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American Government Class Rules Project

Posted in AmGov Proposed Rules

Class Rules Group Project:


   The Class Rules Group Project is designed to do two things.  First it is to create rules for the class to abide by, with the overall goal ultimately being to create a positive learning environment.  Secondly, it is to give an introduction to legislative process.  That process is described below.  For general questions about the Class Rules, click Rules FAQ.  Additionally, this project will introduce students to some key vocabulary:  constituency, due process, constitutionality, equal protection, ratify, modify, propositions, veto, judicial review, and amendments.

Step 1 - Gathering Opinion

   Students will read some sample class rules and perform a forced-choice exercise with them (in which they must decide if they are for or against any particular rules).  Students will discuss pros and cons of each proposal.

Step 2 - Learning About Legal Hierarchies

   Using California's Proposition 187 or Colorado's Amendment 2 (Romer vs. Evans) the class will examine the way in which "unconstitutional" laws are passed, implemented, and challenged.  Specific links to these laws may be found at the following:

  Colorado's Amendment 2 (Romer vs. Evans) Broken Link

  California's Proposition 187 Broken Link

  When reading these articles (or other articles on these examples of judicial review), keep in mind the following basic questions:  (1) Why were these two laws passed initially?  In other words, what did the proponents of these laws seek to accomplish?  (2) How were these laws passed? How is it that they became law? What was the process whereby they were "made legal"?  (3) How and why were these two laws negated? Pay special attention to the underlying principles on which the laws were rejected as well as the process whereby they were taken off the books.

Step 3 - Learning About Pre-Existing Law

   Students will examine District Policies which govern them and may influence their own lawmaking.  These policies may be found at the following link: OUHSD Board Policies.  Classroom discussion of Board Policies will focus on:

6154 - Homework (both pages)

5121 - Evaluation of Student Achievement (Grading Policy) -          pp. 1 - 4 are all that is required for class


5141.21 - School (Student) Publications (all three pages)

5145.12 - Search and Seizure                                                 (pages 1 - 3, skip p. 4, read Canine Search pages 5 and 6)  NOT Required in the Quarter System.


5145.3 - Discrimination (first three pages only)

5145.7 - Sexual Harassment (first three pages only) NOT Required in the Quarter System.

Step 4 - Forming Constituencies

   Students will form groups of 6 or 7 people.  These will be known as "Constituent Groups".  Normally these will be formed of groups of friends.  Within each "Constituent Group" each student will chose a section of class law (as outlined by the teacher) to focus on.

Step 5 - Crafting Legal Proposals - Creating a First Draft

   Students will then form "Legislative Groups".  Each "Legislative Group" will craft a legal proposal for the class concerning that section of classroom law.  "Legislative Groups" will write up their proposals and make ample copies of them (enough for everyone in the class, including the teacher) which will be distributed in the "Constituent Groups" for discussion.  Revisions, if needed, will be made in a final round in the "Legislative Groups".

Step 6 - Campaigning

   Students will discuss and debate and campaign through "Constituent Group" and class discussion to get their law proposals passed.

Step 7 - Voting

  Each "Legislative Group" will distribute then produce ballots with the full text of their proposed law on them.  Beside each element of their proposed laws will be a box or spot in which to indicate "Accept" or "Reject" - clearly marked.  One copy of each set of laws will be made and distributed to all students in class with an additional copy for the teacher.  Secret Ballot votes will be taken. The teacher cannot vote.  Passage requires 2/3 majority.  Votes will be counted and re-counted.

Step 8 - Veto and Override

  The teacher may veto any rule he does not approve of.  The class may override the veto with 100% approval. 

Step 9 - Publication

  The teacher will type up all the adopted class rules and publish them so each member of the class has a copy for reference purposes.

Step 10 - Teacher Assessment and Grading

   The teacher will award grades to each "Legislative Group" based on three things (10 points each): (1) whether or not their legislation passed;  (2) quality and references of their legislation - was it well written?  enforceable?  valuable?  (this is a somewhat subjective criteria), was it referenced with pre-existing law? and (3) was the work done on-time and properly with the correct formatting?  The assignment is worth a total of 30 points. Good luck and may you pass excellent legislation!