How to Become a Member of Congress

 

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Overview

Students will learn about the interesting backgrounds of Members of Congress and discuss the requirements for becoming a Member of Congress.

Grade Levels

9 - 12

Objectives

Students will:

  • identify the requirements for becoming a U.S. Representative;
  • identify the requirements for becoming a U.S. Senator; and
  • explain the procedure for running for representative or senator.

Estimated Time

1 to 2 days

Materials Needed

Procedure

  1. Explain to students that Members of Congress come from a variety of backgrounds. Use a projection device to show your students the “Interesting Backgrounds” section of the Notable Members E-Learning Module. Complete the interactive quiz as a class.
  2. Ask students if they know what the minimum requirements are to become a representative or senator.
  3. Distribute copies of the U.S. Constitution to students and ask them to read Article I, Sections 2 and 3. Have students summarize the requirements to become a representative and senator.
  4. Ask students to conduct research to find out the procedure for running for the House of Representatives or the Senate in their state. Students can check for information on the Web site of their Secretary of State. You can find a listing of the Web sites for all the Secretaries of State athttp://www.politicalresources.com/web-link-pgs/campaignsonline/sos.htm.
  5. Have students create an informational brochure for people who are interested in running for Congress. This brochure should include the requirements to become a representative and senator and give a step-by-step procedure for running for office.

Extension Activities

Have students debate whether the Congress is sufficiently representative. Tell them to prepare for the discussion by reading about the characteristics of current Members [e.g.: gender, race, professional and educational backgrounds] by reading “Membership in the 108 th Congress: a Profile” at the U.S. Senate Web site. During the debate, students should discuss the value of having different backgrounds, genders, and races among Members of Congress.

Assessment

Basic Concepts and Processes

Ask students to respond to the following requests for information and assess their knowledge of key concepts taught in this lesson.

  1. Identify the requirements for becoming a representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  2. Identify the requirements for becoming a senator in the U.S. Senate.
  3. Explain the procedure for running for representative or senator.

Scoring Guide for A Closer Look at Voting Patterns

Elements Possible Score Assigned Score Notes
Correct Spelling 5    
Correct Grammar (sentence structure, punctuation) 5    
Good beginning, middle, and end 5    
Contains the requirements for becoming a representative 25    
Contains the requirements for becoming a senator 25    
Explains the procedure for running for representative or senator 20    

 

Lesson Plan Feedback

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