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Question

Q25: We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years?

A. four (4) 
B. six (6) 
C. two (2) 
D. eight (8)

Q26: Why do U.S representatives serve shorter terms than U.S. senators?

A. To test whether they are worthy to become senators
B. To more closely follow public opinion
C. Because the representatives have the responsibility of ratifying treaties 
D. Because the Senate has the power to initiate tax bills

Question Background Information

Background 

When it comes to determining how many years a politician should serve, one point to consider is the job itself. What are a representative’s responsibilities? 

In the House of Representatives, legislators are charged with representing the voice of the people. This means they need to be in touch with them on a regular basis, and represent their interests and desires, or risk losing their seats in the frequent elections. 

Again, though, the question of term length arises. 10 years? Five? One? 

For the House of Representatives, the Founding Fathers determined that two years was an adequate amount of time. In order to remain tightly connected to the will of the people and public opinion, members of the House serve shorter terms than the Senate, facing re-election every two years. This would give representatives enough time to be effective, but would be short enough to prevent them from becoming complacent and falling out of touch with their constituents’ opinions.

Additional Content

Offline Activity

Introduction

We learn by doing, but we also learn by teaching, as it requires us to process information, not only for our own understanding, but also for others and their understanding. In this activity, students will take a look at what our representatives do and then devise ways in which they can help other students learn about the House of Representatives and the job of a representative. 

Preparation

  • Provide each group/student with The House of Its Representatives.
  • Provide each group/student with a list of possible worksheet suggestions. 
  • A rubric is available if this is a graded activity. 

Required files


The Teaching Materials for this exercise includes a rubric.

Teaching Materials.

Instructions

  1. Divide the class into pairs based on the students’ individual levels. Group A is the group that needs some extra support. Group B is the core group that has the core knowledge to complete the activity. Group C is the enrichment group who have mastered the material and are prepared to extend their knowledge. Pair those who need support (Group A) with those who have core knowledge and/or have mastered the material (Groups B and C).
    • This can also be an individual activity.
  2. Explain to the students that they are going to create worksheets that complements the reading and will help teach others about the House of Representatives and/or the job of a U.S. Representative.
    • The worksheet will be based on the content of the reading, but be sure to let the students know that they are not required to cover the entire reading. They can select an idea or two and present it.
  3. Provide the students with the necessary materials. 
    • The students will create both a worksheet and its answer key.
    • They can create any type of worksheet that they wish. They do not have to use the designs on the handout.
      • Encourage students who are struggling with the content to focus on more factual material. They may do well creating guided reading 
        worksheets, crosswords, or word searches.
  4. Circulate throughout the room as the students work, offering help as necessary. 

Discussion Prompts

Below are two discussion prompts that can be used by teachers in a classroom setting. 

  • The first discussion prompt will be one that is designed to support students that are not really understanding the content in a way that would help them to answer the test question.
  • The second discussion prompt will be one that is designed to further student understanding of the content by making real-world connections, including connections to current events, and historical events.

Background

The House of Representatives is considered the “lower” of the two houses of Congress. Lower or not, though, both the House and the Senate have to work together to be effective. Many politicians, in both branches, are elected repeatedly, leading to long tenures and extensive experience. When it comes to terms and limits, there are points to consider on both sides. 

Prompt 1

The House of Representatives is not identical to the Senate. The requirements are different -- and so is the length of time a representative serves. How long is a representative’s term and how does this affect the way that he or she serves the people? Why do representatives serve shorter terms than senators do?

Prompt 2

In many respects, two years is rather short. On the other hand, representatives are not limited to how many times they can be elected. As with the Senate, some argue that there should be a limit placed on how many times someone can serve in the House of Representatives. Do you agree? What are the pros and cons of both sides? Could it be argued that a lack of limits represents the will of the people? 

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