The Interactive Learning Modules are in the process of being updated and formatted for mobile devices. Until the updated versions are available, you can still access the modules with the links below. Please note that you will need a current version of Flash Player to play the modules.
Overview of Interactive Learning Activities
A nice introduction to how Congress works, what Members of Congress do, and the importance of citizen participation, this E-Learning Activities module pulls together some key sections from the eight e-learning modules featured below. The activities are brief and the format is easy to access, and you will also get a good sense of what's contained in the longer modules.
The Dynamic Legislative Process
The typical textbook description of the legislative process, though technically valid in some respects, is woefully inadequate in describing the fascinating, vibrant, often "messy" reality of how a bill becomes law. This module allows you to compare the typical textbook process with the more realistic "dynamic" process, and you will see how our untidy process has produced solid results.
How a Member Decides to Vote
Members of Congress have many influences to draw upon when deciding how to vote for a bill: their conscience, input from constituents, party loyalty, and perhaps, pressure from the administration. In this module, you are a Member of Congress who will soon have to vote on a proposed Constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration. You will meet with all of the types of people who typically try to influence your thinking on a bill, including Members of your party, constituents, special interests, and the administration.
The Importance of Civic Participation
This module illustrates ways in which Americans can participate in the democratic process, and highlights individuals who have made a difference by getting involved. Many citizens do not know where to go with a problem, or about the many ways in which to get involved. Upon completion of this module, you will have a better understanding of how to participate and make a difference.
Federal Budget Allocation
One of Congress' major responsibilities is providing funds for federal programs. This activity allows you to try your hand at allocating the federal budget. You will first be asked how much money you think was allocated to categories such as defense, welfare, and the environment. Then you will see how much money Congress actually provided. Next, you will decide how the budget SHOULD be allocated, and then compare your spending priorities to those of other students.
Public Criticisms of Congress
In the Public Criticisms module, you will hear many of the common criticisms of Congress via "man on the street" videos. You will then be able to hear what some Congressional experts have to say about those criticisms. You will vote on whether you agree or disagree with what the public and the experts are saying, and see how other users voted on the criticisms. There are additional research resources and polling data for each of the 15 criticisms.
The Impact of Congress
Contrary to many Americans' opinions, the work of Congress has a significant impact on their everyday lives. This colorful module walks you through a typical day, from the alarm clock ringing, going to school and work, and turning in at night. Pop-ups appear letting you know the role Congress had, as well as state and local government, with some aspect of the highlighted object.
The Many Roles of a Member of Congress
Despite widespread coverage of Congress, what Members do on a daily basis is still a mystery to most people, even though several of those roles might be of particular benefit to them. This module gives an overview of Members' various roles, from national legislator and investigator to constituent helper, educator, and civic promoter. Interactive sections go through a typical day in DC, and then show some quite different roles back home. You will hear from experts and then try your hand at sorting out some of the challenges facing a new Member of Congress.
Notable Members of Congress
In this module you will be introduced to Members of Congress who have made significant contributions to the quality of life in America. More than 12,000 legislators have served in Congress, some of whom have gone on to be President. Some had quite interesting careers before becoming Members of Congress. Others, either by changing the system or working skillfully within it, were able to make lasting positive changes to the lives of all Americans.