bill Becomes a Law for AP Gov
A lesson plan for one 80-minute class at the AP level. In it students will identify the main steps in the process of creating and passing legislation:
-Explain the significance of party control and committee work in the Congress in the legislative process
-Identify the role that Congressional leaders such as the House of Representatives and the Senate Majority Leader play in the process of agenda-setting
-Identify the role the President plays in the law-making process
-Explain the reasons why the Founders intended the law-making process to be difficult