Identifying State and Local Legislators
- Grade level: Upper elementary and middle school.
- Subject Area: Science and social studies.
This lesson involves using a variety of resources to identify students' local and state legislators. The activity can be introduced with a general group discussion on how laws are made at the state and national level, as well as how legislators are elected, the kind of laws recently passed, and the relationship between laws and environmental issues.
- Use a variety of materials to identify their local and state legislators.
- Discuss how local and state representatives are elected and how laws are created.
- Consider environmental issues as they relate to the creation of laws.
- Reflect on the impact of state and local environmental laws on their community.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer (PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or dial-up software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but perhaps Mosaic or Lynx). In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
- Special hardware requirements: none.
- Special software requirements: none.
- Internet access: Medium-speed (28,000 BPS via modem) or High-speed (greater than 1 MBPS via network).
Before starting, collect printed materials on how laws are made, how legislators are elected, representation at the state and local level, and recent laws related to environmental issues. Use books, magazines, and newspaper articles that discuss the legislative process.
- As a group, discuss how laws are made at the state and local level. Also discuss the impact of national and state legislation on local and community issues.
- Organize students into groups, or have them work in pairs, with the task of identifying their local or state legislators. Use traditional resources (library, newspapers, magazines, books, etc.) as well as on-line resources (see Web Resources below).
- Encourage students to regularly read the local newspaper and monitor TV news broadcasts for media coverage of local and state lawmaking related to environmental issues.
- State and Local Government on the Net
A list of U.S. state and local government Websites.
- The Michigan House of Representatives and Senators
Listed by county and region.
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