Social Studies

LawCraft

 

IMAGE: iCivics

IMAGE: iCivics

Passing laws requires strong persuasive skills, and a willingness to compromise. Read the introduction below written by the game’s creators.

Want to make some laws? You can in LawCraft, where you play a member of Congress from the state of your choice. You’ll pick an issue that’s important to you and your constituents and take it all the way through the law-making process. If you’re successful, you’ll have a bill you can print and show off. See if you can make the compromises necessary to get your bill passed and still make a law you’re proud of!

Click the image above, or right here to start a game in a new tab, then answer the questions below during the process. Good luck!

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1. How are the two houses of congress different? Click here for information about the legislative branch.

2. Why are constituents important? Click here for a kids’ online dictionary.

3. The six values in the game are liberty, equality, competition, cooperation, cost saving and generosity. List the values from greatest importance, to least importance.

4. Write and complete the following sentence frame: ________ is at the top of my list of values, which is the most important because…

5. Write and complete the following sentence frame: ________ is at the bottom of my list of values, which is the least important because…

6. How are democrats and republicans alike (compare)?

7. How are republicans and democrats different (contrast)?

8. Which party did you choose, and why?

9. Read and analyze all of your constituents’ letters. Write the top three issues from greatest importance, to least importance.

10. Why did you choose the issue at the top of your list?

11. How does that issue relate to your most important value (from question 4)?

11. How do amendments affect whether or not a bill gets passed?

12. Write a paragraph describing the entire process of getting your bill passed. Include transition words such as first, next, then, finally, etc.

13. How does the president affect laws?

14. On a scale of one to five, with one as easy, and two as extremely difficult, how would you rate the process of crafting and getting a law passed? Explain.

15. If you could have lunch with your representative, what would you tell them? What questions would you ask?

16. Would you be interested in a career as a lawmaker? Explain.

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E     X     T     E     N     D     .     .     .     .

1. Write a list of values that are important to you and other constituents in your community.

2. Write a list of questions you would like to ask your representative.

3. Click here, then enter your zip code to find the name and contact information (phone number, email and mailing address) of your representative.

4. Write a letter to your representative and explain what issues are important to you, and why. Ask them the most important questions from your list. Click here for an interactive letter generator from ReadWriteThink.

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Mad Housers

IMAGE: Mad Housers

The Mad Housers are a kind group of volunteers from Atlanta, Georgia who build free homes for homeless people. Anyone who wants to know how can see steps on the Mad Housers’ website, and even start their own Mad Housers group.

IMAGE: Mad Housers

In 2008,  Mad Housers met in Athens, Georgia at a homeless camp on Lexington Road called Tent City.  They built a hut for Radar, a young war veteran.

Mad Housers Build

PHOTO: Mad Housers

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1. What is the main idea of this article?

2. How do you think Radar felt?

3. What does volunteer mean? Click here to go to a kids’ online dictionary. Use the word in a sentence.

4. Why do some people choose to volunteer?

5. Why do some people choose not to volunteer?

6. What does veteran mean? Click here to go to a kids’ online dictionary. Use the word in a sentence that has an adjective.

7. In 2013, there were more than 57,000 homeless veterans in the United States. Why do you think the number is so high?

8. How is life different for veterans than people who are not veterans?

9. How could a family become homeless?

10. Sometimes homeless people hold signs that ask for help. Some people donate food or money. Some people don’t. Why would someone not help a homeless person?

11. If you could sit down and talk to a homeless person, what questions would you ask?

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E     X     T     E     N     D     .     .     .     .

1. Start a food/clothing drive! Brainstorm a list of important items families use every day such as clothes, food, school supplies and books. Create a sign and a collection box so people can donate things. Contact a local homeless shelter to pick-up the donations, or ask a parent or guardian to drop them off. Leave a comment here and tell the world what you’re doing to help people in need. For more information, explore the links below.

14 Children’s Picture Books About Homelessness

Homelessness Fact Sheet for Kindergarten-Second Grade Students

Mad Housers Inc.