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Home Style vs.

Hill Style Deliberative Discussion Lesson Plan

Author: Erin Beals

Content Area: Civics/Government

Grade Level: Grade 11-12

Lesson Length: 60 min

I. Standards

Arizona K-12 Standards for Social Studies

Strand 1—American History, Concept One: Research Skills for History

PO 6: Apply the skills of historical analysis to current social, political,

geographic, and economic issues facing the world.

Strand 3—Civics/Government, Concept 4: Rights, Responsibilities and Roles

of Citizenship

PO 4: Demonstrate the skills and knowledge (e.g., group problem solving, public

speaking, petitioning and protesting) needed to accomplish public purposes

Arizona K-12 Standards for English Language Arts

11-12.RI.7: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in

different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in print in

order to address a question or solve a problem.

11-12.W.9: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support

analysis, reflection, and research.

II. Objective

1. Students will use the essay writing process to respond to their choice of three different

prompts that require them to develop and articulate solutions to plausible and politically
difficult situations that force federal lawmakers to navigate opposing home-style and Hill

style duties in order to gain a federal lawmaker’s perspective, analyze the benefits and

downfalls of Federalism and examine the differences between the theoretical and actual

role of a United States legislator.

III. The Why

• Students will investigate the different legislative styles of representatives dependent on

whether representatives are in D.C. or their home districts/states to come to an

independent conclusion about the role of a legislator in reality and in theory, how the role

changes and whether representatives fulfill their roles in a satisfactory manner.

• Identifying differing home and Hill styles is useful for students who will soon be of legal

age to vote, because they will be able to determine how well their interests would be met

by looking for changes in words and actions of representatives.

IV. Materials Needed

1. Personal notebooks/journals

2. A YouTube clip of a contentious John McCain town hall meeting

3. Writing utensils

4. Personal computers

5. List of examples of politically challenging situations for homework assignment

V. Warm Up

• Upon entering the classroom, students will take their seats and respond to the following

prompt in their journals: Journal about how a legislator might act or be influenced

differently depending on whether he or she is in D.C. or in his or her home district. This

entry will serve as a prewrite for the homework assignment.

• Students will be asked to share their thoughts with the person sitting next to them.

• The instructor will verbally state the daily objective, in addition to it being written on the


VI. Anticipatory Set/Grabber

The instructor will then play a video of a heated town hall that portrays Senator John McCain

needing to justify his Hill style actions and decisions to his constituents. Once the video is over,

the instructor will ask for the students’ thoughts on it and any applicable follow-up questions.

VII. Instruction

• The instructor will then begin a short interactive Peardeck presentation that covers the

basics of different home style/Hill style legislative approaches. Once the basics are

covered, the instructor will ask students to discuss what the role of a legislator really is.

• Groups of no more than four will form to discuss the question, their opinions and any

opposing views.

• The instructor will ask the groups to share their conclusions and will record them on the


• Students will be redirected to the Peardeck presentation where each group will be

assigned a link to a resource that provides a unique point of view on the matter. They will

be asked to click on the link, explore the resource and talk about what new perspective

this resource provided and if it was enough to impact their original answers in their same

small groups.

• After adequate discussion time has been provided, the class will reconvene for a full class

summary and discussion about the topic, what ideas changed and why as a debriefing

VIII. Assessment

Comprehension checks this lesson will come in the form of analyzing the students’: insightful

contributions made during the in-class deliberative discussion and the quality of their essays

assigned for homework.

IX. Closure

Exit Ticket: After our deliberative discussion in class today, what is the role of a member of

Congress? What should a MoCs primary objective be? Is it hypocritical to act and speak one way

at home and one way on the Hill? Is it necessary? In what ways?

X. Independent Practice/Homework

Essay Prompt: Write an essay that comes up with potential solutions to your choice from a

provided list of a politically challenging situation for legislators that cause them to navigate

opposing home style and Hill style duties (2-3 pages, due Monday).

XI. Reflection

The effectiveness will consistently be assessed by the instructor by closely monitoring student

research and discussions. While ideally the instructor will not intervene too much in a

deliberative discussion, guiding questions will be used to get students back on track if needed.

Additionally, the quality and content of the students’ essays will be another indicator of how well

students comprehended the material.