Legislature Lesson Plan

Please note, this lesson plan was created by as a general guide and is not specific to any particular venue listed on our site.

Field trips to the U.S. Capitol or state legislature can be a powerful learning experiences. Have your students study the history and structure of their state legislature or the federal government. How many members, how are they selected and how long do they serve? How are laws past and who are your representatives? What is the leadership and what are standing committees? When possible, make a reservation to visit your representative’s office.

The United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building, is the home of the United States Congress, and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

United State Congress is a bicameral legislature made up of a House of Representatives, where representatives are distributed amongst the states based on total population, and a Senate, where each state has two senators.

A US Senator’s term of office is six years and approximately one-third of the total membership of the Senate is elected every two years.

Members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms and are considered for reelection every even year.



Bicameral legislature: refers to a particular body of government that consists of two legislative houses or chambers.

Bill: a draft of a proposed law presented to the legislation body or parliament for discussion.

Congress: a national legislative body, especially that of the US. The US Congress, which meets at the Capitol in Washington DC, was established by the Constitution of 1787 and is composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Committee: a group of people appointed for a specific function, typically consisting of members of a larger group.

Enfranchisement: the giving of a right or privilege, especially the right to vote.

Law: the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties.

Law-Making: in general, legislatures first set broad policy mandates by passing statutes, then agencies create more detailed regulations through rulemaking.

Legislature: a deliberative body of persons, usually elective, who are empowered to make, change, or repeal the laws of a country or state; the branch of government having the power to make laws, as distinguished from the executive and judicial branches of government.

Legislator: a person who makes laws; a member of a legislative body.

Pro Tempore: (in government) a senator, usually a senior member of the majority party, who is chosen to preside over the Senate in the absence of the vice president.

Proportionately: in a way that corresponds in size or amount to something else.

Vote: an act of expressing a formal indication of choice. The choice expressed collectively by a body of electors or by a specified group.

Representative: a person chosen or appointed to act or speak for another or others.


– Listening skills

– Verbal communication

– Vocabulary development

– Data interpretation

– Information analysis

– Critical thinking/problem solving

– Writing



Your school’s student council

– Your school board

How are they structured?

Create a legislative body in your classroom for making rules.

Study the various jobs that go into running a legislative body.