Civics & Economicsby Matthew Caggia

Unit 3A: Comparative Government - Legislative Branch

Chapters 6, 13 & 14

Part of a larger unit on the Legislative Branch, we will analyze the law-making part of government on three levels: Federal (National), State, and Local (County and Municipal). We will learn how each makes laws (or statutes) and analyze the similarities and differences. In addition, we will evaluate some aspects of the branch and determine for ourselves the effectiveness of the system.

Study Tools

Online Textbook Resources

These pages contain the links to the online content for student practice. It includes Chapter Overviews, Web Activities, Self-Check Quizzes, ePuzzles and Games, Vocabulary Flashcards, Charts in Motion (to accompany diagrams in the textbook), and Interactive Graphic Organizers.


Link to Quizlet! Vocabulary is the key to understanding any subject. Once you can break down the barrier of language the ideas and concepts are wide open. Here you can find the vocabulary for the unit to practice by using online flash cards and by practicing online generated vocabulary quizzes.

The Redistricting Game

Every 10 years, the federal government conducts the census to count the population. The primary purpose is to accurately represent the people of the United States in the House of Representative. According to Article I, section 3:

The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.

As the population of the nation grows and shifts, it is necessary to redivide the 435 seats in the House of Represenatives. In addition, populations shift within states requiring states to further redraw their districts within their borders. Since the process is done by each state's legislature, their is a high motivation for the majority party to draw districts that favor their party, turning what should be a non-political procedure into one that is highly charged. This award winning game allows YOU to redistrict a fictitious state according to the rules of each scenario. The goal is to teach about redistricting, how corruption can become part of the process, and will invite you to think critically about the process altogether.

Try your hand at the Redistricting Game!

Organization & Powers of Congress

This presentation accompanies Section 6.1 & 6.2 in the textbook. It summarizes the key ideas about how Congress is Organized and the Powers of Congress.

Organization of Congress and the General Assembly

This powerpoint accompanies the Guided Readings for sections 6.1 & 13.1 in the textbook. It includes the text answers from the worksheet but also more information than the questions the questions ask as well as links to websites that enrich the experience of the text.

North Carolina State Legislature

Slideshow to go along with Section 13.1. Get an overview of the qualifications and work of the North Carolina General Assembly.


Crash Course #2: The Bicameral Congress

From the publisher:
Craig teaches you about the United States Congress, and why it's bicameral, and what bicameral means. Craig tells you what the Senate and House of Representatives are for, some of the history of the institutions, and reveal to you just how you can become a representative. It's not that easy. But an eagle gets punched, so there's that.

Crash Course #6: Congressional Elections

From the publisher:
Craig talks about the importance of elections. But he isn’t going to focus on presidential elections, but instead those of the strongest part of our government: congressional elections. Craig will talk about the frequency of elections in the Senate and House, typical characteristics of a candidate, and the motivating factors our congresspeople follow to get re-elected.

Crash Course #7: Congressional Committees

From the publisher:
Craig clears up the role of committees in Congress. We’ll talk about standing committees, joint committees, conference committees, and caucuses (and not the candidate-choosing kinds) as well as the staff agencies that help advise these committees and congresspeople. As most bills never even make it to the house and senate floors for a vote, the role of committees, and their respective chairpersons as gatekeeper is pretty important. There’s a lot to demystify here as the legislative process can seem pretty arcane at times, but the model, at least in theory, helps Congress run more efficiently.

Crash Course #8: Congressional Leadership

From the publisher:
Craig Benzine explores the leadership structure of congress. We’ll break out the clone machine to examine the responsibilities of the speaker of the house, the majority and minority leaders as well as the majority and minority whips in both the Senate and the House. As the leadership heavily influences assignments to committees and acts as the primary point of contact with the media, they wield significant power in influencing the public dialog.

Crash Course #10: Congressional Decisions

From the publisher:
Craig breaks out the crystal ball to try and figure out why our congresspeople do the things that they do. We’ll talk about the three motivating factors of congressional decisions - constituency, interest groups, and political parties - and we’ll break down how each of these factors motivate certain actions like casework, public opinion polls, and logrolling. Craig will even weigh in on which of these factors probably contributes most significantly to the actions and decisions of our congresspersons and he'll do it without even a touch of cynicism!


Copyright M. Caggia 2016