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Representative Democracy in America: Voices of the People


Representative Democracy in America: Voices of the People is a national project designed to reinvigorate and educate Americans on the critical relationship between government and the people it serves. The project introduces citizens, particularly young people, to the representatives, institutions, and processes that serve to realize the goal of a government of, by, and for the people.


The project is implemented by the Alliance for Representative Democracy, a collaborative effort of the Center for Civic Education, the Center on Congress at Indiana University, and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Representative Democracy in America: Voices of the People provides innovative educational materials for K-12 classrooms, conducts the Campaign to Promote Civic Education, and informs the general public about representative democracy through a variety of media.


Representative Democracy in America

The Center for Civic Education’s major activity in the project is Representative Democracy in America, a six-part video series on DVD to help middle and high school students understand our system of representative democracy. The six programs, each approximately 15 minutes in length, and the instructional guide address the following topics:

• the roots of representative democracy

• federalism and the separation of powers

• the roles of representatives, executives, and justices in our democracy

• our representatives and how they are chosen

• the role of the citizen in a representative democracy



During the opening two-day seminar, notable scholars, legislators, and experts addressed wide-ranging topics on the institutions and practices of representative democracy in the United States.

Included are the following videotaped speeches presented

  1. Understanding Congress–Hon. Lee Hamilton, Director, Center on Congress at Indiana University (34 minutes)

  2. The Philosophical Foundations of Representative DemocracyAnthony Corrado, Charles A. Dana Professor of Government, Colby College

  3. The Informal Political Process–Thomas Mann, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution (26 minutes)

  4. The Role of the U.S. Senate–Donald Ritchie, Associate Historian, U.S. Senate (17 minutes)

  5. The Role of U.S. House of RepresentativesFred Beuttler, Deputy Historian, U.S. House of Representatives (20 minutes)

  6. The Role of State LegislaturesAlan Rosenthal, Professor of Political Science, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University (28 minutes)

  7. Citizen Participation in State LegislaturesHon. Rosie Berger, Wyoming State Representative (9 minutes)

  8. Citizen Participation in State LegislaturesHon. Leticia Van de Putte, Texas State Senator (29 minutes)

  9. The Role of Education in a Representative DemocracyMargaret Branson, Associate Director, Center for Civic Education (34 minutes)

(The videos are unedited, full-length versions of the speeches.)




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TFK Extra! Your Ideas Count

This fun-filled supplement edition to TIME for Kids for grades 2 and 3, published by TIME magazine, helps students understand basic ideas about our

system of government.

http://www.ncsl.org/Portals/1/documents/public/trust/TFK2_3.pdf

2–3

NCSL

America’s Legislators Back to School Program brochure

Starting in the third week of September, state

legislators from across the nation visit classrooms

to bring civics to life for students.

http://www.ncsl.org/Portals/1/documents/public/trust/BTSBrochure2010.pdf


2–12



NCSL

Pinky the Flamingo series

These entertaining, animated video spots show how our system of democracy works. Join Pinky the Flamingo as she learns about compromise, special interests, agreement, and how to have a voice in government.

http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=21708

2–8


NCSL

Democracy Kids website

This highly interactive website teaches students what democracy means, how representative democracy works, and how they can get involved. The 10 activities include crossword puzzles, short Facts of Congress videos, presentations on what legislators do, how to contact a legislator

effectively, and how to make a difference.

http://www.democracykids.org

2–6

CCIU

TFK Extra! Your Ideas Count


This supplement to TIME for Kids, published by TIME magazine, tells fourth–sixth graders about representative democracy and how laws affect their lives, and shows them that legislators are real people. It also informs students about Congress and

state legislatures.

http://www.ncsl.org/Portals/1/documents/public/trust/TFK4_6new05.pdf


4–6



NCSL


Am I Missing Something?

Am I Missing Something? is a series of 30-second online videos with accompanying lesson plans that examine the topics of voice, voting, special interests, compromise, and diversity of ideas in a

representative democracy.

http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?TabId=20921

4–8

NCSL


Lunch Break with Dr. Broccoli: Video on Compromise



Lunch Break with Dr. Broccoli is an entertaining nine-minute animated video explaining concept of compromise in Congress, aimed at upper elementary school students though also appropriate for middle school.

http://centeroncongress.org/dr-broccoli-0

4-9

CCIU


Updated: October 2011

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Lesson Plans that Complement the Themes of the America’s Legislators Back to School Program

These lesson plans complement the NCSL materials used by legislators participating in the America's Legislators Back to School Program. The plans can be found at

Check the “Lesson Plans” and “Items > 2 years”

boxes to retrieve the lesson links.

http://www.ncsl.org/Default.aspx?TabID=746&tabs=1116,88,414 - 414


4–12



NCSL


Oceana: A Virtual Democracy



Oceana is an online role-playing game that teaches young people how to become good citizens. It helps middle school students develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to become informed and civically engaged in a society of diverse individuals and opinions. http://centeroncongress.org/oceana-virtual-democracy


5-9

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Understanding Congress:

A Citizen’s Guide

This guide gives students the basic information they need to know about Congress. Sections include “Representative Democracy,” “How Congress Functions,” “How Members of Congress Work,”

and “How You Participate.”

http://centeroncongress.org/understanding-congress-citizens-guide


5–12

CCIU


Interactive Learning

on the Web


Developed for both students and the general public, these nine interactive learning activities are designed to give a fresh perspective on how the U.S. Congress works, the impact of Congress, and

the citizen’s role in the process.

http://centeroncongress.org/e-learning-modules


5–12


CCIU


Facts of Congress

Facts of Congress is a series of 20 one-minute animated videos. Titles include “Women in Congress,” “Checks and Balances,” “Deliberation,” and “One Vote.”

