Read the transcript
Previewing (5 minutes)
- In a quick classroom discussion, establish what students know about how a bill becomes a law. Possible questions might include:
- What is a bill?
- How is it introduced?
- Who can introduce a bill?
- Who votes on a bill?
You may want to screen the Schoolhouse Rocks video – “How a Bill Becomes a Law” if students are in need of a quick introduction or reminder of how the process works.
- Tell students they are going to watch a video about a woman who played a role in passing legislation to end the marital exemption for rape in Texas.
Viewing & Discussion (10 minutes)
- As a class, watch the brief Amy Wong Mok video, which can be accessed online at www.americantrusteesproject.org. If you have difficulties accessing the videos, please visit our Media Help page.
- Ask students if they have any more ideas about how a bill becomes a law. Fill in any gaps from the previewing discussion. What, if anything, did the film teach them about how a bill becomes a law? You may want to focus your student’s attention on the role of citizens and expert witnesses to the process of legislating.
Application (30 minutes)
NOTE: Students will need to have access to a diagram of how a bill becomes a law at the state level (preferably in their own state) and a diagram of how a bill becomes a law at the national level. Before using this lesson you will have to find a copy of your state’s process by doing some research yourself. To find a link to a diagram of your state’s process, try looking on the web.
- A few states have made resources available on the web:
- A diagram of how a bill becomes a law at the national level can typically be found in any American Government text but if one is not available in the text, a diagram can be found at:
- Depending on the class size and classroom dynamics, pass out the diagrams to each student or each pair of students.
- Have students shade in the executive, the committee/subcommittees, time on the floor of the house and senate (each in a different color). They should do this for both the national and state level diagrams.
- Pass out the WORKSHEET and have the students fill in the boxes.
- Carve out a little time, in this class period or the following, for students to share their findings. Ask students:
- When and where do citizens, like Amy Wong Mok, participate in the process?
- What have they learned about the process of how a bill becomes a law?