Today we will dramatize how a bill becomes a law. We are studying Exploring Government by Ray Notgrass, and this is the second post in our high school government series. We are having so much fun as we re-enact many essential concepts about government. This book has helped me (as a parent) understand government better than I’ve ever understood it before.
So without further ado, here is our second government video…
How a Bill Becomes a Law (Video Demonstration)
Costumes and Props in the Skit
My daughter dressed up as a bill. We used poster board and wrote the word “bill” on it. We also gave her a three-cornered hat just for character. We had a congress and a president. The congress sat on chairs and held up Facebook likes (or un-likes) to represent their votes for or against the bill. The president was dressed as the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland (no insult intended to our current president…)
This is How a Bill Becomes a Law:
A bill originates in the House of Representatives or the Senate. One of the members takes his proposed bill and gives it to the clerk. The clerk assigns it a number and sends it to the proper committee.
The committee deliberates on the bill and proposes amendments to it, and if the committee approves, it is sent back to the House of Representatives.
If the bill passes the House, it goes to the Senate. If it passes the Senate, it is sent to the President.
The President can then either veto or sign it. If he vetoes it, the bill goes back to the House and the Senate. Only if the bill gets a two-thirds majority in both houses will the veto be overridden. Then it becomes a law anyways.
Or if the President signs a bill, then it becomes a law.
Today we are going to learn about the types of government. We are starting a new video series on high school government, using Exploring Government by Ray Notgrass. I was looking for a government program to teach my homeschooled high school kids, since it’s a mandatory class for graduation. I saw this Christian government textbook when I was at a conference in Ohio last year. It had colorful pictures and understandable text, similar to Apologia high school textbooks that are written in a more conversational style than the usual boring, hard-to-read, and impossible to understand textbooks on these subjects.
After watching the fun videos my kids perform for this course, you will laugh when you find out I was dreading to teach government. That’s why I was thrilled when I saw this book, held it in my hands, and read some of it. I also got to meet the author of the book and his wife. While we were in a keynote session, he reached over and held his wife’s hand during the prayer, which I thought was sweet. When he won a door prize, he danced a jig, which I found entertaining. You can see the love of Christ shining out of their faces.
The links in this series of blog posts are not affiliate links. Please buy the book from their website to bless their family the most!
Now onto the first video of the series…
Types of Government Video Demonstration
The first form of government is a dictatorship, where one person rules and has absolute authority. The North Korean government is an example of a dictatorship. In the video, you will see someone dressed as a dictator, forcing people to labor because they have no choice about it.
Next we have an oligarchy, where a small group of people hold sovereignty. The former Soviet Union had an oligarchy. Here we had several people in gray wigs, governing over the people by sitting in a meeting, conversing together.
Next is a monarchy, where a king or queen, who holds the throne by hereditary rights, rules. There are two kinds of monarchies: absolute and constitutional. Absolute monarchies are similar to dictatorships, but the leader is royalty. Constitutional monarchies have monarchs, but they are under the law. There are very few absolute monarchies now, but throughout history, this has been the most prevalent government type.
For the absolute monarchy, we had the queen of hearts give a signal, “Off with his head!” For the constitutional monarchy, we had the “law” appear above the queen’s head. We thought it was appropriate to dress up as the Alice in Wonderland deck of cards, to add whimsy to the video. (The cards were left over from a year where our whole family dressed up as a deck of cards for Harvest Festival.)
The next and most common form of government is a republic. This also has two kinds, presidential and parliamentary. Presidential republics have the people vote directly or indirectly for a president who is not part of the elected national assembly. Parliamentary republics, on the other hand, have the chief executive be part of the national assembly. When one party wins a majority of seats, their leader becomes prime minister, or chief executive.
When we acted this out, we had a mob of people crowding around Abraham Lincoln to make him president by direct vote by giving him the sunglasses. Oh, yes, in case you didn’t notice in this entire video, the people in power are wearing the sunglasses.
For the parliamentary government, you have a vote in parliament, and the group with the most votes chooses a person to be prime minister, and that person (of course) gets the sunglasses.
Lastly, we have a true democracy, where all the people gather together to make, remove, and amend laws. No modern country is truly democratic, mostly just republic. All the people put on sunglasses.
We also added anarchy, which is no government at all. You will have to watch the video to find out what happens when you have anarchy.
My dad bought my kids four Muppet Show puppets for Christmas, so we decided to make our own family Muppet Show! Of course, we starred Susan Evans (yours truly) as the guest. My son Nathaniel practiced Kermit the Frog’s voice and did a great job with introducing each segment!
We had to watch the introduction to the Muppet Show to figure out how to dance the female puppets across the stage and have them turn their heads abruptly to the right. The male puppets came in from the left, pumping up and down. It was hard to do this without showing my sons’ arms, but you’ll smile anyway.
Without further ado, here is our show:
My son Stephen was in charge of writing most of the script, and he played the part of Fozzy Bear. My son Bryan played the part of Animal, who had a segment where he was pounding on the piano to catch the mouse puppet that was a running gag in several sketches.
My son Bryan did the Swedish chef scene. He had to watch several episodes to get the general sounds and motions for the Swedish chef, but my kids did a great job with cracking an egg into a pan and having a quail come out. My son Nathaniel was working the arms while Bryan was working the puppet and saying the words.
My daughter played Miss Piggy, of course, and she had a solo to sing: “What a Cold and Cruel World.” In case you didn’t hear all the words, this is what she sang with her best Miss Piggy voice:
I see Kermit who’s green, my love, too;
I see him turn his back on me and you.
And I think to myself, what a cold and cruel world;
And I think to myself, what a cold and cruel world.
As you can see, we had to pin a tissue to her arm so she could blow her nose throughout the song.
Homeschool organization guru Susan Evans began giving some organization advice when Miss Piggy (and later a mouse!) interfered with her demonstrations.
We had such a fun time! Who knew it would be so fun to put on a Muppet Show?
It’s harder to find hands-on activities for high school than for elementary, but just because you are homeschooling teens doesn’t mean that your day has to be boring and tedious. Everyone learns better by doing–this is true for practical skills like driving and cooking, but also for academic knowledge like science and history. Take a look at our enormous list of fun hands-on activities for high school!
Hands-on High School Science Activities
High school sciences naturally lend themselves to hands-on activities because of the lab work required. But as you can see in the following list, you can also have fun with food, field trips, LEGOs, and even comedy to bring your science to life!
13 exclusive high school anatomy videos in the Vault, covering a full year of high school anatomy with every body system covered with hands-on activities!
Hands-on High School History Activities
Each of these activities are applicable to high school ancient history, even though we did many of them before the kids were teens. You would just expect more detail on each of the projects, and maybe a demonstration of the projects in front of a group of peers studying the same time period:
I hope you enjoyed this huge list of hands-on activities for high school! Come back to this page often, as I will be adding more posts, including some new high school government posts with video demonstrations!
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