Your Voice in Government


California State Capitol

Unit Profile

General Description – This unit of study will engage students in researching information about their state representatives, the law-making process, and how they, as citizens, have a voice in government.  As they complete the classroom lessons and participate in a videoconference from their classroom to the State Capitol, students will gain an understanding of basic principles of government, along with their responsibility to be informed citizens.  Prior to their videoconference, students will become familiar with their representatives and the role of the legislature. Students will identify their voice and develop the tools to use it in their local government.
During their videoconference the students will become familiar with California State Parks' role in preserving and interpreting historic buildings and objects as well as the ideas they represent. Students will receive an appreciation of the historic methods of communication between citizens and their representatives that are preserved at the Capitol under the care of California State Parks. Students will then meet with a local legislator and have the opportunity to present and discuss their ideas  using a modern means of communication, the videoconference.

This unit can be used alone for learning the law making process for the state of California, the historic value of historical buildings, or as a component of a larger unit that focuses on Participation & Deliberation, Citizenship, The Foundations of the American Political System, etc.

Click HERE to schedule this program

Essential Questions
1. what are the roles and expectations of a Senate and Assembly Representative for California?
2. How does a community member participate in local, state, and federal politics?
3. How does a law get made, from being an idea to a law to be enforced?

Academic Content Standard Subject Area: History-Social Science 

Grade Level:
8th (adaptable for other grades)

Primary Academic Content Standards:
     8th Grade: 8.1, 8.1.4, 8.2, 8.2.7, 8.3, 8.3.6
Primary Common Core State Standards
     8th Grade: RI.8.1, RI.8.8, RL.8.2, RL.8.3, RL.8.7, W.8.9, SL.8.1

Time Required:
3 classroom periods of 50 minutes each
1 one hour videoconference lesson.
Options for additional lessons/extension activities are included.

Upon completing the classroom lessons and participating in the videoconference, students will be able to:

  Identify their Senate and Assembly representatives
  Develop questions to better understand the perspective of their Senate and Assembly Representatives.
  Summarize the accomplishments of their representatives
  Describe the basic steps of the law-making process
  Participate in the political process by communicating with their representative

Gail Desler, Elk Grove Unified School District
Erin Renfree, California State Capitol Museum