http://centeroncongress.org/facts-congress-0


5–12


CCIU



Congressional Moments

These 38 two-minute radio spots explore specific ways in which the work of Congress has made a difference in people’s lives—from food safety and health research to the interstate highway system and

the impact of Title IX.

http://centeroncongress.org/congressional- moments


5–12

CCIU


Virtual Congressl

Virtual Congress is a fully functional online replica of the U.S. Congress where students meet and work in realistic locations that are key to the legislative process. Students can take a virtual tour of the Capitol, become online members of Congress, propose and discuss in-world their own ideas for legislation, and experience what it is like to find common ground in order to move their proposals along.

http://www.tpscongress.org/teachers/activity.php?id=12


5-12

CCIU



Best Practices: Exemplary Civics Teaching Practice

These resources provide a “how-to” guide for replicating exemplary civics teaching practices. They include video clips of classroom activities, a comprehensive teacher’s guide, and background information.

http://centeroncongress.org/best-practices-videos


5–12


CCIU

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Comments on Congress

articles by Lee Hamilton

This resource is a collection of editorials written by former Congressman Lee Hamilton explaining why Congress works the way it does and the impact it has, and suggesting ways in which Congress could

be improved or reformed.

http://www.centeroncongress.org/center-blog

7–12

CCIU


Representative Democracy in America video series and instructional guide

A seven-part video series to help students understand our system of representative democracy. The programs, each approximately fifteen minutes in length, address the topics of the roots of representative democracy; federalism and the separation of powers; the roles of representatives, executives, and justices; how our representatives are chosen; the role of citizens; and participation by

youth. Instructional guides accompany the series.

http://www.civiced.org/index.php?page=rda_videos


7-12



CCE


How Congress Works: The Insider’s View

These 41 videos provide students the perspectives of members of Congress and key congressional staff on how Congress works and the importance of

citizen participation.

http://centeroncongress.org/how-congress-works-2


7–12


CCIU


American Democracy Television (ADTV)

American Democracy Television (ADTV) is a virtual network of 500 public, education, and government access (PEG) channels in fifty states that provides quality, nonpartisan programming about Congress and state legislatures. Go to ADTV’s website for more information about

stations in your area.

http://www.representativedemocracy.org/DemocracyTelevision.aspx



7–12


Making Your Voice Heard: How to Work with Congress


This booklet helps citizens get off the sidelines and constructively express opinions to those who hold federal office. It offers practical tips on how to communicate with Congress and discusses how citizens can amplify their voices by connecting with interest groups and political parties.


http://centeroncongress.org/making-your-voice-heard-how-work-congress



7-12



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Teaching with Primary Sources

This website offers an extensive suite of interactive online activities designed to help teachers access and use the digital primary source materials of the Library of Congress. One module includes activities that use political cartoons to examine common criticisms of Congress; another deals with analyzing congressional floor debates. A teacher and student workspace allows teachers to create a password-protected area for students to complete and save various activities.

http://www.tpscongress.orglivepage.apple.com


7–12

CCIU

Teaching with Primary Sources


Join four students as they discover how, in

American democracy, citizens really do rule and

young people do have a voice.

http://wmstream.ncsl.org/media/yourule.wmv

7–12

NCSL


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You Rule booklet


You Rule. That's the message that this colorful and engaging booklet brings to young people. Through historical and contemporary examples, students learn about our system of representative democracy

and how they can get involved and have a voice.

http://www.ncsl.org/Portals/1/documents/public/trust/YouRule_Booklet808.pdf

7–12


NCSL



Your Ideas Count! Representative Democracy and You

This booklet gauges students’ knowledge of and attitudes about our system of government. Students are asked to respond to a series of questions that reveal how strongly they feel democracy works for them. The booklet ends with a challenge to get involved in building relationships of trust with elected officials.

http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=15793


9–12

NCSL


Your Ideas Count! Representative Democracy and You, Congressional Edition

Based on the Your Ideas Count: Representative Democracy and You booklet, the Congressional Edition focuses on students’ knowledge of and

attitudes toward the U.S. Congress.

http://centeroncongress.org/your-ideas-count-representative-democracy-and- you-congressional-edition



9–12



CCIU

inTime: Your Ideas Count!

This special edition of inTime tells high school students why speaking up in our system of democracy matters and how they can make their

voice heard.

http://www.ncsl.org/Portals/1/documents/public/trust/TFK_inTime.pdf


9–12




NCSL



Fundamentals of Representative Democracy



Fundamentals of Representative Democracy is a collection of lesson plans that provides students with a thorough understanding of the U.S. system of government.

Appreciating Democracy: This lesson is designed to teach students to appreciate the most basic practices of democracy in the United States.
Appreciating Representation: This lesson focuses on which issues in the legislative process represent people’s values, interests, and priorities, and how and to what degree?

What Makes Lawmakers Tick? This lesson gives

students a sense of what lawmakers are like and, in

particular, what motivates them as public officials.

http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=15375




9–12

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Websites

  1. Representative Democracy in America: Voices of the People, www.representativedemocracy.org

  2. Center for Civic Education, www.civiced.org/rda

  3. Center on Congress at Indiana University, www.centeroncongress.org

  4. Democracy Kids, http://www.democracykids.org/

  5. Trust for Representative Democracy, National Conference of State Legislatures, www.ncsl.org/trust

  6. American Democracy TV channel on YouTube, www.youtube.com/user/AmericanDemocracyTV

  7. Youth and Democracy on Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/Youth-and-Democracy/274472763512?v=info











 

Representative Democracy in America: Voices of the People